6 Core Human Needs – The Bottom Line

We’ve examined the 6 Core Human Needs that drive us all over the past few weeks and worked our way through each one of them.  These needs are universal and meeting them governs all our decisions and behaviours – sometimes not so positively.  What makes us all unique is how we weigh or prioritise these needs, and that’s what we’re going to summarise today.

Whilst finding ways to meet these 6 needs is what makes us similar, how each of us stacks those needs distinguish
es us from each other, and occasionally makes us shake our heads in wonder.

Whilst we’re all somewhere on the spectrum of Certainty, not all of us need as much certainty as others.  Some people need a good load of control to feel they have a grip on life, whilst others coast through knowing very little for sure.  The need for Certainty is paradoxical with the need for Uncertainty (the second core human need).  This is where our risk tolerance hangs out.  We all “run” our balance between control and excitement a little differently, and people on either end of the spectrum find it hard to understand the viewpoint and needs of the other.

Similarly, the third need for Significance and the fourth for Love & Connection can also pull against each other.  Whilst we all seek both and many tend to gain their feeling of significance from the people they prioritise – the same people with whom they form that love and connection – some people choose to prioritise their need for personal significance over their need for Love & Connection – believing mistakenly that the affirmation they gain from seeking significance is the same as love and connection.

As we’ve established over the past few weeks, the fifth and sixth needs (Growth and Contribution) aren’t properly able to be satisfied until you’ve got the first four needs somewhat under control.  Growth and Contribution require extra, expansive energy.  They require you to take what you have and use it for good – use it to increase your value and then give that value away to better someone else, your family, your community, your country.

This requirement for extra energy pits the last two needs against the first four.  If you’re fighting for control, obsessed with risk, too wrapped up in your own self, or fighting for the people you love, there’s little left over for you to become an expansive and contributing human being.

All of us ride this wave to find balance and even when you think you’ve got it taped, something will change to throw off the balance again.  That’s life.  Perpetual movement rather than stagnation.  Having to constantly adjust to a degree is normal, but there are certain things that knock us completely off balance over and over again – one of the most common being stress.  Stress affects us all differently, but it universally takes from us our focus and energy when it becomes overpowering.  For that reason, leaving how to self-manage our stress should be one of our first priorities and responsibilities to ourselves.

Ask yourself this week how you’re meeting each of the 6 Core Needs.  Which do you have balanced and which have kicked you a little off course?  Do you have teammates (both at work and at home) who seem a little off-balance at the moment?  Can you find a way to start a conversation, or share this series of articles with them?  Are there areas of overwhelm where you need to take a deep breath and check yourself?  Are you taking responsibility for managing your stress levels, or are you allowing them to sap you and destroy your focus?  What behaviour are you experiencing in yourself and others that may be the result of off-balance or unmet needs, and how can you lead yourself and others through that?  Are there people around you who choose to stack their needs differently and whom you consequently don’t understand?  Can you instead find a way to respect and accept that they too are only meeting the very same needs, just in a different way, the best way they know how?

by Christen Killick

July 29th, 2019


  1. Gerald on March 21, 2022 at 8:11 am

    I enjoyed this article very much, and totally agree with every aspect that you touched on. Please continue this work, and keep us posted if at all possible with future articles. Thank you.

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