‘Any time your mind perceives that doing, believing or feeling something meets at least three of your needs, then you will become addicted to that thought, feeling or action’- Tony Robbins
I must admit, this bi-weekly rota is a little bit more difficult to manage than I expected, however it seems life this is actually a much better way to engage as I have gotten much more feedback with it! So yay!
This week I want to dive straight into it because this is actually an incredibly important concept and I’m excited to get the conversation going. So a couple a weeks ago, I attended a weekend course on ‘Life Coaching.’ Potentially the most misunderstood profession, I wanted to see what it actually all was about and get some coaching myself. Through the weekend as we did different exercises to help us gain clarity on our goals, I couldn’t help but wonder: who actually thinks about themselves deeply enough to get to the point of transformative understanding?
We all agree that knowledge is power, but I always wonder why that does not translate into ‘if I can know myself better, I can empower myself better’. The ANTI series (thanks RIRI for the inspiration) will focus on that one central (yet often unasked) question looking through different lenses: How can increasing our consciousness about our selves enhance our lives?
For the next couple of weeks please follow along on this journey of personal introspection and ask yourself the questions I will share. My hope and deepest desire for you is that you being to see your own patterns and pathologies and can make conscious choices to do things better.
So, First up, without further ado, let’s talk about the concept of looking internally versus externally when it comes to approaching our goals.
What actually drives us to do what we do?
I stumbled upon an amazing podcast by Tony Robbins where he explained the 6 humans needs, in other words, the 6 key motivations for ALL our actions. Interestingly they are: the need for certainty, the need for variety, the need for significance, the need for connection/love, the need for growth and the need for contribution. I could spend a week on each of these unpacking how they have motivated one action or another in my life but let me try to rein it in.
As always, I want to bring a practical slant on concepts that may seem too self-helpy or loopy. Knowing what basic needs you are trying to meet when you do something is an extremely powerful way to set goals and prioritise your life. Now it is important to note here that a NEED is just that. It is something you cannot live without, so one way or another; you will make sure you get what you need whether through positive, negative or neutral actions. What comes first is the NEED and then you ACT on it. It is not the other way around. This was an aha moment for me, because I began to reflect on so many goals of mine that have gone unrealised. Even though I really did want to achieve them, they did not meet my basic needs, or I had not made a conscious connection between the goal and a need therefore could never develop that initial excitement into a continuous sense of motivation to achieve. Basically i never got addicted to getting to that goal!
Let’s get specific.
Now if you are someone who has a need for certainty, you will always find a way to get it. The need is the same for all who share it, but the WAY you go about getting that feeling of certainty will differ. So for me, I get very passionate about things very quickly and I often take action within 2 minutes of making a decision. If I decide I am doing a course today, I sign up today. I like that feeling of being sure. Almost in the same way, big needs for me are connection and significance. It is therefore understandable that I can very easily motivate myself to write every two weeks for my website. It fulfils my need for connection, significance and certainty. I am always thinking about hat to share next and can extract inspiration form pretty much anything. Even if I am not in the mood, I can easily get myself to get writing, in other words because it fulfils my needs, it is effortless.
Imagine if you could connect your goals to your needs and get addicted to the right types of actions?
Understanding your driving needs means that you are now aware of the internal factors that determine your external reality. So If I can connect the execution of my goals to a feeling of certainty, connection and significance, I am on to a winning formula.
Someone who craves the feeling of certainty may get it from drinking a glass of wine every night around the same time, or by running everyday. You can choose a positive, negative or neutral way to live our your needs. The point is rather than focusing on the action, focus on the motivation. We live in such a busy world where most people have drastically de-prioritised self-awareness. I think this is a HUGE mistake. Think about it. Those people we talked about two weeks ago who you compare yourself to and you wonder why you just can’t get your business to where you want it to be like they have. The difference between you and them is not necessarily your ability to work as hard as them. It could be that you are trying to achieve a goal without the understanding of your own personal needs and motivations, whereas they have figured theirs out and can easily pursue them.
Another example: Someone whose top need is a need for connection and significance can channel their energy into positive things that brings them that feeling. Lets say this person is an job that means they work alone most of the time crunching numbers which may or may not matter to the employer, and they find that they develop a habit for spending an increased amount of time drinking in bars and speaking to strangers. Knowing that your basic need is one of connection, you’ll see that the motivation for your new habit is to fulfil that need. If you wanted to change this, you’ll find something else that could give you that feeling of connection without negative consequences. You could volunteer for a charity you believe in on the weekends for example, or decide to spend more time with friends and family intentionally.
The result of taking a few moments to think about what need you may be chasing after through your actions is self-care and a roadmap to a much more fulfilled life.
So guys, I’m sure you saw this question coming anyways but, What NEEDS are your top needs? Is it a need for variety? So you find yourself always looking for the next thing and feeling impatient? This does not mean you change jobs every 6 months, it just means you find a job that provides you with a variety of experiences. Can you see how knowing this can empower you to tweak your situation slightly to bring yourself more fulfilment?
I love it! So guys, let’s be a little ANTI and take the focus off the results for a second and do a little bit of soul searching about our inner motivations. What needs are driving your actions? Can you connect your goals to these for maximum impact?
Let get addicted to the right WAYS of meeting our needs!
SUPER keen to hear your thoughts on this!
Have a great week guys, and please listen to the podcast! As usual shoot me an email with thoughts and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next time, we focus on authenticity!