The 6 Human Needs & Your Motivation

The 6 Human Needs & Your Motivation

Do you ever wonder why some things are quite easy for you to be motivated to do, and other things you really struggle with?

One of the reasons why you struggle to do certain things is related to how well you perceive that that action is fulfilling your 6 Human Needs.

Every human being on this planet has these needs, and there are as many different ways we can think of to unconsciously fulfil them as there are people on the planet!

Ecology – filling your needs in a healthy way.

Ideally, we want to fulfil our needs in a way that is ecological. That is; it feels good, is good for us, good for others, and serves the greater good.

Many of us find ways to fulfil our needs that are not 100% ecological. Here’s some examples of things we can do that are not 100% ecological. Taking drugs or getting drunk repeatedly may feel good in the moment, but is not good for us. Crime, stealing, taking from others might feel like an exciting rush and be good for the person doing it but is not good for others or for society. Martyring yourself to others needs might not feel good for you, or be good for you, but you tell yourself that it is good for others.

As you read through this list, ask yourself: How do I currently fulfil these needs in my life? Am I fulfilling these needs in a way that is ecological? Feels good? Is good for me? Good for others? Good for society?

1. Certainty / Security

Every human being has a deep need to feel safe, secure and certain. To know there is going to be food, shelter, safety, and a degree of consistency in the world. One healthy way to fulfil the need for certainty is to develop a strong faith in yourself that allows you to know that you can handle whatever comes your way. An unhealthy way to fulfil this need is to stay in a job or relationship that does not serve you simply because you know it.

2. Uncertainty / Variety

We also have a need for variety, difference and excitement. If everything was certain and the same all the time we would get bored and uninspired. One simple, healthy way to fulfil the need for variety might be to cook a different meal each week, or take on creative projects at work, or go on holidays to foreign countries.  An unhealthy way of fulfilling this need might be to jump from job to job, or from one short term relationship to another.

3. Significance

We all need to feel special and unique, like our voice matters and what we do counts. An unhealthy way to fulfil this need might be to bully or tease people, tearing them down, so you feel better than them, or to buy expensive, fancy things that you can’t afford in order to feel special. A healthy way to fulfil your need for significance might be to write a book, or start a business, to volunteer in your community, or to consciously lead your family.

4. Connection & Love

The need for love and connection is universal. If you don’t feel a sense of connection or camaraderie with your workmates, it can make your workday very challenging. If you don’t feel loved and treasured by your partner, you might not stay in that relationship for very long without a change.

5. Growth

These last two needs can be described as spiritual needs. You have a need to grow and expand as a human being, expand your consciousness, expand your knowledge, expand your reach, success and achievement in the world.

6. Contribution

You also have a need to give back, to make a difference, to use your growth, knowledge and uniqueness to impact the world in some way, and to leave a legacy. Whether that be the world of your family, your community or the whole planet. Each of us has a need to contribute and to give back.

Tony Robbins is the master of the 6 Human Needs and has explained this theory in his books and programs.  You can watch the 20 minute Tony Robbins TED talk on what drives us, where he discusses the 6 Human Needs here:


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How well you meet your needs.

  • What is something you currently do – that you enjoy doing and are motivated to do?
  • Go through the 6 needs evaluating how much that activity fulfils those needs for you on a scale of 1-10? (10 being this activity totally fulfils this need.)
  • Notice how this activity will likely fill most of those needs well.
  • What activity do you currently struggle to do, something you know you ‘should’ do, but never feel an inner drive to actually complete?
  • Rate how well that activity fulfils your 6 needs.
  • You will find that the activities you struggle to complete are those that don’t fulfil a couple of your core needs. (They will be below a 6/10 on more than a few needs)
  • You can make them more appealing by asking yourself; How could doing this activity fulfil this need for me?
  • Evaluate your life more broadly by asking how well an area of your life filfils your needs. eg: How well does my relationship currently meet my needs? how well does my current financial situation? How well does my career?

When you evaluate your life more broadly, if you find there are areas of your life that are really low at meeting your needs (under a 6 out of 10), you will be feeling pain and stress in those areas.

Then you can ask:
What action could I now take to make my (area) more (need)?
eg: What action could I now take to ensure my finances are more certain?
What action could I now take to give my relationship more variety?

Evaluate your needs – Copy & paste for each activity & area

Area of life / Activity:

1. Certainty           /10  Action I could take to improve this:
2. Variety              /10   Action I could take to improve this:
3. Significance     /10    Action I could take to improve this:
4. Connection       /10   Action I could take to improve this:
5. Growth              /10   Action I could take to improve this:
6. Contribution     /10   Action I could take to improve this:

Join the conversation!

  • Have you done the evaluations of your life areas and activities?
  • What insights and ‘aha’s did you have?
  • What actions will you take with this new understanding?

Comments (3)

  1. Hi Kylie,
    I read your comment on The Age article about counting calories this morning. It struck me as being sensible and compassionate, so I googled you and here I am! I’m ready to be inspired and I’m looking forward to reading more of your site tonight (unfortunately my lunchbreak is nearly over!).
    xx Katie.

    • Thanks Katie! I’m glad you found me, I have lots of articles & posts with very useful information. I look forward to helping you on your own journey to lifelong health & slimness! Kylie 🙂

  2. Pingback: Exploring Your Six Human Needs mind mapIQ Matrix Blog

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