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What Do You Need?



Four simple yet powerful words. When we’re not in a good place - we’re feeling sad, angry, overwhelmed etc. - it’s the best thing we can ask ourselves. When we’re witnessing someone else in the same place - whether it be a family member, employee, student or friend - it’s the best thing we can ask them.


But here’s the tricky bit, we often don’t know how to answer that question. We don’t know what is missing for us, we just know something is!


That’s where the 9 universal human needs come in. The research of Chilean economist & behavioural scientist Manfred Max Neef’s culminated in the Human Scale Development Model. It takes Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs one step further (he just didn’t have as good of a marketing machine behind him) by looking at what human beings fundamentally need to thrive, both individually and collectively. In a nutshell, here is everything we need.


\ Freedom - having choice & being able to do what we want to do

\ Identity - self awareness & agency, valuing the self & being valued by others

\ Creativity - exploring, imagining, creating or making things

\ Leisure - respite, relaxation & enjoyment

\ Belonging - feeling a part of something or participating in things with others

\ Understanding - expanding our knowledge, growing & making sense of the world around us

\ Affection - intimacy and feeling loved by others

\ Safety - feeling taken care of & protected from harm

\ Subsistence - food, shelter, health etc.


Unlike Maslow’s model which is hierarchical, Manfred’s is not. While Subsistence and Safety are foundational, our 7 remaining needs are all on equal footing.


Next time you’re unsettled about something or witnessing the same in someone else, pull out the 9 needs, easily recalled as #FICLUBASS. When we can pinpoint was is missing or lacking for us we can much more easily take action, make a change that gets us to a better place.


Interested in knowing more about our 9 needs? Immerse yourself in Manfred’s publication.

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