Why we do the things we do – part 5 Growth & Making a Contribution




The need for growth allows us to learn new skills and to fulfill our potential.  Without fulfilling this need some of us can feel as if our lives have stagnated or have reached a place where we feel bored with everything.   We don’t need to make huge changes in life to feel as if we are growing; we can learn a new skill or take up a new interest, we can take courses that will allow for career development.  For others this need can be satisfied by taking a working holiday or by travelling to new  places of historic or cultural significance – in short, stepping out of our comfort zone which also boosts confidence.

The need to make a contribution allows us to feel we are helping others, passing on our skills, leaving a legacy and it can also satisfy the need to connect with others, often those in less privileged positions.  Working for charities or on a professional voluntary basis where we pass on our knowledge and experience and coach or mentor those both older or younger than us.  Helping others can also be an excellent way of increasing our own face-to-face  interaction in the community and a great ante-dote to loneliness, anxiety and depression as well as boosting confidence.

What’s interesting about these two needs is that not everybody will be aware of them and yet they can provide a sense of fulfillment that cannot be measured in financial terms.

  • When did you last feel as if you were growing and developing as an individual?
  • When did you last feel as if you were making a difference to other people?

It’s easy to overlook all of our needs and yet when we take time to reflect on them we can then seek to meet them with actions that are both  positive and beneficial to ourselves as well as  others.