Tony Robbins has been all over the world interacting with millions of people and listening to their stories. In this work, he began to uncover a pattern that answers the question: ”Why do people do what they do?”
The answer to this question lies within his model: “The 6 Human Needs” which we will explore here. It’s a really useful model, and it’s simple, too.
By understanding these values, the next time you see someone do something “stupid” you might actually see the human need they are seeking to meet instead of a behavior to judge.
Here are the Six Human Needs according to the Robbins model. Then, below the list, we’ll explore each of them briefly.
The Six Human Needs are …
Let’s dive into each one.
We Need Certainty
Imagine someone who might have a hard time if their favorite coffee mug was used by a new co-worker, someone who needs to know the exact time you will arrive for dinner, someone who loves to watch the same movie over and over… can you think of someone like that?
This describes the first of the six Human Needs: Certainty. There is comfort in certainty, in patterns, in routines, and in rituals. Most everyone could name several certainties they value.
Now imagine that a routine becomes so ingrained and practiced that everything becomes mundane. Would you be happy if everyday was 100% predictable to the point where you felt like you were living out the movie GroundHog Day? You may have heard the saying, variety is the spice of life… and if we are talking about spices - the right amount can be critical. And it’s different for everyone. We are all unique.
But We Also Need Variety or Uncertainty
This brings us to the second of the six Human Needs: Uncertainty. Have you ever seen those mystery egg YouTube videos that have over a billion views? It is no mystery that we love surprises… well, at least the ones we want. It would be less wonderful to get some bad news that you weren't expecting!
Do You Feel Significant?
This is the third Human Need to feel unique, special, and important: Significance. You may have seen or been given a “You Matter” card. The only purpose they serve is to hand significance to a passing stranger. Tony adamantly states that EVERYONE wants to feel special regardless of what they may say.
It doesn’t take much effort or time to show someone they are significant, and consider how it might uplift you to be on the receiving end of a smile, a 30 second voice message, a handwritten letter, or even positive intentions communicated through thought and meditation.
It is through Significance that Tony explains the behavior of violence. He says there are two ways to build the tallest building:
- “Working your ass off”
- “Or you can tear down everyone else's buildings”
The first three human needs are met with one act of violence. He continues to relate that when three needs are met, addiction results.
“Any time your mind perceives that doing something, believing something, or feeling something meets at least three of your needs - then you will become addicted to that feeling, emotion, or action…whether it is positive or negative, it doesn’t matter… People will give up their goals and dreams for their needs” - Tony Robbins
You might be surprised to find significance can manifest in less than positive ways. “Most people find a way to be significant by having a significant problem because it is the safest way to connect and not be rejected.”
We Crave Connection and Love
Connection and Love are the fourth Human Need. This is the first example of a need where only half of it is typically met. ”Most settle for connection (met) and want love (unmet).” Looking from a biological perspective he says “Men will die for significance, women will die for love… any man or woman can become more driven by the other… but that is the way we are wired.”
The last two needs are less commonly fully recognized and essential for happiness.
Always Be Growing
The fifth Human need is: Growth and Tony notes that “Progress = happiness.” If this is the case, the best way to target happiness could be to focus on progress. You can confirm this for yourself by reflecting on Tony’s observation that, “any time you start making progress, happiness goes right through the roof.”
So the next time you find yourself progressing towards a goal you might want to remember these words, “THE PURPOSE OF A GOAL IS WHO WE BECOME TO ACHIEVE IT.”
This can be understood by recalling a time you gave something a go you were not feeling ready to do. A time you started before you felt ready. Odds are you were able to persist until you were comfortable with the job and therefore, the goal is now within reach. Reframing it like this can feel like a relief and allow you to strive for things beyond your wildest dreams because we can become to achieve.
Contribution is About Helping Others
Finally, the last of the six Human Needs: Contribution.
What would be more special to you, winning one concert ticket or two? Most would agree it is much more rewarding and fun to share.
One of the driving factors behind Mike Mandel’s generosity is to contribute. Recently, he shared a story about an email from a student who was able to radically help hospital staff in a high stress unit using the tools he had learned in Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy (MMHA.) You could feel his human need for Contribution being met as he shared this story with a smile on his face.
Contribution can be summed up by saying it’s a way of helping people you may not have a direct personal connection to. Maybe you volunteer for a charity, or donate time to tutor struggling high school students. Maybe you believe in a particular cause and organize a protest for change. Or perhaps a police officer chose this career path to feel like they are contributing to the safety and well being of the community.
If you like the idea of leaving judgements (of yourself and others) behind in exchange for compassion that comes complete with action steps, then you may want to delve deeper with this content!
What top two needs drive your choices? How might you look for needs next time you are listening to someone tell a story?
I wonder when you will notice you are judging a behavior and instead, decide to identify the unmet human need they are seeking to fill.
These reframes can shift us from a place of judgment to a place of understanding. It is through understanding that compassion arises, and when compassion is present, judgment evaporates and healthy progress can be made.
A lot of our Six Human Needs are met by running the Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy. And we’d love to have you join us.
One of the best things about MMHA is it connects you with concrete tools and skills that show you how to (metaphorically) put on your own oxygen mask first. We often know what we should do and have trouble identifying the road that shows us how. In MMHA the online lesson modules let you move at your own pace, and when you’re ready, there are ALWAYS eager practice partners ready to level up with you.
Why not check out the free trial here. We would love to see you there!