Wants vs. Needs

I might have blogged about this before, but a conversation with my best friend made me think about it again.

When you’re younger, it’s hard to tell the difference between wants and needs. When you were walking through the toy store and you saw a toy you liked, you probably begged your mom for it, citing how much you “needed” that toy because it was the latest, the greatest, and the coolest thing.

But of course, you didn’t “need” that toy. You only wanted it. A need is something that is essential for your survival and the basic needs are food, water, shelter, and human companionship.

What’s interesting about our society in America today is that the majority of our nation’s citizens have those basic needs totally fulfilled, so we don’t know what it’s like to NEED something. That’s why I think that a lot of us get our wants confused with our needs. Yes, it’s easy to say we need the latest iPad or smart phone or whatever, but if you think about it, the technology we have is sufficient. (It’s another story if you do NEED that type of thing in order to succeed at a job or something.)

It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting, and not appreciating the things we have that fulfill our basic needs: the food in our cabinet and refrigerator, the water from our tap, our loved ones, the roof over our heads, the steady job that allows us to keep our needs fulfilled, etc.

So the next time you find yourself wanting something, ask yourself… do I really need that?

10 thoughts on “Wants vs. Needs

  1. Very very true. Even if you did write about it before (which must have been before I started reading your blog), it bears repeating.

    I think about this every time I encounter drvers who can’t imagine driving without talking on their cell phones at the same time, people who always “have” to have each newest iPhone as it comes out, who claim they can’t function in the morning without their preferred type of Starbucks coffee. And so on.


  2. I’m attempting to teach this to my son as well. It is challenging when he sees other kids getting everything they want but I think he does really well for his age! 🙂


  3. Our society is based upon this. The want becomes the need. The need becomes the entitlement. The entitlement becomes the demand. Advertisers know this and play it to the hilt.

    My complaint is when it goes beyond simple greed (for greed IS simple, isn’t it?) When I hear an ad on the radio that says (in essence) “…now, get the freedom from your credit card debt that you deserve…” I find myself where does “simple” greed end and responsibility take over?.


  4. I agree with everything you’ve said here. People just expect the essential needs so turn to the wants (and treat them as needs).


  5. it’s difficult isn’t it, the idea that we acquire too much stuff we don’t need and should cut down. Doing that now (albeit for a different reason) is pushing many economies towards recession. Retail is especially hard hit – is that what we want? But yes we know you are right.


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