Understanding Human Needs and Fulfilling These Needs

Having a basic understanding of what you and others need can be very useful in many situations. Even more so if you know how to fulfill these needs effectively.

Understanding what you and others need has been investigated and written about by many people already.

In this guide I will link to many great articles that have an in-depth explaination about the theories of human needs and also how to fulfill these needs.

Understanding Human Needs

There exists a matrix of needs that have been categorized in being, having, doing and interacting. This matrix is developed by Manfred Max-Neef. Wikipedia covers an in-depth article about this matrix.

One model and theory that is quite famous is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which is a motivational theory in psychology that argues that there are several levels of needs. The higher you get the less people are with you trying to fulfill that specific need.

The percentages at the right of the model is the percentage of people fulfilling that particular need, derived from Maslow’s estimate. The idea is that human actions are directed toward goal attainment and that we do certain things because we want fulfill certain needs.

One other theory of human needs that I found was originally opted by Tony Robbins saying that there are just 6 human needs.

When looking at the theories and models it becomes clear that there are needs that overlap one another. Now that we have a general idea of what the needs of humans are the question becomes how do you fulfill them in yourself and others?

Physiological Needs

Simply said these are things we require to stay alive.

We need to eat, drink, sleep, stay warm, breathe and move. Sounds simple enough right…?


Taking myself as an example there are times when I am not sleeping as well as normal or that I eat foods that I really shouldn’t.

There is already many information on how to do these activities right.

For eating check out the starch solution or this advanced guide on how to eat right.

Always wanted to be a master sleeper? Well then use these hacks to be able to sleep as soon as you hit the pillow!

Being the right temperature is nice and pleasant as well wouldn’t you agree?

Breathing properly is not an easy thing to do either. It turns out when you breath the right way you get smarter, stronger and more energetic.

Now about the need to move our bodies. Humans require a certain amount of movement every day to stay healthy. It turns out movement even makes you smarter!

Safety Needs

As the name says it. We want safety and certainty of sustainability.

That is why we sometimes stay at jobs we dislike, we stay in relationships that are not good for us.

With money, we can buy all the things that we need to survive. To get money we can work or invest money that we have (to get more).

Important activities for safety are working, planning and co-operating.

The articles below will help you to be a little safer:

Social Needs

Back in our hunter & gatherer lives we were depended of one another to survive the wilds. We would watch each other’s backs for instance if someone had to go to “the bathroom”.

There has been quite some research confirming we need to be around other people to stay healthy. They studied the people who we’re living alone for a long time versus those who we’re living together.

Studies showed that people who are more alone have a weaker immune system, are more susceptible to heart disease, are less likely to take good care of themselves and are likely to be depressed.

So in order to stay healthy we need to get social and make some friends which for some people sounds really easy but for others quite daunting. Whatever the case, just know that being social plays a strong role in your well-being.


Esteem is the need for success, status and independence. We want to prove to ourselves and others that we are awesome and we also don’t want to feel like we absolutely need people.

Now that might seem contradicting with social needs. But you can have a sense of independence and still be social at the same time.

Success (most often) doesn’t happen by accident and therefore we must know what we are after. The more clear you are on what you want the clearer it becomes how to get there.

Cognitive Needs

Have you ever really wanted to understand something?

Congratulations! According to the model you were satisfying all of your coping needs and moved on to your happiness needs in that moment in time.

Now an interesting skill to satisfy this need more effectively is to learn how to learn itself. Other than that, what you are curious about depends entirely up to you and the internet is a good medium to satisfy your cognitive needs.

Aesthetic Needs

According to the theory, we have a need for beauty. Enjoying nature is an example of this. But it could also be creating something beautiful. That can be anything, a product, a business, a house, a garden etc. It can also be going on a vacation to explore beautiful places of the world.

There are many beautiful things in the world for you and me to see.

Check out these articles:

Self-Actualization Needs

The need to realize personal potential, seeking growth and peak experiences.

For growth, goal setting is an important skill to master but even more important is reinforcing your goals continuously. That means keeping your vision and goals visible, write them down on a regular basis and read them. You could also visualize yourself already having achieved your goal.

Now of course there are a lot of goals but here are some top articles on helping you to achieve certain goals.

As for peak experiences, the world has a lot to offer. Checkout this post about amazing experiences.

Transcendence Needs

Helping others to achieve self-actualization and being part of something larger then yourself. This could be a purpose of some sort.

This is the highest need of the expanded hierarchy of Maslow and according to the theory we can only move on to transcendence once we are fulfilling all other needs.

To help others fulfilling their potential you must know how to influence them.

Discussion & Conclusion

And that was the final need of the pyramid. To fulfill them all simultaneously is quite a challenge and it is what keeps us busy in our lives.

There are certain factors that I still have questions about myself. Like the degree of fulfillment is not discussed in the theory nor is the word fulfilled.

How fulfilled are you, how do you measure it. When do you move on to the next level? What I also wonder if it’s truly a hierarchy because when I think about it sometimes I have several needs at once which are in different levels of the pyramid. Like wanting to be more social and seeking knowledge and understanding.

What I think we can all agree on is that the needs in the pyramid are recognizable by many and that the need to satisfy them is there.

So, that is why I have decided to focus more on how to fulfill the needs instead of explaining the theory.

What we want and need in our lives depends on what you have.

We strive to move on to higher needs when we have fulfilled another.

Share your story

I am very interested to know what need or needs you are currently most focused on and how you are working to fulfill them. Let me know in the comment section below!

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