6 Human Needs

Sometimes on the surface life seems OK.  However, down deep we actually feel unfulfilled, empty and dissatisfied.  We can’t seem to put our finger on why we feel the way we do. This can happen when one or more of our 6 human needs are not being met.

The 6 Human Needs Include:

  1. Certainty
  2. Uncertainty/Variety
  3. Significance
  4. Connection /Love
  5. Growth
  6. Contribution

At some level, we may believe, consciously or subconsciously that we are meeting our psychological needs by what we do, feel or experience.  However, there is a lot more to it!

diversity and commonality

Diversity And Commonality

We all come from a different orientations, backgrounds and beliefs.  Also differing are our:

  • Education
  • Rules
  • Language
  • Religions
  • Cultures

In fact, this is what makes our individual fabric so unique.  We are all diverse in how we think, feel and behave.  However, that said, we are all hard wired with the same 6 Human Needs.

We strive to meet each of these needs with varying levels of success determining how we think, feel and act.  The problem arises when our fundamental needs are not being met enough, being met too much, or not being met at all.

fundamental needs

Fundamental Needs

In Life Coaching, the 6 Human Needs is a a very useful strategy to balance and re-prioritize your life in optimal ways.  Although this strategy was presumably birthed from Maslows heirarchy of physiological needs – The 6 Needs differ as they are psychological needs that we should be aware of.  In order to achieve a higher level of happiness and fulfillment, they need to be met and continually improved upon.

Have you ever listened to Anthony Robbins spin his magic during a strategic intervention?  He is primarily using and mastering, the art of identifying the 6 Human Needs.

In life coaching it is important that the client understands the 6 Human Needs to further understand themselves and others at a deep and useful level.  People will generally be less judgmental of themselves and others with an understanding of the cause of a behaviour or attitude.

Click here to read A Scientific Validation Of Your Emotions to get a deeper understanding of your emotions.

Tony Robbins - 6 Human Needs (Adult Content Please Be Advised)

The 6 Human Needs

Every individual needs to fulfill them to survive as they are the basis and motivation for every choice we make in life. So let’s dig into them a little deeper.


This need is the driving desire to feel safe, comfortable and secure in our environment and our relationships.  The fundamental need to avoid pain and seek pleasure.  Even though certainty is necessary to all of us, the degree of certainty required is different for every person.

Certainty may be met by living in squalor with the bare essentials while others feel certainty only if they live in luxury and abundance.

Code Words For Certainty
  • Comfort
  • Security
  • Safety
  • Stability
  • Feeling grounded
  • Predictability
  • Protection
uncertainty out of your comfort zone

Uncertainty/ Variety

Variety is the spice of life.  Everyone needs variety and challenges.  Physically, mentally and emotionally, we require uncertainty for our overall well being.  When Life gets boring and routine we seek change and variety.  Something different, and the excitement that it brings us to feel alive.

Examples of variety and uncertainty might include:

  • Travel
  • Extreme sports
  • Compulsive sex
  • Stepping outside your comfort zone
  • Going to the movies

A major source of variety is to experience our problems.

Code Words For Uncertainty
  • Fear
  • Instability
  • Change
  • Chaos
  • Entertainment
  • Stepping outside our comfort zone
  • Suspense
  • Exertion
  • Surprise
  • Conflict
  • Crisis


A throwback need from infancy to be number one.  As children we competed with our siblings to be special and unique.  Significance comes from our roots of comparing ourselves to others as superior or inferior.  The need for significance can be filled by achievement and success. It can also be met by a destructive act or bringing someone down.

A positive act of significance can help raise our standards, but if we are overly focused on significance (it’s all about me) we will have trouble connecting or expressing our love to others.  Significance can come from:

  • Providing for family
  • Philanthropy
  • Major achievements
  • Acquiring wealth
  • Humanitarian work

However, conversely done by being a failure, having low self worth, or a criminal record.

Code Words For Significance
  • Pride
  • Importance
  • Achievement
  • Perfection
  • Discipline
  • Competition
  • Rejection
love and togetherness


Again, a need that is nurtured during infancy and childhood.  In fact, infants who are not held and touched will die.  The need for connection continues into adulthood that everyone strives for.  Romantic love as we know it in our culture does not exist in many other cultures. However, connection is necessary whether it be in the family, workplace or community. The need to be loved is something we all share.

Code Words For Love/Connection
  • Togetherness
  • Passion
  • Unity
  • Warmth
  • Tenderness
  • Caring
  • Desire
personal growth


When we are green we grow. When we are ripe we rot, and when we stop growing we die.  Therefore there is a continual need for us to develop physically, emotionally and spiritually throughout the various stages of life.

Growth can be met through education and reading. Also by nurturing, developing and expanding your health, resources and relationships. Growth helps to define fulfillment. One needs something to serve that is larger than themselves (family, community, the world) to give us the initiative to grow in order to give beyond ourselves.



Like growth, contribution is a need for the spirit and fulfillment.  A need to give back to others.  It is our nature to have a sense that we are making a contribution to leave a positive mark to make the world, community, family and/or job a better place.

The 6 Human Needs In Summary

The first four needs are for human survival as everyone must meet them at some level.  The last two needs, growth and contribution are essential to human fulfillment.  Not everyone finds a way to satisfy these needs of the spirit, although they are necessary for lasting fulfillment.

Click here to read Top Tips To Manage Your Emotions.

six human needs exercise

A Worthy Exercise

First, try to determine where each of your six needs are being met. Next, determine which two needs are most important to you.  Once you are able to identify your needs and the needs of others, we can then determine which needs are in conflict. Thus causing you to feel unfulfilled, empty and dissatisfied. Furthermore why healthy relationships are not being met.

By completing this exercise, you will have a greater appreciation for my next blog, Unleash The Power Within.  There, we will explore the 6 Human Needs at a practical and much deeper level.