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What do you NEED?

What do you NEED?


Human Needs are diverse.   And yet when behavioural scientists and psychologists study needs and motivation, they get pretty clear.   

Agreeance on the exact words to describe the needs varies, of course.   Yet here are a few of the primary models on what you need to feel motivated, satisfied and content in life.

American psychologist Abraham Maslow - in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation" – explained his now well known ‘Hierarchy of Human Needs’.  

As behavioural science got stronger, more detailed explanations of our driving forces and needs emerged.

Tony Robbins is known to have read pretty much every book on human behaviour and compiled his popular 6 Human Needs model.   He posits that we each possess all of 6 needs, just in our own unique proportions.   They are: Certainty, Variety, Connection / Love, Significance, Growth, and Contribution.

In 2008, The SCARF Model was published by David Rock, in his paper "SCARF: A Brain-Based Model for Collaborating With and Influencing Others."  SCARF stands for the five key "domains" that influence our behavior in social situations.  These can loosely be translated as needs that we all have, through interaction with others, to varying degrees.  They are:


Status – our relative importance to others.

Certainty – our ability to predict the future.

Autonomy – our sense of control over events.

Relatedness – how safe we feel with others.

Fairness – how fair we perceive the exchanges between people to be.


Now, I’m not going to say which model is best…that’s for you to decide.   But notice what themes are present in each of the models.  

In particular, note the need for safety, certainty and security present in all 3 models.  Along with love & connection (importance & relatedness to others) – these are the deepest primary needs.


The Need for Certainty Can Hold Us Back

Certainty and safety/security are as deep as they come.

What’s deeply interesting to me (and hopefully to you too!) is that safety and certainty can come from two main strategies:

1. Craving it. Fixed mindset.  Playing small.   Taking minimal risk.  Staying inside your comfort zone.   Never rocking the boat.   Playing it safe.   Always playing by the rules.  Avoiding offending anyone.   Secretly blaming others.  People pleasing.   Perfectionist behaviour.   Working to control outcomes or people…even unconsciously.  


2. Creating it. Growth mindset.  Being intentional.   Knowing what you want and working to get it.   Creating/being fully responsible your own sources of income, relationships, health, etc.   Creating your own future.   Speaking your truth.   Welcoming others’ opinions for reflection, and even learning & change.  Being honest and sharing what you believe.  Living from your values.   Owning responsibility for your life.  Being self-led. 


Most highly successful entrepreneurs are in that second group.

Most “union mentality” employees I would put in group 1.    To use an extreme example.

Many people are a blend of the two and still figuring it out.

Which group of traits do you most associate with?    What about my assertion above do you disagree with?   I invite you to reply and share that with me.   I will probably learn something from you.


Take the Test

Tony Robbins’ needs assessment is a strong one.  I like to use it with some of my clients.  

If you want to try it, go to his link and you’ll get your results confidentially.

"While the 6 human needs are deep-seated, remember that your past is not your future unless you live there."  – Tony Robbins

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