needs vs wants

About eight years ago, I dated a guy who mentioned to me something about needs being different from wants. I didn’t think much of it then but it came into my head today when I started thinking about my own needs and wants.

I want to drive a BMW. I love those cars and how much faster they are then my current car, a Nissan Sentra, but do I need it? No, my life probably wouldn’t be much different other than enjoying driving a bit more than I do now…

It’s no secret I want to make films but do I NEED to? Well, that’s debatable. I won’t exactly die if I don’t but I wouldn’t be happy, at all, and would pretty much wish I was dead, so do I need it? One could argue, yes.

I’m not the biggest eater out there but I enjoy a good meal. Do I need to eat food? Well, yes, I absolutely do or I will perish into a corpse.

I suppose wants are those things that we don’t necessarily need but would like to have. And needs are those things that come down to a life or death situation. And then there are some things that one learns are not just a want but a requirement for one’s life to have meaning and those, I believe, are part of the need category in terms of life fulfillment. At least, that’s how I’m going to define them.

So, I’ve been thinking about what I want and need and how often the two intertwine, for better or worse. Take for example you meet someone. You want to get to know them. You don’t exactly need to get to know them, life will move on regardless, but say you get the opportunity to get to know them and you’re stoked but then you learn they don’t want to get to know you in the same way. So, you’re faced to realize the truth of that. You still want to get to know them but you know the reality of it isn’t what you need, from prior experience. Here comes the internal dilemma… In this case, do you focus on the basic want and take what you can OR do you pay attention to the reality of it, knowing it’s not what you need and in the long run isn’t good for you? Do you ignore what you need and just go for the want, letting the consequences fall where they may? Or do you ignore the want and stick with what you need? It’s a tricky question. And one everyone needs to answer for oneself…

I had this debate going on in my head, so I asked myself, what am I willing to sacrifice to get what I want? It’s like in that film (and book!) THE ROAD. The father and son need to eat but the son wants to give some of their food to those who have nothing, despite the fact he and his dad need it. Who prevails? Hah, sorry, I don’t spoil. Watch the film or read the book to find out… but the point is our wants sometimes can defy our needs but perhaps its meaning that gives one the answer of what to focus on…

Wants vs needs… can be an interesting internal conflict.


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