Why we do what we do—a review on the 6 basic human needs

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Why do you do what you do in life? There’s always a reason why we act the way we do. One essential factor is our NEEDS. The more we understand our needs, our thoughts, our feeling and our actions, the more we can influence our life. The process of understanding our needs is a key to our joy, success and HAPPINESS!

As a child, I was fascinated about why people think, feel and act the way they do. Why some people pursue opportunities that lead to greater success, joy and HAPPINESS while others consistently ignore those same opportunities that can transform their lives forever? I was curious to know why some people sacrificed their lives for others, while some will murder a family member, a friend and stranger for their own personal gain. Why people such as Jesus Christ, mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., scarified their lives for a cause and/or for the greater good of humanity and eternity?

“It’s the passion to understand the human spirit, psychology and behaviors that led me to earn my master’s degree in the field of counseling and dedicate my life to coaching, speaking and helping people like YOU!”

While each person is unique, we all share similar basic NEEDS. And most of our behaviors are driven by our basic needs. Let’s review the six basic human needs that drive our thoughts, feelings and actions.

The six basic human needs by Abraham Maslow

1.  Physiological needs: These include air, water, food and sleep. These needs are required for our survival.

2.  Safety needs: The basic Safety and Security needs include:


  • Personal security
  • Financial security
  • Health and well-being
  • Safety net against accidents/illness and their adverse impacts

3.  Love and belonging: After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third level of human needs is interpersonal and involves feelings of belonging, connection, love and Intimacy.

4. Esteem: All humans have a need to feel respected; this includes the need to have self-esteem, self-respect and self-confidence. Esteem presents the typical human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People often engage in a profession or hobby to gain recognition. These activities give the person a sense of contribution or value.

5. Self-actualization: This level of need refers to what a person’s full potential is and the realization of that potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. “What a man can be, he must be.”

6. Self-Transcendence: In his later years, Maslow added the 6th needs. He realized that the self only finds its actualization in giving itself to some higher goal outside oneself, in altruism and spirituality.


The six basic human needs by Tony Robins

1.  Certainty: We all want comfort, pleasure and do our best to avoid pain. We want certainty… the car will start, our family and friends will be there for us and we’ll have enough money to maintain our lifestyle.

2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown and changes. At the same time we want certainty, we also crave variety. This process makes life interesting and exciting.

3. Significance: The need to fee l unique, important and special. Deep down, we all want to be important, popular and valued.

4. Connection/Love: A strong feeling of love and closeness with someone and with something. We want to feel part of a community where we cared for and cared about.

5. Growth: The need to expend our capacity, capability or understanding. The need to become better, to improve our skills, to develop and to excel.

6. Contribution: The need to serve, to help, to share, to give, to inspire, to empower and to supporting others. The desire to contribute to something of value—to help others, to make the world a better place than we found it.


The basic needs discussed in this blog offer only a psychological view on human behaviors and personality. Review these needs as often as possible to better understand your needs. When you understand your needs and take proactive steps to meet them, it can help you develop new patterns that lead to lasting fulfillment, success, joy and HAPPINESS.

Post your comment below and share with us why you do what you do and how you are meeting your needs. Until then, live life with joy, success and HAPPINESS!

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