Your driving force in life – why do you do the things you do as a teenager

Teenage boy with superhero shadow

Your driving force in life – why do you do the things you do as a teenager

Believe it or not you have six essentials needs to live and die by. Everybody has them. Everybody needs them. The first four are critical in order to function in life and the final two will allow you to become truly fulfilled in life, but more on that later.


Where did this concept originate?

Several years ago, an American guy called Tony Robbins came up with a concept that everyone, including you, has six basic human needs.

Tony is a brilliant life coach, business strategist and philanthropist (someone who campaigns for the welfare of others). Following years of research and encountering thousands of people, Tony noticed that, despite people’s differences, such as …

  • Country of birth and residence
  • Culture, beliefs and values
  • Language spoken
  • Gender identity
  • Career path
  • Family status

… everyone has the same needs.

Understanding these needs will help you to identify with what makes you, and those around you, tick. If your needs are met positively and in balance then you’re on to a sure thing in life.

But, pay attention! Your behaviours are based on how you meet the six needs. If you fulfil your needs in a negative way then you will run the risk of developing poor behaviours that could damage your physical and mental wellbeing. They will also impact those around you.


“Having needs is not evidence of weakness – it is human.” Danielle Bernock


Why do you do the things you do and what really drives you?

As I explain each need, question what they mean to you and how they make you feel. Are there situations or people that you visualise as your mind tries to make sense of the description?


Certainty gives you a sense of safety, peace of mind, and a feeling of being in control of your world both inside and out. Certainty is all about knowing what to expect today, tomorrow, next week, and what’s coming up in your future life.

Definition: “Assurance that you can avoid pain and gain pleasure.”


Think back to the last time you felt completely certain about what the outcome of a situation would be.

  • Where were you going?
  • Who were you meeting?
  • What were you about to do?
  • Why were you certain of what the outcome would be?
  • How did this make you feel?


Can you compare the differences between this situation and a different situation from where you felt completely out of control?

Now think about this from a different point of view … how often do you repeat the exact same process or action? How many times do you always know what to expect? For some people this creates a comfort zone and takes away the fear of the unknown.

But imagine this … every single day you would climb out of bed at the same time. You go through the same get up and get ready routine. You wear similar clothes every day, eat the same breakfast, take the same journey to school, sit in exactly the same lesson, have the same conversations with the same people, eat an identical lunch and play the same sport in the afternoon.

Then … you take the same journey home in the same vehicle, have exactly the same conversations when you return, eat an identical dinner, watch the same TV programme, read the same book … anybody bored yet?

Life would be pretty dreary if you were certain of everything!

With that in mind, you also have a need for VARIETY.


Anxious teenager looking at mobile phone


Need 2: UNCERTAINTY (variety)

Excitement and uncertainty in life is a good thing and looking forward to something new brings a sense of anticipation. How do you feel about surprises or new positive challenges? They should feel good.

Definition: “The need for the unknown, change, an excited sense of anticipation”


When was the last time you really looked forward to an event, a trip or receiving good news but you weren’t quite certain of the outcome?
  • What was about to take place?
  • Why were you positive about it?
  • Who was involved?

Variety is great because you have to have change in life to feel excited, challenged and fulfilled. Variation in food, subjects at school, hairstyles, fashion and adventures are all positives.

However, if all things were uncertain you’d freak out, feel anxious, and get stressed. You’d want to either bulldoze your way out of a situation or lock yourself up in darkened room to remove the uncertainty.

Picture this, you’re not feeling well so you visit the local surgery and during your appointment the doctor says ‘hmmm I don’t think it’s anything to worry about, but I’ll send you to the hospital for some tests just in case’. After you’ve attended the hospital, had the tests and returned home, it’s a waiting game until you receive the results.

What happens while you wait? Usually, that little voice inside starts overthinking.
  • I wonder what’s wrong with me?
  • The doctor said it’s probably nothing, but he did send me for tests so that means it could be something.
  • I hope it’s not too serious.
  • I hope I don’t have to take medication.
  • I hope I don’t have to take a lot of medication.
  • If it has some of those awful side effects I might feel worse than I felt before.
  • Oh my gosh, I hope I don’t have to have an operation.
  • What if it’s a big operation?
  • I’ll have to have time off school.
  • I can’t have time off school, how will I pass my exams?
  • What if it’s worse and it’s terminal?
  • Am I going to die?
  • I need the results and then at least I know how to deal with it.


Phew, that all sounds very stressful! You made a mountain out of molehill by jumping to all sorts of conclusions when you have zero facts to deal with. When this overthinking and anxiety starts to set in you need to get a sense of control back in your life.

Back on Track Teens Think Icon in GreenCan you think of a time or situation when there were so many variables in what was happening or about to happen, and you had so many unanswered questions, that the situation had a negative impact on you? Was the uncertainty was so high that you were worried or frightened?

Briefly make a note of the situation and the questions you had.


“Within the nature of every person is a desire to feel appreciated, to feel needed, and to be loved.” Ellen J. Barrier


Choose the life you want to lead

Ultimately you need both certainty and uncertainty in your life, but they have to be in a balance that works for you. We’ll discuss the next four essential human needs in the following two blogs but hopefully, you are starting to see the logic in this concept and understanding why do you do the things you do as a teenager.
Please share your thoughts on our social media channels and get involved with the community.

If you feel as though you need some personal 1-2-1 support with any difficult situations then please drop me a private email.

Until next time, pay attention to your behaviours and keep a record of how you feel you are meeting your needs with those behaviours.

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