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The Six Human Needs of Motivation Tags: writing motivation writers block inspiration


The paper sorting system!

Last May I began the search for a new career. Something that would allow me to wind down from the more than full time management work I’d done for so many years. I chose a job that would give me the same time off that students get and became a school health aide. 

I wanted the vacation and holiday time to get my body into shape, to write, and to sort the thirty-nine boxes of memorabilia I’ve been carrying around for more than twenty years.

Not small boxes, large bins really.  Full of photos, kid’s artwork, certificates and trophies, newspaper clippings, baby feet clay plates, sheet music and music books, cd’s, VHS’s, cassette tapes and, of course, short stories, novels and songs I’d written.

I left out my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother’s things because I want to get to the point of the story.

At the end of September I stopped. Motivation fled and for two weeks fifteen boxes of photos and papers stared at me from the corner of my bedroom.  My plan was to sort these into “story groups”, like the time we crash landed our plane and were written up in the Mexican newspaper, or when at sixteen I hitchhiked across Europe. But I’d lost my forward momentum and nothing could get me across the room for that last push.

Until my granddaughter came home from school and announced she’d joined a writing club that participated in NaNo WriMo each November. 

And there it was. My motivation to finish the sorting and write the book I’d planned to.  We would write together. She agreed, and at 6PM tonight (Sunday), I’ve finished the sorting. I have over forty short story candidates and all I need to do before November first is sign up.

But that’s not the reason I wrote the blog. I wrote this because I was astounded at how quickly I went from no motivation to fired up and raring to.  Astounded and curious. How did that happen?

I looked up motivation, but nothing resonated with me until I read Tony Robbins’ theory of the Six Human Needs of Motivation.  He says if you can pick your top two primary needs from the following list then it will become obvious how your decisions and behavior are influenced. 

To sum up what he teaches:

All humans have six basic needs that make us tick. Everyone is motivated; we’re just motivated by different needs.

All human behavior is motivated by meeting certain needs. This means we are always motivated to do what we do.

1. The need for certainty. The need for safety, stability, security, comfort, order, predictability, control and consistency.

2. The need for uncertainty. The need for variety, surprise, excitement, difference, chaos, adventure, change and novelty.

3. The need for significance.  The need to feel unique, important, special, worthy or needed. 

4. The need for love and connection. The need to feel connected with, and loved by other human beings.  To belong, to be seen, to be part of a community.

5. The need for growth. The need to challenge yourself and develop emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and physically.

6. The need for contribution. The need to give beyond ourselves, serve, protect and care for others. Create a legacy. Create something that surpasses your own needs and desires.

What are you driven by?  What are your two primary needs and how are they influencing your decisions and your behavior today?

Any guesses on what need motivated me to finish the sorting and preparation for National November Writing Month??


The resulting short story ideas


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