6 Human Needs


All of us have basic needs, not merely desires but profound needs that underlie and motivate every choice we make. There are six universal human needs that can be satisfied in negative or positive ways. They are: Certainty, Significance, Uncertainty/Variety, Love/Connection, Growth and Contribution.The first four are essential to human survival. The last two are essential to human fulfillment.



CERTAINTY: The first need is for certainty. We want to feel safe, avoid pain and feel comfortable in our environment. Every individual needs to have some sense of certainty and security – a roof over one’s head, knowing where the next meal will come from, knowing how to obtain care when one is sick, knowing that a neighbor won’t attack us. These are just a few examples of what constitutes a basic sense of certainty.

The helpless infant needs certainty as well as the child, the adult and the elderly person. The degree to which certainty is needed or desired, however, varies from person to person. Some people feel secure living in one room and collecting an unemployment check. Others can feel certainty only if they make a million dollars each year. Even though some certainty is necessary to all of us, what constitutes certainty varies from individual to individual. Code words for certainty are: comfort, security, safety, stability, feeling grounded, predictability and protection.


I need to feel secure, safe and comfortable and I need to make sure that I will be secure, safe and comfortable in the future. Avoiding pain is very important to me. I can’t be happy when I’m uncertain about things.

How this Belief Serves You

I avoid risks and I carefully plan for the future. I’m careful and I take care of myself. People know I am predictable. I know how to be organized.

The Principles You Lost Sight Of

The future is unpredictable; all we have is the present moment. Where there is no risk, there is no gain. It is possible to be uncertain about the future, yet happy in the present.

The Consequences of Losing Sight of This Principle

I limit my new experiences. I have trouble letting love flow when I don’t feel secure and comfortable. I have trouble involving myself with people for fear that they will cause me pain. People sometimes think that I’m controlling. I may seem unenthusiastic and even boring. I am predictable at the cost of being spontaneous.


I focus on stability, on habitual routines and on preparing and saving for the future. I prefer work that is stable and easy instead of work that is challenging and stretches my abilities.


I put my energy into organizing a secure and comfortable environment. I’m focused inwardly on evaluating my level of comfort-discomfort.


I like to take care of myself, but my need for comfort may lead me to over eating or drinking.

What You Avoid

I tend to avoid new people and new experiences. I avoid relationships where there is not full commitment. I avoid threats and hazards. I fear not being in control.


I am organized, reliable and dependable. I can create a home and work environment that is pleasing and where people can feel comfortable.

Communication Style

I often talk about my internal states, emphasizing whether I feel grounded, protected and safe. Words that I frequently use are: comfort, security, stability, and predictability.


I am stressed when something new is required of me, when I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Changes in plans, even if there are new opportunities, stress me out. I put pressure on myself to make sure I don’t feel insecure.


I get defensive when I’m required to change my habits or to deal with new people and new situations. I can get angry when people challenge my need to feel comfortable and to have predictability in my life.


I worry a great deal about the future. I’m very sensitive to danger and experience fear easily. I sometimes envy people who have more money or a larger income than I do.


My goal is to be able to live in the present, to experience the moment without focusing on what will happen next and what the future might hold. I need to take some risks in order to reap some benefits. I need to accept that uncertainty and insecurity are a part of life.

What To Do

I need to stretch myself by learning new things and having new experiences. Instead of fear and anxiety, I need to learn to experience excitement and joy. I need to learn to enjoy a challenge. I need to develop courage and to be able to act even when I feel insecure. I need to get a reality check from others about my fears and concerns.

What Interferes with Your Goal

My wish to feel comfortable and to plan for the future interferes with my goal. I am over protective and controlling. I require too much certainty. I can be pessimistic about the future.

How Others Can Support You in Your Goal

Others can support me by introducing me to new experiences and by encouraging more spontaneity and fun. They can counter my doubts and fears in realistic ways.