Despair can be created when you sit on the sidelines and watch life go by.  This despair is grown from a lack of motivation.  The study of human psychology teaches us that all human motivation can be as a desire to meet one or more of our six primary human needs.  If one or more of these primary human needs are removed from your life then despair will naturally fill it’s spot.

 The six primary human needs are:

  1. Certainty
  2. Variety
  3. Significance
  4. Connection & Love
  5. Growth
  6. Contribution

Today’s blog is on variety with a focus on variety in emotions.    

Variety is the need for stimulus and change.  Our human nervous system needs variety to survive.  Without variety the nervous system will slowly deteriorate, become numb, rot and die.  

The variety that we require comes in many forms.  Variety in relationships.  In experiences, challenges and knowledge.  Where you work or play also requires variety.  Without new challenges in your workplace your job will lack the stimulus required for you to survive in some way.

One of the powerful parts of our human make-up, or our nervous system, is our emotions.  Our emotional state is healthy only when we have variety within it.  We need to be sad to appreciate happiness.  We need to be happy to understand what sadness is.  Sometimes we need to get angry to achieve certainty.  Other times we need to be alone to value connection and love.  

These are basic emotions that we all need to experience.  Sometimes we experience them at a high pace like a pendulum swinging back and forth and back and forth.  One minute we are sad, then frustrated, then depressed then angry, then lonely then in love, not understood then pissed off.  And so on and so on.  Of course to much of a good thing, no matter what it is, is not always a good thing.  Some stability in our emotions is required – balance is the goal.

When asked the question – ‘What sort of continuous emotional state is of the most concern?’ – the majority of people will respond that a state of sadness or depression is the most serious.  Sadness or depression can become a severe problem when there is no variety in the emotion that will lead to happiness.  We see this often when someone looses a close loved one.  Nothing can be more devastating than the death of someone you love.  After all one of the basic human needs is that of love and death physically ends that love.  The spiritual, physical and emotional love that you receive from that person ends in that moment and it’s permanent.  Not being loved though does not have to end at that moment.

Another emotional state that is also of concern is one where the person continuous state of joy or happiness.  Expression of continuous joy and happiness without variety is almost non-human.  It does not reflect the true need of variety in our lives.  How one chooses to express themselves is of course their choice.  One of the happiest people of our age was Robin Williams, at least that is what we all thought.  That’s what he wanted us to believe.  

Sincerity in the personal expression of your own emotions is being true to yourself.  The one person of most importance to you should be you.  Sincerity of this nature will provide you with certainty.  Honesty to yourself regarding your own emotions will also allow others to bond with you in a significant way, in a sincere way, in a lasting way.  This sincerity will most likely lead to another of the basic human needs and that is connection and love.  Love for most people is the most important basic human need.  Love is needed from the time we are in the womb to the time we are in the tomb.  All progress begins with honesty.  Honesty of your emotions and the variety that needs to exist within them is a basic human need.  A basic human need that connects to all other needs.

So the next time you are at the edge of a mountain.  Sitting on your butt in the cold snow.  With a snowboard strapped to your feet.  Don’t lie to yourself that you are not concerned at all with what is over the edge of that cliff – that’s just plain stupid!  Stupidity gets us in trouble.  True expression of your emotions will keep you whole.  Tell yourself the truth and express the emotions that are attached to that truth.  

Don’t let fear keep you on the sidelines.  Approach whatever your fear is with honesty and a commitment to overcome it. Then slowly get off your butt, engage the capabilities that you possess and hang on tight for one hell of a ride!              


Whenever the pressure kicks in, I’ve been able to perform. That’s an athlete’s dream. It all makes me want to try harder and do better!

— Mark McMorris – World Champion Snowboarder



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