This is an abbreviated, written version of a live teleclass I did the other night, I want to make the podcast available to listen to as well (check out the podcast page for the MP3).

If you are like me, you don’t really appreciate being put in a box, meaning I don’t really want to be put in a category – one from column A one from column B and there you go everything is magically fixed.

With that said – I think this updated version- these 6 levels of human needs taken from human needs psychology and introduced to me from Tony Robbins and Chloe Madanes is a more indepth take on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  There are some really great examples of how to use this, as a practical tool to figure out folks in your life, including yourself.

And one other thing I like about it, is that it offers a way to open up communication – to avoid the same ‘ol same ‘ol arguments.  Having a ‘go to’ framework to better understand your needs, the other people involved, and the whole situation – hopefully allows you to find a new way to talk about the issues.  It’s good for personal relationships, business relationships, all around.

And you may want to share this framework with the other people in your life so that you can ‘speak the same language.’ Have the same point of reference, to get to the heart of the matter.

Ok, so lets begin, I think you’ll be jazzed about how quickly this process can lead to transformation!

The basic premise behind Human Needs Psychology is:

That, all human beings share the same 6 basic human needs.
And, these needs underlie all the choices we make in our lives.
A key point is to be able to move the needle, to move from perception to deeper understanding. This framework allows us to better ‘know’ what the other person is calling for, even if they are not clearly stating it.   We can READ their behavior and choices.

I’ll share the steps, and how they may present.

Also I’ll give some basic examples of CODE WORDS – so particularly if you do not know the other person well these types of words act like car light indicators, ‘telling you to pay attention’  – the person is letting you know what they need, even if they are not clearly telling you.
The 6 Levels of Human Needs are:
1. Certainty
2. Uncertainty/ Variety
3. Significance
4. Love/Conection
5. Growth
6. Contribution

The first 4 : Certainty, Variety, Significance, Love/Connection are pretty much needed by everyone across the board, just in different orders and different amounts – – the last 2 :  Growth and Contribution – are the traits that add great meaning and juice to our lives.

Here they are, in a bit more detail.

The first need is for Certainty.

We want to feel safe, avoid pain and feel comfortable in our environment and our relationships.

Everyone needs Certainty but the degree to which certainty is needed or desired varies from person to person.
For EXAMPLE:  having a roof over one’s head, knowing where the next meal will come from, knowing how to obtain care when one is sick, knowing we are physically safe.

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.

Code words for Certainty are comfort, security, safety, stability, feeling grounded predictability and protection.

The second need is for Uncertainty or Variety (challenges that exercise our emotions and physicalness)

Everyone needs some variety in life, it helps us to feel alive!
Our bodies, our minds, our emotional well-being all require uncertainty, exercise, suspense and surprise.

For Example:  For some, variety may be satisfied by watching the news on television;
others may seek extreme high-risk activities such as extreme sports. Some may like to try different foods, etc.

And Code words for Uncertainty/Variety include: fear, thrills, instability, change, entertainment, suspense, exertion, surprise, conflict, and crisis.
The third need is for Significance.

Everyone needs to feel important, needed, wanted.

For Example:  This can be seen by comparing ourselves to others and looking for where we feel superior,  viewing our achievements, providing for the family, doing meaningful work, gathering considerable wealth.  Whatever the measure of significance, a sense of being important is necessary to all of us.  In different ratios and levels of importance.
Code words include: pride, importance, standards, achievement, performance, perfection, evaluation, discipline, competition, respect, and rejection.

So here are some real life examples:
Lets say we have a couple and he is raised in a very traditional manner and feels SECURITY  when she is home for dinner each night, preparing dinner, etc and she likes that, but, also has a stronger need for VARIETY  – so she needs to have some times where she can be more impulsive to meet a friend for dinner or go shopping with a girlfriend.
By examining this through the lenses of the 6 human needs
we can get out of the right vs wrong argument.  We can simply have a clearer understanding of each other’s needs, and instead of making yourself, or someone else ‘wrong’ a compromise can be discussed.

Another example:
Let’s say someone is job hunting, the employer may have questions trying to see if the person gets significance by working independently vs working in a team, if the person needs more personal space vs pronouncements on what a good job their doing.

The job seeker may want to find out if there is a specific structure and tasks to the day if they lean towards security, etc.   ….. so you see how it can fit so many different situations.

Here are our last three sections.


The fourth need is for the experience of Love and Connection.
Everyone needs connection with others, but it may look very different for each one of us.
FOR EXAMPLE:  For some its idealized love, romantic love, for some it’s replaced by the love of relatives, friends and tribe.   And for others, it’s the connection in the community or workplace.

One different and important way to look at this level – is that connection can also be used to look at how we connect with ourselves, and the traits of depression for example can come in here – as a way to make connection with oneself, to be there and nurture oneself.

And Code words for love/connection include: togetherness, passion, unity, warmth, tenderness and desire.
The fifth need is for Growth.

For example: We need to constantly develop emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.  With every experience we grow and change emotionally and intellectualy. We grow and develop in response to our money, health, relationships, happiness, and love.

How this looks in real life:   For some they satisfy their need to grow by working out physically or by reading a book.  Others need to study and learn constantly in order to feel that they are truly growing.

Code words for growth are: developing, learning, self-improvement, studying, and understanding.
The final, 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.  This powerful trait is a backbone behind the healing in 12 step programs.

So we may see examples of:  Giving to others may mean giving time to community service, making a charitable donation, planting trees, or giving to one’s children.

Code words for contribution are: giving, sharing, helping, supporting, guiding, teaching and making a difference.

For now, I want to leave you with a few Tips on how to get started using this framework.

1. Simply look at the list and rate these traits on a scale of 1 -6, then ask significant people in your life to do the same.

2. Draw a circle and divide it up into 6 slices like a pie, put each trait in one slice and then keep a weekly diagram of how well you are doing in each sphere of your life.

3.  There is a deeper assessment tool which I use which really delves into the hidden ways these human drives plays out in your life.  Contact me at, or 973-577-6921 if you are ready to get started.


You can check out the podcast (MP3) on the Podcast page!