The Six Human Needs

In his course Unleash the Power Within, Tony Robbins outlines his notion of ‘The Six Certainties’ or ‘The Six Human Needs’. I cannot recommend this course highly enough and suggest you look up his next event.

Tony highlights the fact there are six aspects of our life that need to be addressed for us to feel happy and rewarded. We will all have needs that are more important to us than others, but we all must have a balance of these six needs to be happy.

The Six Human Needs are as follows:


We all want comfort. And much of this comfort comes from certainty. 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.


At the same time we want certainty, we also crave variety. Paradoxically, there needs to be enough uncertainty to provide spice and adventure in our lives.


Deep down, we all want to be important. We want our life to have meaning and significance. I can imagine no worse a death than to think my life didn’t matter.


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.
Once you have the first Four Human Needs covered, you can further improve the way you feel with the final two, which are:


There could be some people who say they don’t want to grow, but I think they’re simply fearful of doing so—or perhaps NOT doing so. To become better, to improve our skills, to stretch and excel may be more evident in some than others, but it’s there.


The desire to contribute something of value—to help others, to make the world a better place than we found it is in all of us.


Let’s look at each of these in turn as they apply to retirement.


Certainty is an obvious aspect of a happy retirement. You need to be certain that you will have enough money for the rest of your life. You need to have certainty you will be able to pay for what’s important to you, when you need to. You need certainty that you are taking the right course of action with your money and that those that you love will benefit from any that is left over.

But certainty is not just limited to your money. If you wake up every day not knowing what you will do, over time you will experience stress. You need some certainty in your life balance too, as well as in your health. You want certainty that you are going to be fit and healthy in the years ahead and can still do the activities that you love. As a result, it is useful to start to build a routine so that you have the certainty of knowing what comes next. We will look at how you can do this in different areas of your life.

Variety Or Uncertainty

In the same way that you need certainty, you also need some variety in your life. If you have every day planned out, and nothing ever happens out of the ordinary, life starts to become predictable and boring. You need to build some variety into your retirement; otherwise, life will become mundane. Just as you need to build a routine in certain areas of your life, you must build variety into those areas, to keep life interesting.


This comes back to ‘Your Purpose’. Without a purpose, you don’t have significance. If you have a project or a passion that you find rewarding, life is worth living and feel rewarded and happy in retirement. Significance can come as a result of achieving, succeeding or winning, or giving back to others. Everyone has an underlying fear that in retirement they will lose their significance, particularly those who have been in authority during their working lives. Be aware of this tendency so you can counteract it!


So much about retirement is about relationships. Whether it’s with your family, your friends or your community, the key to a happy retirement is connection and love. If you have this in abundance, there is a fair chance you love and relish retirement. Plan your life accordingly.

As we said, if your basic Four Human Needs are covered, to really enjoy life you will also need the next two.


As the saying goes, if you are not growing, then you are dying. If you are not continuing to improve yourself, physically or mentally, you are actually moving backwards. If the first four needs are met to your own specific requirements, then by learning and developing yourself, you can truly feel fulfilled.

So many people reach their retirement and choose to stop learning. These individuals rarely excel in their new life. So important is it to continue to learn in retirement, there are a number of organisations whose sole purpose is to help people in this area. Not learning for a job or a promotion, but learning to improve themselves and the reward that gives.


How much you contribute to your family, community or another worthwhile group will certainly influence how happy you are in your new life. Whether you help your local church, raise money for a needy charity or support your loved ones, contribution is a key factor in a happy and fulfilled retirement. Giving back is far more rewarding than receiving, and retirement is your opportunity to do so. Contributions don’t just have to be money; you can also contribute your most valuable resource, your time.

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