A few weeks ago, my dad texted me out of the blue about a personality test he had recently taken, called the “Human Needs Test.” And before you think not another one of those personality tests (or maybe that’s just me? 😉 ), let me tell you something: I’ve never in my life taken a test that pinpointed me so accurately as this one did.
It might just be me, or just my results – but I was literally astounded when I finished the test and read my results. And this isn’t one of those super well known tests, either, like the Myers-Briggs (INFJ here!) or the Enneagram (type 3 here!), which was another reason why I was cynical. And yet, I would venture to say that I learned more about myself from the Human Needs Test than from both of those tests combined, possibly because it pinpointed an inner conflict of mine that I haven’t been able to nail down before!
This test takes you through a series of 84 quick questions, designed to pinpoint your top two human needs (the needs that drive your decision making, or as their website says, the “needs that form the basis of every decision we make in life”) out of six: certainty, variety, significance, love & connection, growth, and contribution. Below is a quick explanation (directly from their website) that outlines each need:
HUMAN NEEDS CATEGORIES
· Certainty – the need for safety, stability, security, comfort, order, predictability, control and consistency
· Variety – the need for surprise, challenges, excitement, chaos, adventure and change
· Significance – the need to have meaning, be special, take pride, be needed & wanted, have a sense of importance and worthy of love
· Love & connection – the need for communication, to be unified, feel connected, intimate and loved by others
· Growth – the need for constant emotional, intellectual and spiritual development
· Contribution – the need to give beyond ourselves and to care, protect and serve others
With over 620 potential pairings from these six needs, you’re bound to get a pretty accurate “needs” profile! And mine was exactly that.
Out of the 620 possible combinations, my test results showed that my top two human needs that drive my decision making are: certainty and growth, with contribution coming in as a close third. Knowing myself and having taken lots of these personality tests before, this wasn’t too surprising to me… I didn’t necessarily again anything “new” from simply knowing my two top needs. But it’s the results of this combination that blew me away and helped me learn so much about myself! Here’s a small excerpt of my results:
“Because your top need is for certainty and your second need is for growth, your inner conflict is that you want to feel comfortable, safe and secure. You need a predictable environment and you don’t want to take risks. Yet to grow, you need to put yourself out there, take risks, extend the limits of your comfort and stretch yourself. To satisfy your need for certainty, you prefer to avoid new people and new situations. To satisfy your need for growth you need to become involved with new people and new situations. This inner conflict preoccupies you and makes it difficult for people to help you to satisfy your needs, since they don’t know whether certainty or growth are more important to you. One way you can resolve this dilemma is that you can always be certain that you can grow, because there are always new things to learn and new skills to be developed and the way to resolve your conflict is to satisfy your need for certainty by always growing. You might have difficulties at work if you don’t feel that you are growing and, at the same time, that you are in a comfortable, organized, predictable environment.”
“Since your top need is for certainty, you need to feel secure, safe and comfortable and you need to make sure that you will be secure, safe and comfortable in the future. Avoiding pain is very important to you as well. You can't be happy when you are uncertain about things.”
My first and third result (growth & contribution) explain exactly why I love writing blog posts like this (even though they might seem a bit random and out of place!).
But that last part above is really what got me: “You can’t be happy when you are uncertain about things.” I don’t think this necessarily means that I will never be happy when I’m feeling uncertain, but it’s just a lot harder for me to be happy when I’m uncertain about something. And that can be a problem, since life is literally FILLED with uncertainty.
To be honest, that part of my results kind of bothers me. I’ve always wondered why I tend to envy people who are willing to take risks without having 100% certainty… and now I realize that it’s because I value certainty above almost everything else.
TAKING A CLOSER LOOK
What I think is the MOST interesting part about this test is how it applies to different areas of my life, like my marriage, friendships, and business.
Marriage? Easy! I’m certain about that, Nick and I are in it for the long haul – both of us. I don’t tend to worry as much when it comes to my marriage, since it’s something routine and stable.
Friendships? Maybe a bit trickier, since there’s nothing saying that someone has to stay your friend. They can get up and leave at any time they want! No wonder I’ve struggled with friendships – I tend to put people at an arm’s length if I feel like something is wrong in the relationship, because it feels uncertain and unstable.
Business? Possibly the trickiest out of the three. Maybe because I’m a small business owner who doesn’t necessarily know what jobs I’ll have in two months, six months, or two years. There’s a lot of uncertainty when it comes to bookings, and when it comes to things like locations and the types of clients I book, as well as the conditions I’ll be taking photos in. Will it rain? Will it snow? Will there be a huge wind storm?! (This might be especially true since I live in Pittsburgh - haha!)
DOES THIS DEFINE ME?
You know what I REALLY find interesting, though? The fact that, even though we have these basic human needs that drive our decisions, that doesn’t mean we are controlled by them. It’s easy to take a test like this and put myself in a box of what I can and can’t do based on my results. If taken in an unhealthy way, these “needs” can quickly become excuses.
From personal experience, I think it’s easy to compare something like this to the extrovert/introvert concept. Let me explain: I used to think things like, “because I’m an introvert, I can never/will never/could never ___________ (fill in the blank with every excuse an introvert could use).” I will never run a business. I could never direct a group of people (hello tipsy bridal parties!). I could never start a random conversation with a stranger. Interesting, though, how I am currently doing all of those things and more, even though I’m an introvert.
So what’s the final thought, after all of that rambling? If you decide to take this test – great! I hope you do, and I hope you find it helpful and that it teaches you a little something about yourself. But I hope you don’t use any part of your results as an excuse for whether you should or shouldn’t do something. Because when we start making excuses and saying things like “it’s just the way I am!” We lose in so many ways. We lose in our marriage, in our friendships, in our business, and ultimately in our lives.
If you decide to take this test, I’d love to hear your results, and if you think they’re true to who you are!
Thanks for reading, friends!