Whatever you’re after, building a business, raising a family, traveling the world—there are six universal needs that drive you. They are the force behind the things you do. The simple things and the crazy things.
Every one of you has those 6 needs, but which one you value most and in what order will determine what you do day in day out.
Our need for certainty comes from our ancient need of survival. It affects how much risk we are willing to take in our jobs, in our investments, in our leisure and our relationships. It’s our need to feel in control and secure. We search for pleasure and we run from pain.
We all would get bored without uncertainty and variety. For some, change is a driving force in their life all the time, for others the ‘surprises’ that life throws at them is more than enough, no need to spice it up even more.
3. Love & Connection
This is what we all want and need the most. True love makes us feel alive like nothing else. But it’s also scary and you can get hurt. So many people settle for the little brother of love: connection. You can get connection through friendship, walking in nature or an active social media life. Whatever works for you.
We all need to feel unique, important or needed. So how do you get significant? There are millions of ways. You can be significant by earning a lot of money, by having the most likes or followers, by having the biggest house or nicest car. But you can also get significance by having the biggest problems, and getting the attention you need from the others.
You can be significant by overspending or you can brag about how much bargains you do.
All of us find a way to meet those four first needs. Only some of us find a way to meet the next two ones:
If you're not growing, you're feeling miserable. If your business or your relationships are not growing, they're dying. It does not matter how many friends you have, how many money you have or how much people love you, if you are not growing, you're not going to experience real fulfillment.
It's not about 'me', but about 'we'. We are social animals. What’s the first thing you do when you have exciting news? You call someone and share it. Sharing enhances everything you experience. It's not what you get that will make you happy, but rather who you become and what you give that will.
Why identifying your needs matter
Understanding what needs you value most is crucial because it helps you better understand why you do the things you do, and if desired change something.
Let's say you want like many of us to be financially successful. The reason why you want this makes the whole difference. Can money give you certainty and comfort? Yes! Can it give you an exciting life! Yes again! Can it make you feel important! Oh yes! And can money buy you friends? Well at the minimum you'll get attention. And it can certainly help you to learn and contribute more.
But will it make you happy? It depends on what needs you're after and the way money helps you meet them. If you’re looking for significance from money, it’s a high price to pay, you'll have to go for big numbers and it's unlikely you'll get real fulfillment.
And what if there would be other easier ways to meet your needs on your way to financial success?
Also, once you recognize the needs that drive others, you'll have much better relationships. Someone who's primary need is to feel significant will need to be approached differently than someone who looks for love and connection. Constant change and risky environments will scare people who care about security and people who place high importance on variety will go crazy in an environment with too much routine.
In the next days, think about the two needs you value most and how they currently drive the things you do! And while you're at it, try guessing the most important needs of the people around you! It's a fun game!
ps: in case you were wondering... my two most important needs are certainty and love and connection. :-)