Why do we do, what we do?by
“Whatever people do, there’s always a reason.”
Sometimes we find ourselves pursuing goals that don’t make sense intellectually, or we do things which are harmful and damaging. Why? subconsciously we are trying to fulfil our human needs, the six needs that are the driving force behind everything that we do.
Tony Robbins introduced us to the six human needs many years ago in a TED talk which is one of the top ten most viewed of all time. These six needs are universal but how we value them is different. People share the same needs but have different beliefs about what it takes to fulfil them. We can fulfil our needs in ways that are positive, negative or neutral, and most of us meet them in a way that works in the moment but doesn’t work long term.
The Six Human Needs
This is a survival need that is built into every human being and is designed to prevent pain. However, don’t we all experience pain or stress at one stage in our lives? True, but constant pain results in damage to either our mental wellbeing, physical health or both.
If someone is certainty driven, change creates fear, anger, and frustration as they are no longer in control. Certainty can come in a number of ways; from being financially secure, having a strict routine, working out or from our beliefs. We all need it, but where do you rank it and what does your mind tell you is required to achieve it?
Certainty can be achieved in negative ways through drinking, smoking, over-eating or taking drugs which work in the short-term, but has long-term adverse effects. It can also be achieved positively by going for a run or hitting the gym, through prayer or by sticking to good habits.
This is the need for variety and surprise. Uncertainty helps us grow by pushing us to find ways to deal with it. Variety can also be achieved negatively, through drink and drugs or can be obtained positively through learning and growing or by meeting and talking with friends.
The need to feel unique, needed and important. Entrepreneurs do this by working hard to achieve something special. Again it can be achieved negatively by tearing down what everyone else is doing or through violence. Some people achieve significance through the way they dress or by buying trinkets. However, it can also be achieved positively by showing compassion and by giving more. You have got to find a way to be unique, but it is down to you whether you do it by buying material things, or through giving and achieving.
Connection & Love
Connection can be achieved negatively by creating problems, or positively by just loving people, through meditation or connecting with God through prayer.
Everyone finds a way to meet the first four ‘fundamental’ needs (positively or negatively), but you cannot be rich, happy or fulfilled until you meet the last two.
“We’re growing, or we’re dying.”
Growth is life and progress equals happiness. Maybe your business is not where it needs to be yet, but if you make changes and start seeing progress, happiness follows. Equally, once you have achieved your goals, you need to start something new as the law of familiarity kicks in and happiness declines.
“The purpose of a goal is not to get the goal, but the purpose of a goal is who we become to achieve it.”
This is the need to step out of ourselves and contribute beyond ourself in a meaningful way.
So why is all this important? When you know what drives somebody, you understand how to meet their needs and can predict their behaviours. People sometimes behave in stupid or destructive ways, but again these behaviours are just ways that people have found to meet their needs. Recognising and understanding this is key to building compassion.