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.



CONTRIBUTION: The sixth need is for contribution – to go beyond our own needs and to give to others. A life is incomplete without the sense that one is making a contribution to others or to a cause. It is in the nature of human beings to want to give back, to leave a mark on the world. Giving to others may mean giving time to community service, making a charitable donation, planting trees, writing a book, or giving to one’s children. Not only can everyone contribute in some way but contribution is essential to a sense of fulfillment and to happiness. The first four needs – certainty, uncertainty, significance and love – are essential for human survival. They are the fundamental needs of the personality – everyone must feel that they have met them on some level, even if they have to lie to themselves to do so. The last two needs, growth and contribution, are essential for human fulfillment. They are the needs of the spirit, and not everyone finds a way to satisfy them, although they are necessary for lasting fulfillment.


Your Beliefs

Life is incomplete without the sense that one is making a contribution to others or to a cause. I have to go beyond my own needs and give to others. I want to give back and to leave a mark on the world.

How This Belief Serves You

By focusing on something beyond myself, most of my problems and sources of pain become less significant. I get certainty because I know that there is always a way to contribute. I have variety because there are many different ways of making a contribution. I have significance because I know I am helping others. The spiritual bond that develops by helping others gives me a sense of connection. I grow and develop by helping others.

The Principles You Lost Sight Of

I lose sight of the fact that charity begins at home. I care for so many people or for such an important cause that I sometimes neglect taking care of my self and my loved ones.

The Consequences of Losing Sight of These Principles

A consequence is that my physical, emotional or spiritual health may suffer. I sometimes neglect my personal relationships and people can become resentful of the time and energy I put into a cause.



My focus is on the world, a cause, how to help others, how to contribute.


I’m energetic and focused outwardly to the point that I can exhaust myself.


I would like to stay healthy, but my need to contribute may drive me to neglect myself and my health.

What You Avoid

I avoid being weak, dependent and powerless. I don’t want to lose the respect of the people I care about.


I’m brave, persistent, generous and assertive.

Communication Style

I’m energetic and firm but can be seen as controlling and disregarding of others’ opinions. Words that I use frequently are: ideals, justice, the cause, fairness, compassion, and giving.


I can over exert myself and suffer from fatigue. Injustice stresses me. It’s difficult for me to restrain myself from being confrontational in the face of unfairness or injustice.


I become defensive with people who try to control me and with people that are deceitful. I’m defensive when people are indifferent to important causes and ideals.


I’m enthusiastic and outgoing but I can become angry and confrontational.


Your Goal

My goal is to find a balance between taking care of myself, my loved ones, and my need to contribute to the larger good.

What I Need To Do

I need to notice that I can come across as too intense. I need to take care of myself. I need to take care of my relationships.

What Interferes With Your Goal

Contribution satisfies all my needs at such a high level that I often ignore my own needs and neglect my self and others. My lifestyle can lead to exhaustion. My need to always be strong and deny my vulnerability interferes with my goal.

How Others Can Support You in Your Goal

Others can encourage me to take care of my self and to express my vulnerabilities. They can stand their ground in expressing what they need from me in terms of attention and energy.