Why we do what we do Parts 5 and 6 of 6 – Growth and Contribution

Growth Contribution White Cat CoachingFor long time readers of this blog, I’m sure you are wondering where parts 5 and 6 of the six part series of the Six Core Needs are! Who starts a 6 part series and only goes to 4? Or was it that long ago you had forgotten? Don’t worry, I hadn’t (ahem)… Let’s talk about the last two core needs – Growth and Contribution.

A few months ago, I started talking about the six core needs – or why we do what we do. There is a great Tony Robbins TED Talk on it that you can find here. In summary, we all have six core needs, or “hidden drivers” behind what we do.

The first four are known as the needs of the ego:

The next two are what are known as needs of the spirit – Growth and Contribution. Without these needs, we can’t fulfill our need for happiness. These are slightly different from the first four needs as we ALL have the first four needs at some level. We don’t all have the Growth and Contribution as drivers. Also, the first four needs have resourceful and unresourceful ways of achieving them. With Growth and Contribution, there are NO unresourceful ways of achieving them. I chose to talk about them together as they complement each other so well.

Growth – our need for constant development

Now, not everyone has this need. And this makes me sad as I love, love, love learning. But not everyone does. When we talk about Growth, we talk about it not just intellectually (i.e. learning new cool things) but emotionally and spiritually. The great thing about growth, is that when we grow, we feel good about ourselves, which leads to higher self-confidence, and ultimately more certainty. It puzzles me that some people chase certainty as a first priority, not realising that growing yourself, challenging yourself, learning more, getting in touch with spirit, will lead to certainty. In a much better way! So, next time you are not feeling certain, instead of chasing it through unresourceful methods, learn something new or grow yourself spiritually or emotionally and notice how much more certain you feel about yourself.

Contribution – giving beyond ourselves

Contribution is another shortcut to happiness. Giving to others beyond ourselves, is a surefire way of making your own problems seem negligible! If you have ever traveled to a third world country and had the opportunity to donate your time or money, it feels good. Again, it’s sad to see people seek significance “in all the wrong places” by making others feel bad about themselves. The super-fast way to feel significant (in a completely resourceful way) is through making others feel good and contributing to their lives by putting them first, not you.

When I first learned these needs, I told myself that once I understood my needs for certainty, variety, significance and connection and had the “right balance”, I would be able to focus on growth and contribution. I had it upside down.

The “Correct Order” of things…

Focus on being driven by growth and contribution FIRST AND FOREMOST. And I guarantee that your life will be abundant in as much certainty, variety, significance and connection as you want.

How can you think about something differently by prioritising growth and contribution over certainty or significance? What difference could it make to the quality of your life? Give it a go and share using one of your favourite buttons!


  1. […] my last post, I talked about the needs of the spirit – Growth and Contribution. My realisation in the process of writing was that the six core needs are the wrong way around. The […]