According to Anthony Robbins, regardless of our gender, our culture or where we live in the world, all humans have six basic human needs. They include the need for:

  1. Certainty / Faith -- We all have a need for certainty in our lives. While it is true that there are absolute certainties in life, we do take certain things for granted. Another word for certainty could then be defined as faith. Each day, we drive along roads with nothing more than a painted line on the road to separate us from oncoming traffic. The only way we can manage to do this is by feeling fairly certain that the person coming the other way won't swerve onto our side of the road and hit us head on.
  2. Uncertainty / Variety -- As much as we need certainty in our lives, we also have a deep rooted need for uncertainty. It may sound like a paradox at first, but could any of us really live without spice and adventure in our lives? Every day we go out into the world and experience new things, deal with new situations. The happiest times of my life were times when I went beyond my comfort zone. Have you ever had the exact same conversation, word-for-word, in your life?
  3. Significance -- Deep down, we all need to feel important because we want our lives to have meaning. What happens to someone who feels that their life has no significance? Depression, or even death. But even in these states, people often attract attention.
  4. Connection / Love -- Instinctively, humans are social creatures. From the moment we are born, we have a need to connect with situations (people really) and with people. The greatest fear people have when you drill down is the fear of not knowing if they will be enough and/or that they will be loved.
  5. Growth -- Regardless of what people say, we are in a constant state of learning. It may be formal school education or training, or informal by just talking with a neighbour or facing a new situation or problem and coming up with a solution. How many of us received formal training on how to bring up kids? As parents, we do the best we can with the knowledge and experiences we have and will gather. The really cool thing about growing is, like a balloon that has been inflated for the first time, we will never shrink back down to our original size. Growth is a one way street. You can't return experience.
  6. Contribution -- The desire to contribute something of value, to help others and to make the world a better place is definitely a need and can be found in all of us. People contribute in countless ways each day of their life. For example, we work in order to make money but also in order to contribute of value to society. Have you ever visited a retirement home and seen the number of people there who are just waiting to die? After retiring, their method of contributing has essentially disappeared. Those who manage to find new ways of contributing tend to live longer and happier lives.

These needs can be fulfilled using empowering or disempowering beliefs. By redefining how we fulfil these needs, we gain the power to control our lives and achieve the results we are after.

It is important to note that any situation in our lives which meet at least two or three of these needs at a high level these needs will be the driving force behind most behaviours and will become an addiction. The power of belief is what creates and controls our habits. The last two needs are our spiritual needs which control our ability to create fulfillment in our lives.

To learn more, watch Tony's perspective on the Six Basic Human Needs on TEDTalks. The is video entitled Why we do what we do, and how we can do it better. If you are short on time, the discussion about the Six Basic Human Needs starts around the 10 minute mark however I highly recommend watching the whole video.