When we were children, we saw possibility in everything. Every object could be a toy, and everything we saw contained wonder and sparked ideas and dreams. Every child can be more fascinated with the box a toy came in than with the actual toy, because the box could be anything: a car, a fort, a rocket ship, anything at all.
As we grow up and take on responsibilities, things become more literal. A box is a box. You put things in it. That is its function. As we grow older, we tend to lose our sense of wonder. Perhaps it’s trained out of us. We are taught to focus on test scores and tangible results and things get more serious. Many “grown-ups” feel like there is something missing in their lives. They don’t feel that spark in their heart and mind any more — or if they do, it’s only on a rare occasion so they try to ignore that feeling of lack and fill it up with something like binge watching TV or surfing social media.
We have become a society of watchers and consumers. Many people spend more time watching videos about great adventures other people are having than actually having an adventure themselves. We stop believing we have the time or energy to do something other than just what needs to be done, but we all have certain needs that we need to get met.
By looking at the six human needs model, you can see where you are lacking that spark in your life. Certainty, variety, love/connection, significance/importance, growth and contribution are the basic needs we all need to meet on some level in our lives. We want to feel like we are safe and secure (certainty), we need to feel loved and connected to other people, we need to feel like we matter and our lives are important (significance), we need to have variety and fun. If we have those needs met on some level, the next things we tend to strive for are growth or learning and contributing to something outside ourselves.
Variety as a human need is interesting, because it can come in many forms. Some people get it by choosing a new movie, cooking a new dish or buying a new shirt, while others may get it from bungee jumping or racing cars. You can meet any of the needs at a high level or a destructive level — it all depends on whether how you meet that need is sustainable and healthy.
Variety often is the very “spark” that we feel is missing from our lives. When we get into too much of a routine, it can dampen our enthusiasm for our lives. Have you ever taken an afternoon and gone somewhere completely different and found that you feel energized and full of ideas and enthusiasm? That’s your need for variety getting met at a high level. Everyone needs variety in some way or another in their lives. It can be something big or something small.
Take some time to look at where you get variety in your life. If you see that it’s been lacking lately, make a commitment to change things up a bit. Find a couple of hours a week to try something different. Take a community education class, go for a walk somewhere new, take a different route home and look at new scenery. It can help exercise your creativity and help you see more possibilities in your life.
Once you have a little more spark in your life, you may find you have the energy to explore ways to grow and meet your other needs, as well.