All of us, as human beings, have basic needs that should be met in order to be satisfied with our lives. For instance, we all have the need for certainty, because without it we would live in a world of chaos. We also have the need for uncertainty, because if everything were certain our lives would be boring and dull.
We don’t have a lot of trouble finding and settling into most of our basic human needs. We for certain that we’ll like movie the second time if we liked it the first time. We’re also uncertain about the same movie because there are important points we may have missed. One of the basic needs that we struggle with the most is significance. Being significant is important to every human being on earth and we all have our different ways of showing others that we’re important. There is one way that sticks out above the rest, and before we get there, let’s see why significance is so important to us in the first place.
According to Tony Robbins, there are 6 basic human needs that we all have. Each one is unique and each one is important to each individual in varying degrees. The 6 basic needs that we have are:
Each of us decides how important each of these needs are and how they fit into our lives. Significance is one need that, on average, is at the top of most people’s list. And although significance is something that we crave as humans, it’s also dangerous to have as one of the most important needs that you crave.
Significance can be important to a person because of many different factors. Maybe, as a child, you always had to prove yourself to your parents and that has followed into adulthood. Or maybe, as a high school athlete, you had to be the best to show others that you were important and that need shows up in your career. The need for significance can rise within us in many different ways. And once it is one of the needs we crave the most, there are a lot of avenues that we can pursue to help us achieve significance.
For most of us (if not all) the craving for significance started off at an early age and grew with us through adulthood. When we were young, we figured out what worked to help us get attention. A temper-tantrum, for instance, is a great way for a child to grab attention almost immediately. Being great at sports or great at school is another way to show others that you are important. And these characteristics stay with us for life if we let them continue to manifest. They simply show up in different ways as adults.
A couple of ways that we show others that we’re important are:
Money is a great thing to have and can POTENTIALLY make your life better. Money gets a bad rap because, if society sees that you are making lots of money (and they’re not), you might be seen as greedy. But money does have its evil side if we let it lead our path in life. If money is something that we need to show others we are important, it can lead to a long cascade of unwanted effects.
Throwing a temper-tantrum is something that we label as childish. We you take a toy away from your child and throw start kicking and screaming, you expect them to stop and be a gown up. How is that any different than getting upset and bantering on about someone’s driving? Or getting angry because things aren’t going your way?
We all have needs and wants when it comes to material possessions. And although we’d like to think that our needs list is pretty long, it’s actually much shorter than you think. What you NEED is food, water and shelter (materially at least). Everything else is an added bonus. Having nice things is NOT a bad thing. Where you place them on your value chain of importance is where you can get hurt.
Now that we know why we need significance and a couple of ways of how we show others our importance, I want to give you the one thing that you can do to create the ultimate level significance. It doesn’t require money (unless you want it to), but it doesn’t require effort.
I said earlier that having significance as one of the basic human needs that you crave the most can be dangerous. And this is true. Any time you crave any of the basic human needs too much, it can lead to heartache (yes, you can crave love too much). But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be as significant as you want to be. It’s how you go about it that can get you to truly significant in other’s eyes.
The ultimate way, therefore, to become significant in other people’s eyes is to show them how significant they are in yours.
Yes, it’s that simple. Show others that they are significant and your importance will increase exponentially. There is one caveat to this point. You have to show them in a genuine, meaningful, altruistic way.
There are many ways to go about helping others achieve significance. Here are 3 that have been the most successful for most people:
Tony Robbins likes to say “the secret to living is giving”. Nothing embraces this idea much more than volunteering your time to help others or donating your money to those in need. Start by going to your local soup chicken and help serve dinner. Or go down to Goodwill and help sort through donations. Or simply start by picking out everything in your house that you haven’t use in the past 12 months and donating it yourself. There are many avenues to pursue here. Don’t make excuses!
When you look back at your childhood and think of the people who shaped who you are the most, who do you think of? Outside of your parents, it’s most likely a teacher or coach. This doesn’t mean that you have to actually become a teacher or sports coach to make others significant. Volunteer your time to go to a local school and talk to a group of students about your lessons in life. Or go to your local library and read books to children. Find and avenue that you can take to educate others and help them become important!
This may in fact be the hardest one for most of us to achieve. With the fully connected world we live in today, our attention spans are growing shorter and shorter by the minute (or most likely, by the second). Being present doesn’t mean simply being in a room or on the phone or writing a letter. Being present means giving your FULL attention. It means taking in the moment and being a part of the conversation. It means being thoughtful and mindful of others words. If you want to truly show someone that they are significant, practice the art of listening.
It’s okay to want to be significant in other people’s eyes. Figure out how you can help others see that they are significant and lead them forward towards that place. This is the ultimate way to achieve importance. Remember, the ultimate way to become significant to others is to show them how significant they are to you.