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“The four human needs are to live, to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy.” Stephen R Covey

Contrary to all ex-servicemen and ex-police officers basic instincts I volunteered again this week, to serve an association to which I am, er, associated. Why, I don’t hear you ask.

Humans have four needs, as proposed by Stephen Covey. (Tony Robbins identified 6 but they’re encompassed by Covey’s 4.) When all 4 needs are met, you hit a sweet spot, as illustrated.


As shown above, the needs are:

  • to live (physical, survival, economic needs),
  • to love (social-emotional, connection needs),
  • to learn (mental, growth needs), and
  • to leave a legacy (meaning need).

Let’s focus on that last one for a moment.

The Third Resolution states “To overcome the restraining forces of unbridled aspiration and ambition, I resolve to dedicate my talents and resources to noble purposes and to provide service to others.”

This isn’t a call to action by someone seeking your blind obedience. If you to choose to accept it, it is your personal declaration of, and commitment to act upon your own conscience-driven acceptance that in order to have some meaning in your life, you have to (and must want to) provide service to others.

It is a spiritual need, a need to not just be good, but to be good for something, something outside of ourselves. While an egotist may be satisfied with a headstone that says, “See, I told you I was great,” the rest of us would like to have been appreciated by someone for having done something that they remember affected them positively. Even the statement, “Beloved father/mother/brother/friend” shows an appreciation for who we were in respect of others, and what we meant to them.

That is why charities exist. They exist so that those involved can serve others. The same applies to professional associations, even to political parties – until they get a bit self-focused, but that’s another blog. Several, in fact. (Oddly, competing charities, parties and associations often exist because of the egos of the competing parties who want the charity run ‘their way’, rather than just serving the other. Why else is Help the Heroes now competing with umpteen other charities?)

So, as conscience-driven commitment to, and in compliance with the Third Resolution, it is our responsibility to find opportunities to serve. My own recommendation is that you serve family first, and then those organisations to which you are connected and which, if you think about it, have already served you. That can mean communities, charities, professional associations, you name it.

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing. Next, I get to find out what I have actually let myself in for.