Why do people do what they do?
What is the motive for your behavior? What drives you? Why? In this article, I’m going to answer the question – Why do people do what they do?
Regardless of who we are – our background, profession, nationality or religion – there’s a common force that’s driving our emotions and actions – A HUMAN NEED.
Although each one of us is a unique, we’re all wired in pretty much the same way. We are all driven to fulfill our basic needs that have been encoded into our nervous systems.
According to Tony Robbins, there are six human needs that drive us forward in searching for a life of meaning – CERTAINTY, VARIETY, SIGNIFICANCE, CONNECTION, GROWTH and CONTRIBUTION.
There is nothing a person does that is not an attempt to meet these needs. Our will to satisfy needs is automatic, meaning we don’t need conscious effort in order to satisfy them. Somehow, we always find a way to meet these needs, be it in a positive, negative or neutral way.
THE 4 BASIC NEEDS
CERTAINTY – We all have a need to feel certain about a particular outcome. It is our survival mechanism. We want stability when it comes to our necessities – food, water, place to live, and other material resources.
When people are not in control of their physical circumstances, they may seek certainty through religion or positive outlook. Some people try to get certainty by having a routine. Negative way that people may look for certainty is by controlling other people, overeating, smoking or drinking.
VARIETY/UNCERTAINTY – When our need for certainty is fulfilled, we need variety to feel alive. We need surprises. People seek variety through stimuli, physical activity, mood swings, entertainment, food, doing drugs, going to a movie, etc.
Some people fulfil their need for certainty and uncertainty at the same time by watching the movie they’ve already seen – they’re certain it’s good because they’ve seen it, but hoping they’ve forgotten enough so there’ll be some variety.
SIGNIFICANCE – All of us need to feel unique, special and important in some way. We tend to seek significance through obtaining recognition from others. When people feel insignificant, they may make themselves feel significant by turning other people down or by getting angry or by making more money or by being more spiritual.
Some people make themselves significant through dressing, by having unique style or by having a unique skillset. Fighting over problem is actually fighting over significance.
For many people, helplessness is power, so they may make themselves feel significant by having others recognize the significance of their insignificance or complexity of their problems. Some people use religion to make them significant while some other people kill other people in order to feel significant.
CONNECTION/LOVE – people need to feel connected with a person, a value, a habit, or sense of identity. Connection may take the form of love or intense engagement, for instance, one can feel connected through an aggressive interaction or by having a problem all the time that people have to fix.
Feeling sorry for themselves is the most common way where people get connection, because even if it feels bad, at least they’re feeling for themselves. You can get attention by being sick, because people will come and pay attention to you, or by creating problems in order to get some attention. You can also get connection through nature or you may seek connection to God through prayer or meditation.
You will always meet all of those fundamental needs in some way, but you won’t be fulfilled until you meet spiritual needs.
THE 2 SPIRITUAL NEEDS
It is only by meeting the spiritual needs that we experience sustainable joy vs. momentary pleasure.
GROWTH – people are not spiritually satisfied unless their capacities are expanding. When you’re in your comfort zone, you’re not driven, and you no longer grow, and when you’re not growing, you’re dying. You need a reason to constantly grow, otherwise you will get comfortable pretty easily.
CONTRIBUTION – people cannot be spiritually fulfilled unless they are contributing to others. You got to contribute beyond yourself to feel like your life is meaningful. When you’re not growing, you stop contributing in a meaningful way.
HOW DO WE GET ADDICTED?
Any activity, action, or emotion that fulfills at least 3 needs at a high level, becomes an ADDICTION. For instance, cigarettes meet some of your needs – significance or connection to some friends or maybe you need some certainty when you’re stressed so you can relax.
The way to get out of it is to get addicted to something better – something that is good for you in the long term.
WHY DO PEOPLE DO WHAT THEY DO?
There is always a way to fulfill your needs. It is important to find a way that gives you more pleasure than pain.
Is the way you get your needs met empowering you or disempowering you?
According to Tony Robbins, we all tend to value 2 needs more than the rest and when you know which needs you value the most, you can better understand the choices you make, as well as your emotional patterns.
Try to think about the ways you get any of the 6 human needs.
Which 2 human needs have you been valuing most and what are the consequences of valuing those needs?
What do your top 2 needs need to be for your life to transform in a way you want it to be? Why?
Write in the comments below.
Also, If you have any questions, please leave them below and I will come back to you as soon as possible.