Fulfilling the Six Basic Human Needs


We are all familiar with the upward pointing triangle showing Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. It starts with the basics of survival and safety and works up to personal fulfillment. Makes great sense.

Tony Robbins approaches in a different way to describe what he refers to as the six basic human needs. He offers us three pairs of ‘needs’.

To begin he proclaims that we have a basic human need for ‘certainty’. Without some certainty we would be on full alert 100% of the time and the stress would kill us in a very short time. Yes, to that one. Next he tells us that when we have ‘enough certainty’ we then need ‘uncertainty’. Without some uncertainty we would soon be disinterested in life. Inventions, new relationships, finding a new job, how the mystery novel will end, so many examples where uncertainty is actually enticing. The first pair is certainty and uncertainty.

He begins the second pair with our need for ‘significance’. We want to accomplish and be recognized for accomplishing. Even if we provide recognition for ourselves, we need it to sustain us. Without significance, what is there to live for? Paired with that he offers ‘relationship’ as the next basic human need. A person who only concentrates on gaining ever greater significance is likely to eventually distance themselves from the rest of us, be alone with all their achievements. Doesn’t sound like much fun at that point. Sharing of ourselves and giving into relationships is, after significance, the next basic human need, according to Tony Robbins.

The third and final pair starts with our basic human need to ‘grow’, learn, become more self aware. To become a more complete human being is number five of the six basic human needs. Number six, at the top of it all, the destination, if you will, is to ‘contribute’ to something bigger than ourselves. Some kind of selfless giving is important to our human psyche. It satisfies something the other five cannot. This need is what is being fulfilled when people contribute to positive changes in the world. Charity is a manifestation of the sixth basic human need.

We naturally seek the balance between the members of these three pairs of human needs. When we manage to balance the lower needs the next higher needs can be addressed. When we have balanced all six we are the most fulfilled. Thank you Tony Robbins.

Joseph Seiler MCC