My favorite author identified 4 human needs fundamental for each of us in order to live a life of fulfillment. These include to "live, love, learn, and leave a legacy."
- The need to "live" is our physical need for health, wellness, and economic security. It comprises our physiological and safety needs.
- The need to "love" is our social need to relate with others, belong as part of a community, as well as love & be loved on a personal level.
- The need to "learn" is our mental need for development and growth. It goes beyond education and stretches into our need and ability to develop emotional intelligence, analytical thought patterns, communication skills, and empathetic abilities.
- The need to "leave a legacy" is our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning, connection with a greater cause, purpose, contribution, and congruence with our mission.
Each of these needs are equally vital - and left unmet, can become a drain on life that devours your attention and energy. If that happens, our culture trains us to focus our attention on the area we lack - meanwhile we ignore the other dimensions. We see this as either/or - "either I can focus my attention on my mental capacities, or I can develop my spiritual connection."
Imagine trying to fulfill your social need with a loved one while ignoring your physical needs. An easy, yet funny, example of this is trying to have a constructive talk with your partner when both of you are hungry because you skipped lunch. Tensions raise and your communication quickly becomes counter-productive - all because you ignored your physical needs - and became 'hangry'.
Finding synergy among these needs gives life meaning, flavor, and excitement. If you see the inter-related nature of these needs, you will have the insight to see the key to meeting any of them is addressing, not ignoring, the others. Finding fulfillment through integration and synergy releases passion, vision, empathy, and the spirit of adventure.
Our resources, lessons, relationships, and contributions become tools to use on our mission to reach the unmet needs of others.