Sunday, August 20, 2017

Do Your Needs Influence Your Behaviour...?

Self-Help and Self-Management


Musings of a Veteran


You see a man driving his car very fast  quite recklessly and dangerously.

You wonder why he is doing so  why is he behaving in this reckless way...?

Well  there can be many reasons for his behaviour.

1. Maybe – He is driving fast to experience a sense of thrill 

(to satisfy his need for excitement).

2. Or – He may be driving fast to save time 

(to satisfy his need for urgency)

3. Or maybe – he is driving fast to reach his destination on time 

(to satisfy his need for punctuality)

Thus  the same behaviour or action may have different motives – depending on the need you want to satisfy – at that point of time.

This is one simple example  but all your behaviour is governed by your intrinsic motivation to satisfy your needs.

Motivation is a psychological drive that arouses you to act in a certain way – to achieve your desired goal – which is – the satisfaction of your needs.

Thus  motivation is the psychological driving force that stimulates goal directed behaviour towards your desired goal.


Your desired goal is the “satisfaction of your need” 

For example  hunger is a motivation that elicits a desire to eat and satisfies your need for food  or  at a very basic level  your need for survival.


According to Professor Steven Reiss – there are 16 basic desires (16 psychological needs) that guide nearly all human behaviour.

Here is the list of 16 basic needs that influence your behaviour (in alphabetical order):

1. Acceptance  the need for approval

2. Curiosity  the need to learn

3. Eating  the need for food

4. Family  the need to raise children

5. Honour  the need to be loyal – to the traditional values of your country/clan/religion/ethnic group/profession/society

6. Idealism – the need for social justice

7. Independence  the need for individuality

8. Order  the need for organization – for organized, stable, predictable environments

9. Physical Activity  the need for exercise

10. Power  the need for influence of will

11. Romance  the need for sex – and for beauty

12. Saving  the need to collect

13. Social Contact  the need friends (peer relationships)

14. Social Status  the need for social significance (importance in society or at the workplace)

15. Tranquility  the need to be safe, secure and protected

16. Vengeance  the need to strike back  to retaliate  to take revenge – for perceived injustice – against persons/organisations who you feel have caused harm to you. 


Of course  as you will realise  this list is not all encompassing – and there are so many other needs that influence your behaviour.

Some of these “needs” are tangible  and some “needs” are intangible.

Why do you behave in the way you do...?

You behave in a certain way to satisfy your needs.


The process of human behaviour can be summarized in four steps:

1. A need is aroused within you

2. You behave in a way to satisfy the need

3. The need is satisfied

4. You relax 


Let me give you a very simple example. 

1. You feel Hungry (the need to Eat is aroused in you) 

2. You Eat Food (this may entail related behaviour like cooking/ordering/going to restaurant etc)

3. Your Hunger is Satiated (need is satisfied) 

4. You Relax

Well – this is a very simplistic example – but – you have a choice of responses to satisfy your hunger – you can choose either to cook, order or eat out – and you can also choose the type of food to eat. 

You may behave in different ways depending on the situation – and – of course – different people will behave in different ways to satisfy their hunger ( someone may even steal food).  

For other more intricate needs – the behaviour may be more complex too. 


You have seen how it is your needs – that influence your behaviour

The way in which you behave to satisfy your needs – it depends on your valuesattitude and mindset – at that point of time in your life.

Yes  it is your values and mindset which will influence you to behave in a “certain way” to satisfy your needs in a given situation.

Your behaviour is value-driven and situation-specific.

For example  the need for romance will be satisfied by different persons each in their own unique way – depending on their values and the situation.

Some may satisfy their need for romance by indulging in platonic love – whereas others may resort to physical sex. 

Nowadays – some lonely people find it easy to satisfy their need for romancevia online relationships.

It is best to try and satisfy your needs to the extent feasible – because – from the moment a need is aroused – till it is satisfied – you will be in a state of tension – which will “motivate” your behaviour.

Yes  during the period between “need arousal” and “need satisfaction” you will experience a sense of tension  a condition of unrest or uneasiness  which will propel you to behave in a certain way.

Once the need is satisfied – you will relax.

Needs can be immediate, short term or long term.

When you cannot satisfy a need – you will experience feelings of frustration.


The degree of your frustration will be related to the magnitude of the unsatisfied need.

Your frustration will affect your behaviour and may cause you to behave in different ways.

You may find a new and acceptable way of reducing or substituting the (unsatisfied) need – in order to make it attainable (adaptive response)

Or  you may continue futile efforts to achieve the unattainable need (maladaptive response)

One of the typical maladaptive responses to frustration is aggression

Another maladaptive response is to go into depression or indulge in negative activities like alcohol/drug abuse.

I have seen many individuals turn to alcohol when their need for success was frustrated.


Dear Reader: 

Reflect on your own behaviour in the past few days (or recall some of your own memorable behavioural disasters/fiascos or some curious behaviour you may have witnessed).

Explore the dynamics between your needs and your behaviour.

Is there a connection between your values and mindset – and way you behaved in certain situations...?

Your “needs” influence your behaviour 

Do you agree...?

Please comment and let us know.

Whenever you behave in a certain way  introspect and analyse: 

Which was the need that drove you to behave in that particular way...?

Do you want to change your behaviour...? 

Remember – the key to changing your behaviour is to work on changing your needs.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. These are my personal views. Please use your own due diligence because they may or may not work for you. 
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. All examples and tips are illustrative in nature. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

This a revised and updated version of my article first posted on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 by me, Vikram Karve, in my blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve (

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