How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The Need for: Survival
To survive. To live today and tomorrow. To get past threats to our lives. To recover from illness and bodily damage.
A mild person is cornered by a gang which starts to attack him. He thinks they are trying to kill him and so fights like a wild demon, seriously hurting a couple of gang members before the rest run away.
When a walker is confronted by a bear, they run like they have never run before.
A person who has been fired at work pleads desperately to be allowed to keep their job.
One of the great forces of evolution is survival of the fittest. This has programmed us to fight hard to live (those who cared not about living did not remain in the gene pool for long). When we live, we can mate and nurture our young, so our genes will continue. Even when we know we are dying, we instinctively fight for every last breath.
Survival requires both short-term reaction to threats and longer-term planning. The choices we make today will affect how we are able to survive in the future.
Death is the ultimate loss of identity, which is something we hold very dear. Any thought of a decrease in our identity is frightening. The thought of 'not being' is terrifying and underlies the need to survive. Survival is also related to the need for control, as dying is the ultimate loss of control.
The principle of seeking survival also applies to non-fatal situations, for example we talk about surviving cut-backs at work. This indicates the significance to us in terms of identity and control that a job provides, and how losing the job feels like a kind of 'little death'.
To powerfully motivate a person, use the metaphor of life and death in order to trigger their survival instinct.