The Six Things We All Need

Why are you addicted? The six human needs answer that question, I’ve been fascinated by them since I watched this video:

How To Make A Behaviour Addictive – Ted Talk

Ok, I know what’s going through your brain: it’s a LINK. And you can’t really be bothered to click the link, can you? I mean why bother? You’re going to have to leave this page, and you just got on it. You’ll have to sit through the whole video and then come back and read this post. And you’re only reading this because the title was slightly intriguing and you’ve been scrolling through WordPress to find something mildly entertaining to read… Or you’re been checking out your notifications and you clicked to ‘thisizapen’ from there. Well, good news!! You don’t have to click the link to the video. You can just carry on reading.

So what are the six human needs?

I feel like I should keep you suspended for a while but I can’t wait to tell you. Here they are:

  1. Certainty
  2. Variety
  3. Significance
  4. Connection
  5. Growth
  6. Contribution

And, believe it or not, they’re what make addictive behaviours addictive. Now, think of something you’re hooked on… I know you don’t want to admit to being addicted to something, but just think for a second… Your computer? Facebook? Twitter? Drinking coffee? Computer games? The internet? Games? Music?

Can you see how the above needs are fulfilled by that behaviour? It might be hard at first to figure out how….

Let me show you Twitter as an example, because that’s something (Embarrassingly) I find habit-forming. Here are the six human needs again, this time showing how they apply to twitter:

  • Certainty – You know it’s always there and you can log on any time, and it’s pretty reliable. The interface isn’t changed too often so once you know how to navigate, you’re done.
  • Variety – Interestingly, you need an equal balance between certainty and variety. Twitter provides variety by having different features and settings.
  • Significance – Yes, it makes you feel significant; people follow you, they Retweet your Tweets, and favourite them… And reply to them (If you want you can make me feel significant by following my twitter 😀 DO click this link even if you can’t be bothered)
  • Connection – that sort of overlaps with significance, which I’ve just covered. The site also provides Direct Messages where you can chat with other users
  • Growth – On Twitter you are constantly being surrounded by information (Both the useless and the irrelevant); if you follow the right people, you can put this to your advantage and expand your knowledge.
  • Contribution – This is the whole point of the site. You tweet. You share. You contribute.

And that’s why some people find Twitter addictive.

You can see for yourself the reason why we evolved The Six Human Needs: our ancestors needed to contribute to their society (Duh!); they needed to warn each other about poisonous food and dangerous animals; explain how to be safe and use resources well and give each other food when supplies were low. Others would return the favour when it was necessary. And they needed connection to each other to make that possible. Those are only two of the six. I leave you to think about the other four.


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