As Writer Frank Herbert once said, “A person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing you to grow. Without them, it sleeps – seldom to awaken. The sleeper must awaken.”
Herbert may have been onto something. As stated in an article written by Alex Lickerman, M.D. and published by Psychology Today, new experiences help humans to grow and resist boredom. Additionally, personal growth takes place after we take on a new way of thinking or acting. Choosing to avoid new situations keeps us from experiencing new ways of thinking and feeling, which can be harmful in several ways.
What Is the Need for Variety?
According to motivational speaker Tony Robins, there are six basic needs that make humans tick. Two of these six human needs that go hand in hand are variety (or uncertainty) and certainty. It is a contradiction because both of these needs conflict each other, hence why it is important to find a healthy balance between them; and know how to meet your needs constructively.
The need for certainty means that humans have the need to feel safe, secure, and stable in their relationships, homes, and workplaces, while the need for variety or uncertainty means that a person needs to feel challenged, excited, surprised, and entertained at the same time. Some individuals prefer more uncertainty and risks in their lives than others.
As human beings, we crave new experiences and unique situations that challenge us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The secret is to achieve a balance for instance, keeping your mind active to prevent you from getting bored, while also falling into a little routine that helps you to feel safe and secure. Otherwise, we may struggle to maintain healthy relationships and we may battle feelings of anxiety and depression. Too much uncertainty can lead to controlling and abusive patterns and relationships, while not enough variety can cause people to rebel, lash out, or develop narrow thinking patterns.
13 Ways to Meet the Need for Variety
Many of us are comfortable meeting the human need for variety by trying new foods that we’re unfamiliar with, taking vacations, or exploring new hobbies or topics. However, others attempt to meet their need for variety in unhealthy ways that only hurt them and their loved ones. For example, an unhealthy solution to filling the need for variety is taking drugs, abusing alcohol, engaging in extramarital affairs, overeating, starting fights, and creating drama with others. If you find yourself creating problems just to give yourself something to do, you’re probably not meeting the need for variety in a constructive way.
But fortunately, there are just as many healthy ways to meet the need for variety in our lives. Below, we’ll discuss thirteen ways to constructively meet the need for variety and uncertainty.
1. Read different genres of books and watching exciting films.
2. Try new activities such as skiing or snowboarding.
3. Plan trips to new and unfamiliar places.
4. Take on a new diet that encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone.
5. Go to concerts, comedy shows, plays, and live performances.
6. Learn a new skill, such as painting, gardening, singing, or dancing.
7. Visit amusement parks, go on rides, and explore new attractions.
8. Switch up your daily routine. If you usually work out in the evening, work out in the morning instead. If you typically only make pancakes for breakfast on the weekend, make them on a weekday instead. If you usually wait until the weekend to go to a movie or hang out with friends, switch things up and go during the week.
9. Switch up your daily commute. Try a new route or stop at the store on your way to work instead of stopping after work like you normally do.
10. Switch up your hairstyle or hair color.
11. Take an art class and unleash your creative sign, even if you think you’re not any good.
12. If you drink wine, attend a tasting to sample a variety of flavors.
13. Join a book club, art club, or board game group. The regular social interaction with new people will be a nice change from your normal routine and regular social circle.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to meet the need for variety in positive, healthy ways. By switching things up as often as possible and trying new things, you’ll surely find that you’re much happier with yourself and the people around you. Plus, you’ll find yourself opening up to new ideas and the world around you.