Tony Robbins says that humans have six basic needs that sums up all the different types of motivations behind our actions. He says that these needs form the basis of every choice we make in life. The six core needs are:
1. Certainty/Comfort – the need to be safe and comfortable
We all want comfort and much of this comfort comes from certainty. Of course there is no ABSOLUTE certainty, but we want certainty that we can afford a certain standard of living, have a certain amount of safety and security, and lead a healthy life. For most people, money brings in a basic form of certainty.
2. Uncertainity/Variety – the need for physical and mental stimulation
At the same time as we want certainty, we also want variety. Our mind craves for challenges, variety, excitement, adventure, change and novelty.
3. Significance – the need to feel special and worthy of attention or love
Deep down, we all want to be important. We want our life to have meaning and significance. We want to build a sense of importance for ourselves. Different people can opt different ways to achieve it. For example, some people need money to ensure certainty whereas some people need money to feel more self-worthy than others.
4. Connection/Love – the need to be loved and connected to others
It would be hard to argue against the need for love. We want to feel part of a community. We want to be cared for and cared about. Being in love also contributes to the significance or meaning of one’s life.
5. Growth – the need to develop and expand
We constantly want to grow intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. To become better, to improve our skills, to stretch and excel. It may be more evident in some than others, but it’s there in everybody.
6. Contribution – the need to contribute beyond yourself
The desire to contribute something of value—to help others, to make the world a better place than we found it is in all of us. Contribution to life provides a deep meaning and fulfillment about one’s life.
Tony Robbins says that we try to satisfy these needs daily in some manner, but not all of these six needs are equally important for all the people. Most of the times, people identify themselves most closely with one or two of the needs and they try to satisfy these needs in different ways. Most of a person’s decision-making can be understood if one understands their underlying core needs. He asks us to identify the one or two needs that are important to us and understand how we tried to achieve it in the past and how we are trying to achieve it in future, and explore what are the better ways to satisfy those needs.