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Thoughts On Personal Development

Tony Robbins has this concept of your six human desires or needs overall. And if you can create an environment where you’re hitting all six of these needs on a daily, weekly, or ongoing basis then you’re going to be much happier and generally more successful.

After reading about the 6 human needs I wanted to devise a system that took action on each area. I’ll describe below.

The needs are:

  1. Certainty/Comfort. We all want comfort. Much of this comfort comes from certainty, or being able to know or predict what comes next. Of course there is no ABSOLUTE certainty, but we want certainty the car will start, the water will flow from the tap when we turn it on, and the currency we use will hold its value.
  2. Variety. Although we need certainty, at the same time we also crave variety. When things are unpredictable and new they generate excitement, anxiety, and wonder. Paradoxically, there needs to be enough Uncertainty to provide spice and adventure in our lives.
  3. Significance. Deep down we all want to be important. We want our life to have meaning and significance. To many, there is no worse death than to get to the end thinking life didn’t matter. Significance can come from intrinsic or extrinsic signals that you’re important, unique, different, and/or loved.
  4. Connection/Love. Love and connection with others is so much a part of significance that it is its own separate need. Humans are innately social creatures and require connection. It would be hard to argue against the need for love. We want to feel part of a community. We want to be cared for and cared about.
  5. Growth. Growth and forward progress is the human condition. That is what we do through advancements as a society and individually. Though there could be some people who say they don’t want to grow, I think they’re simply fearful of doing so — or perhaps NOT doing so. It is a basic need for all of us, even those who don’t know it or show it.
  6. Contribution. The desire to contribute something of value is another innate need. It is in our nature to help others, to make the world a better place than we found it, and to contribute. That is where the saying, “it is better to give than receive” found foothold in the first place. Our contribution helps us connect, feel significance, promote growth, and feel better overall.

*** My Experience ***

I broke down the six into a weighted system each day of exercises tied to the six activities. To do this I created a google sheet with each item at the top row mapped out and then every single day. Then at the end of the day I added notes and ratings in a quick google form sent to myself in a Google Calendar.

The good thing about the daily accountability here was it really made you think hard about the growth and contribution angles. Realised, most days pass you by without really contributing much to other people. This was super insightful and made you more thoughtful.

But, as with Wiseman’s journaling strategy, it got stagnant after three or four months. Or in the words of Robbins, it no longer had enough variety to meet my needs.

There was no real underlying habit towards real results at work. It depends on your intrinsic motivation but my overall goal here was to be “better” at work (you may have different versions of work) and it only really just focused on your mental well-being/ happiness side.

I do believe in the breakthrough around contribution and growth. For me, there needed to be more or it needed to wrap around some form of additional process.

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