Ever ask yourself, why do people overeat, or overspend? Why do people resort to conflict, or violence? Why do people take drugs, or even take their own life? Why do people crave attention, or yearn for love? Why are you the way that you are?
Whatever people do, there’s a reason behind their actions. They may not know what that reason is, at least not consciously and in fact, quite often people act and behave in ways that may seem irrational and unexplainable, even to themselves. There are a million
stories of why people do what they do, but as I teach my clients there are certain needs we humans try to meet on a daily basis.
Today, I will share those needs with you to understand why sometimes we do what we do as human beings. No matter what your socioeconomic status, race, or religion; no matter what your goals, desires, values, morals or dreams are we all share these common needs. If you want to understand yourself on a deeper, more meaningful level, then you must begin with understanding these needs. Once you do, you will understand why you act and react in certain ways and that awareness is a key step to making a pivotal shift in your life. That way, you can overcome obstacles and embrace opportunities to ultimately find absolute fulfillment.
This is the need to avoid pain and ideally find some comfort, a survival mechanism. We have to have a certainty to even function in our daily lives. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt uncertain about your job or whether you’re going to make enough money to make ends meet? Now, we all try to find certainty, but we all go about it differently. Some get it by lowering their expectations and saying, “I will never get what I want.” Others get it by trying to control everything and everyone, and still, others get their certainty through faith and prayer. The question is, are you meeting your need for certainty in a way that is empowering or dis-empowering you?
This need creates excitement for us, it makes us feel alive and we need this in our lives, because that’s what helps us grow. We all strive to meet our need for variety in ways that are good, neutral and bad. Some people find variety by over-eating, extreme sports, conversation with someone they find interesting, by setting a new goal or even drugs and alcohol. Still, others get variety by having a big problem, so now the only question is, what is your way, and is it helping or hurting you?
We all have the need to feel that our lives are important, unique, and in some way special. There are unlimited ways that people find significance in their lives, and those ways can be productive, neutral or destructive. Violence is the fastest and cheapest way to get a feeling of significance from others. If you meet your need for significance by giving more than anyone else, by finding your uniqueness, by making a difference in the world there is no downside to that, only an upside. The power of generosity and compassion can change the world. So ask yourself, how do you meet your need for significance? Do you work harder than anyone else? Do you know more football than anyone else? Do you dress in a particular way, or have more earrings or tattoos than anyone else? Do you buy certain brands? Do you own a luxury car? Do you have more education and more diplomas than anyone else? There are a million ways to be significant. What is yours?
Love and connection.
People find connection through sex, even when it’s meaningless. Some may get it through meditation or by being in nature and some can get it through their faith and through prayer. Now what about love? Here’s the thing; most people settle. They settle for connection because love has betrayed them in the past. Or so they think, but connection is like crumbs when compared to true love. True love is absolute joy, comfort and passion and you need to be open to give love a chance.
The first four needs are critical. You will always find a way to meet each of these needs, but these alone will not fulfill you. If you truly want to be fulfilled, then you must meet these final two needs, growth and contribution. That is not meant in a religious sense, but in the sense of who you are at your core. If your relationship is not growing, it is dying and if your business is not growing, it’s dying.
Where do you stand? Take an honest assessment of your life and ask yourself where you are going and how that makes you feel? What area in your life is dying? And how does that make you suffer? Contribution will give your life meaning and when we give beyond ourselves, we live in a world of abundance and compassion. When is the last time you have contributed freely to another person or a cause outside of yourself? How did that make you feel?
We all have the same needs, why do we behave differently? We don’t value all of the needs equally; some have certainty as their top, some will have love and connection and others may have significance. Whichever is number one for you, will impact the way you live your life as opposed to someone else.
Port of Spain, Trinidad