Need 1: Certainty/Comfort
Our need to feel in control and secure.
Need 2: Uncertainty/Variety
Our need for variety, surprises.
Need 3: Significance
We all need to feel important, special, unique, or needed – some of us get a feeling of significance from our work, some do it by having a flash car or by getting a thousand Twitter followers. You can get significance by having more or bigger problems than anybody else (moi) and criminals get it by the attention they get for their crimes.
Need 4: Love & Connection
We all need love but many of us are terrified of it and settle for connection, through our romantic relationships, friendships, our pets, walking through nature.
Need 5: Growth
If you’re not growing, you’re dying – whether that’s growing your business, your relationships, your education etc.
Need 6: Contribution
‘Life’s not about me; it’s about we,’ says Tony, who reckons that giving is what life’s all about.
We all prioritise different of these needs. For some of us, certainty will be key – for others, the desire to feel special and significant will be the most important.
OUT OF THE SIX HUMAN NEEDS WHICH TWO HAVE YOU BEEN VALUING THE MOST?
I realised I valued significance and uncertainty. I’ve always looked for significance though my work (my way of feeling good enough/special).
I’ve constantly created uncertainty by being so irresponsible with my finances, engaging in a freelance career and avoiding any kind of commitment. If you ask me whether I’m free next Tuesday I’ll refuse to commit. It drives my friends crazy.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF VALUING THOSE NEEDS?
My search for significance though work has meant that I spent most of my twenties obsessed with work and having an unbalanced and unhappy life as a result. I realise too that I have searched for significance with my POOR ME stories. (Tony reckons that most of us are addicted to our problems and I certainly am, they make me who I am).
As for uncertainty… I love that I’m open to anything and will go where the wind takes me but constantly avoiding any solid plans and my irresponsibility around money causes me a lot of anxiety and sleepless nights. Quite often I feel at sea. It’s also been a way of avoiding close relationships, which I see as something that would tie me down.
THE NEEDS WE PRIORITISE SHAPE THE KIND OF LIFE WE LIVE
The man next to me prioritised security and love and connection – he’s been in the same accountancy job since university and was engaged to his girlfriend of four years. He was only 28 but he already owned three flats which he rents out and which he says will be his pension. We were opposites. I told him I thought he was amazing to be so sorted at his age – but he said ‘yeah, but I hate my job and I envy your freedom.’ So it’s swings and roundabouts, I guess.
Once you understand what your driving needs are the more you can understand why you make the choices you do – and whether it might be a good idea to focus on different needs. Which brings us to Tony’s next question…
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR TOP TWO NEEDS NOW FOR YOUR LIFE TO TRANSFORM?
I’ve decided I’d like to focus on Love and connection and contribution.
I have avoided love and relationships for too long. I have spent too long thinking that needing other people is a weakness and that having them need you is a trap. Time to change. Also, I realised that if you spend your time trying to feel significant, you’re keeping yourself separate, aren’t you? Life’s a competition rather than something we’re all in together.
If I focus on contribution instead of significance, I can think about how this blog and the book might help people, instead of focussing on me, me, me and how I’m not a good enough writer etc. In short, I’d get over myself, which would be nice for me and everyone around me.
Tony says that the last two needs – Growth and Contribution – are actually the needs that make you happy and fulfilled, so they’re the ones we should prioritise. He calls them Spiritual Needs, while the first four are the Needs of the Personality.
ANY ACTIVITY THAT MEETS THREE OF THESE NEEDS BECOMES AN ADDICTION
Once you start looking at your needs a lot of things we do start to make sense. Everything we do in life – good or bad – in some way satisfies these needs.
If you smoke it could be because you started as a teenager and it made you feel cool, which gives you significance, you felt part of the gang which gave you love and connection, it became a reassuring fixture in your day, giving you certainty.
During the event Tony spoke to a woman who said she suffered from depression and it was ruing her life – he pointed out that actually she was getting a lot out of her depression. She was feeling significant because it made her special, it gave her love and connection from her friends and also from herself (when she was depressed it was the only time she looked after herself and put her needs first), it gave her certainty (I always get depressed) and uncertainty because she didn’t know what was going to happen to her job as a result.
I realised that how Tony spoke to the depressed woman could be exactly about me and getting sick. It’s one of the things I like the least about myself – how often I get sick – but actually don’t I get quite a lot out of it? I get significance: ‘Poor Me! I always get sick’ Love and connection: people have to give me sympathy and I take time for myself. Uncertainty (self-sabotage) – I get sick when I’m getting somewhere with work, my finances crumble, any kind of planning goes out the window etc… but there’s also certainty too in the fact that ‘I always get sick’ and there’s certainty in me staying in Poor Me Victim mode instead of actually moving on and getting to the next stage of my life.
So there you go, sorry if that was very boringly self-analytical but I think it’s really interesting.
Take a look at the constants in your life – even the things you hate (being in a job you detest, with a partner who’s no longer right for you, always being broke etc) – and see what needs that situation might be fulfilling. You might think you hate the situation and that you want to change it but if you are not changing it there is a reason – it’s giving you something.
SO WHAT ARE YOUR 2 MOST DOMINANT NEEDS? AND HOW HAVE THEY SHAPED YOUR LIFE?
IN ORDER TO MOVE YOUR LIFE ON, WHAT NEEDS WOULD YOU PRIORITISE?
Love to you all xxAwaken the Giant within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Life