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December 23, 2018

Core Human Needs: Are They Being Met?

Human Needs Shape Your Decisions

Why do you do the things you do? In short, to fill your human needs. If you understand your needs or someone else’s needs you can better understand your own decisions and their decisions.

human needs
Photo courtesy of PIxabay

Most of us are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which culminate in the concept of self- actualization. But, his isn’t the only model of human needs. Through his work with three million people renowned personal coach and speaker, Tony Robbins, has come up with his own model of human needs. Human are motivated or can be motivated to fulfill these six core needs. These needs become the basis of the choices we make. 

The Six Core Human Needs

The six core human needs are:

  • Certainty
  • Uncertainty/Variety
  • Significance
  • Love and Connection
  • Growth
  • Contribution

Growth and contribution lead to self-actualization, while the first four needs are felt to be essential for human survival somewhat coinciding with Maslow’s basic needs.

Let’s go into these human needs in more detail.


Certainty is characterized by our need for safety, comfort, stability, consistency, predictability, control, avoidance of pain, and gaining of pleasure. High certainty individuals avoid risks and are detailed planners. They are organized, reliable, and dependable.

Uncertainty is characterized by our need for variety, surprise, challenges, excitement, difference, chaos, adventure, change and novelty. High uncertainty individuals are typically involved in many things at once. They shun habits and routine. They may even put themselves at risk whether it be physically, emotionally, or financially.


We have a strong desire for feeling unique, important, special or needed. We want to be significant. We want our lives to count or matter. Why else be here? To accomplish that we have become more and more selfless. We need to think of others more and ourselves less. 

We have a need for variety, challenges, excitement, different, adventure, surprise, change, novelty, and even some chaos. Many peopled may deny that they want any of these things to occur, but without such uncertainty and variety our lives become nothing more than Groundhog Days. 
Life becomes boring and dull without variety and uncertainty and at some point not worth really living. Variety and uncertainty keeps us on our toes and forces us to adapt and improve ourselves.

Love and Connection

Love and connection is characterized by our need to belong and feel close with someone, the desire for approval and attachment, and the desire to be cared for. High Love/Connection individuals are generous to those they love and can be protective of them. They are nurturing, supportive, and helpful.


Growth is characterized by the need of development- spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. If you are not growing, then you are dying. We grow by overcoming challenges. High growth individuals love to learn and challenge themselves. They can be detached and may undervalue relationships. They are frequently calm, thoughtful, and dependable. 


Contribution is characterized by the need to give back, to care, to protect and serve others, to contribute to a cause greater than oneself. High Contribution individuals see life incomplete unless they contribute to others or a cause. They are outgoing, enthusiastic, persistent, and generous.  

By understanding how important each of these needs are to each we can better understand what drives our decisions to meet these needs. Sometimes are decisions to meet these needs are positive but sometimes they are destructive.

Usually two needs are most important to most of us. Those two needs drive our decisions and actions. What are your two most important needs?

Needs and Vehicles

The actions we take to meet our needs are known as vehicles. The goal is to meet our needs in resourceful or positive ways – through positive vehicles. 

Paying for a relative’s college tuition is not a need. Contribution is the need. Paying for the tuition is the vehicle to meet the need. Being there for someone who is sick or even dying is not a need. Love and Connection is the need. Being there for them is the vehicle.

Needs are more or less neutral. Vehicles can be positive or negative. Negative vehicles are not good for you or your family, and typically are not sustainable. You may have a need for Uncertainty. Gambling your life savings is a vehicle to meet that need but it is a negative vehicle. It will harm you and gambling successfully is not sustainable.

Both terrorists and EMTs (emergency medical technicians) want to Contribute to a greater cause. The former group employs a negative vehicle while the latter group employs a more positive vehicle.

Are you using negative vehicles to pursue your needs? Doing so leads to poor decisions. Find a way to substitute negative vehicles with positive vehicles. Doing so improves the odds of you living the life you want.

Become the best you and meet your needs in the most positive ways possible. 



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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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