The 6 Paradoxical Human Needs

Anthony Robbins suggests there are 6 human core needs. He divides these needs into personality needs and spiritual needs. Within the personality ones, he identifies the needs for certainty and uncertainty, the need for significance, and the need for love and connection. As for spiritual needs, Anthony talks about the need for growth and the need for grounding. Although it’s not an extensive categorization of human needs, this framework makes sense to me and it is a simple way to start to get to know ourselves a little bit more.

How can a person need certainty and uncertainty at the same time? It’s part of our dual nature and the reason why we say these needs are “paradoxical”.

The peculiarity of these pairs of needs is that they contradict each other on a surface level. How can a person need certainty and uncertainty at the same time? It’s part of our dual nature and the reason why we say these needs are “paradoxical”. I believe the more we accept our own duality, the more we can accept ourselves, especially when we feel restless and confronted with the polarity of our needs. Let’s have a closer look at them.

The Need for Certainty and The Need for Uncertainty

We like to have some control over our life and work. Imagine how stressed you would feel if I told you that tomorrow morning you need to pack all your office stuff and leave. Or imagine you return home just to find a notice saying your building is about to be demolished in one week. How much would your life suddenly change thanks to this unpredicted news? We do like to have some predictability. We need some of it to remain sane. However, we also like to be surprised from time to time. We like to feel the mystery of the unknown and have some unexpected (good) news knocking on our door.

The Need for Individuality and The Need for Connection

We want to feel and be seen as unique, special, or even one of a kind. We want to be acknowledged for our personal talents and our own character. We want our individual experiences to be validated. However, we also want to connect with others and be part of a group. We want to have a sense of belongingness and be part of the whole.

The Need for Growth and the Need for Grounding

We have a natural tendency to want to develop ourselves. Our human curiosity is present in us from a very early age. Just think about all those babies who look at the world for the first time. Their eyes screen reality with intense curiosity and admiration. As we grow up, such curiosity takes different shapes and forms, but it remains within us, making us expand in different areas of life. But while we may have the need to grow, expand and learn new things, we also have the need to ground ourselves, to have a reference and core sense of who we are. We like to have some inner experience which we can call “home” and come back to it whenever we need to.

Concluding Thoughts

All human beings have needs. Some needs seem to be universal, and there are needs that even seem to be conflicting with each other. Tony Robbins believes the 6 human needs above are the main human behavior drivers. It’s a simple approach to human needs yet it can be useful to help us think about what motivates us and what might be missing in our life.

Is Happiness a Realistic Goal?

realistic goal and a desirable one. It is rather impossible to be happy all the time, of course, and it is rather difficult to be in a pure state of bliss on a regular basis. However, we can aim to develop skills and strategies that enhance our level of consciousness.

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8 Comments

  1. blankpaper2121 says:

    I feel your writing. With the needs simplified, easier to rap your head around. It’s helpful in providing meaning in the contradictory ways, I act as a person. Personality needs clashing with the spiritual. One will win out for now, neither goes away until satisfied. Paradoxically human needs indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vanessa Dias says:

      Thanks, I agree – maybe “growing up” is about overcoming the clash 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s very interesting. I agree with the need for certainty and uncertainty at the same time. You need certainty for your basic needs like home, food, clothing. But you need uncertainty in order to challenge yourself to grow.

    Like

  3. I had never thought of these before. Great comparisons. I need them all.

    Like

  4. Christina Kuvaja says:

    Now, THESE needs I can get behind! I never thought about these before since it’s never distributed in the hands of a typical person. That’s why I love this blog and connecting with you so much! I always wondered what was wrong with me when I felt two different things at once, I guess that contributes to the paradoxical needs of humans!

    Thank you for sharing this incredible post!

    Christina | Raising My Three and Me
    raisingmythreeandme.com

    Like

  5. Benny says:

    Interesting concepts. I haven’t read any if his work yet, but maybe I should.

    I do understand the paradoxes you describe. Great post for some more food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Benny. I recommend listening some Tony’s podcasts on this if you don’t have a chance to read his work.

      Like

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