A musician must make music, and artist must paint, a poet must write if she is to be ultimately at
peace with herself. What a person can be she must be. This need we call self actualisation…
it refers to a persons desire for self fulfillment, namely to become everything
one is capable of becoming.
– Abraham Maslow
How do we motivate, engage and help others to achieve their full potential? How do we create fulfillment in our lives? How do we really create change in ourselves and in others?
The answers to these questions will be revealed below. Let’s begin with some virtually unknown truths about ourselves that are important for each one of us to know if we want to become all that we are capable of becoming.
All of us as Human Beings have deep and profound human needs that are hard wired into us. Abraham Maslow a Professor in positive psychology developed the ”Heirarchy of Human Needs” in the 40’s. He studied over 1000 self actualised people to discover what made successful people successful, including Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt. What he found was that when people have all their human needs met they have peak experiences, peak relationships and peak performance. He termed these people as Self Actualisers and the peak experiences they had as Self Actualisation.
We are all born with these human needs and they underlie and determine every choice we make in our life. We will do whatever it takes to get our needs fulfilled and we choose certain ways to fulfill them. Some of the ways that we fulfill our human needs are positive and support us in achieving our full potential, others are destructive and disempower us. We can fulfill our needs consciously or unconsciously, one way or another we will fulfill them.
Here are the human needs summarised for your convenience.
CERTAINTY: We want to feel safe, avoid pain, have our physical needs met. Code words are comfort, security, safety, stability.
VARIETY: Our bodies and minds all require uncertainty, suspense, surprise and to experience their full emotional and physical range. Code words are fear, instability, change, surprise, conflict and suspense.
SIGNIFICANCE: Every person needs to feel important, wanted and needed. We can feel significant because we have achieved something, succeeded at something, or we can seek significance by tearing down something or somebody. Code words for significance are: standards, achievement, perfection, discipline, competition & rejection.
LOVE/CONNECTION: Some people rarely experience love, but they have many ways of feeling connection with others – in the community or in the workplace. The need to be loved is characteristic of all human beings. Code words for love/connection are: togetherness, passion, unity, warmth, tenderness and desire.
GROWTH: We need to constantly develop intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Anything that you want to remain in your life – your money, your health, your relationship, your happiness, love – must be cultivated, developed and expanded. Otherwise, it will degenerate.
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.
The first four needs – certainty, uncertainty, significance and love – are essential for human survival. They are the fundamental needs of the personality. 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.
The secret to success for every human being or culture is to make sure that each person is getting their human needs fullfilled in a positive way. So how is this possible? In your own time do the exercises below to change your life for the better. You may also want to do them with the people you care about the most.
- Look at the 6 human needs and rank them in order of importance to you. 1 most important to 6 least important. Look at your 2 top human needs and write down how each one determines the course of your life.
- Think about the following. Do you value Certainty over Love/Connection or do you value Variety over Significance? What would happen if your driving force was Love and Connection or Growth? Look at your top 2 needs. What would change in your life if one of them changed? Are you ready to change which needs you value most? Your happiness may depend on it.
- Which human needs serve you best and would support you in being more happy and fulfilled? My new top 2 human needs are? Write them down and write down how each one will determine the course of your life.
- Are you ready to value these human needs now? How will you fulfill them on a daily basis? How can others that are close to you help you to fulfill them?
When our needs for love, growth and contribution are satisfied, they tend to encompass all our other needs. When we focus on something beyond ourselves, most of our problems and sources of pain become less significant and we feel happy and fulfilled. My challenge for you is to start to put this into practice right NOW! Be proactive in creating a more positive, happy and fulfilling life for yourself and for those around you.
To your Success!
Excerpts from Anthony Robbins and Cloe Madanes, Robbins and Madanes Training Ltd.