Wants vs. Needs

(I posted this once, and thought that it was not a very good post, but was then requested to post it again. So here it is, but this is version two, being the computer guy I am, I did not make a back-up of the post before I deleted it.)
This post is different than most of the posts I have done. It is more of a phylisopical post instead of a technology, humor or bug post. So your comments are welcomed and appricated. Please let me know what you think of this post.

First, we need to get a couple of definitions out of the way. I will be refering to these during the post, so you need to know how I define them:

1. to feel a need or a desire for; wish for
2. To wish, need, crave, demand, or desire (often fol. by an infinitive)
3. To feel inclined; wish; like (often fol. by to)

1. A requirement, necessary duty, or obligation
2. Urgent want, as of something requisite
3. A condition marked by the lack of something requisite

The main difference between a want and a need is that a need is required and is requisite (Something that is indispensable; a requirement) for something. There is a fine line between the two. A want can also be a need if it is a wish that is required for something else, as long as the thing it is a requisite for is a need and not a want.

There are basically three types of people in this world in relation to wants and needs. There are the ones that only see wants, everything is a want. Then there are the ones that see everything as a need, even wants are seen as needs. But then there are those that see wants as wants and needs as wants. The third type is my opinion is the only one that creates a happy healthy life. Let’s talk about each of these types of people.

The wants type of person. This person does not understand the concept of a need. Everything is a want. The only thing that puts priority on a want is how bad you think you need it. There is no priority given to wants. An example is a baby. The baby can be crying for a bottle (the number one want at the time), then crawl past a toy. The toy is now the number one want so the need for the bottle is forgotten and the concentration is now on the toy. But after time, the need to have the bottle gets so strong that the toy is no longer the number one want. The main problem with this is that the needs and wants of others never make it to the list. Only the wants and needs of the individual are ever taken care of by a wants person. This person lives in a world of their own, only what they want gets accomplished and they go about life not having any real direction or goals. They are driven by the highest want on the list, and needs get neglected.

The needs type person. This person sees everything as a need. All wants become needs, including the wants of others. So everything is a priority because it is requisite to something. But the main difference between this person and wants person is that they include the wants and needs of others in the list and priorities them as well. But the main problem with this is that everything is a need, so at the end of the day if all the needs are not done, there is a lot of stress. Because anything on the list that is not done means that a requisite has not been completed, and seen as a failure. One may say that this person is exreamly selfish, but I would say that is not the case. Because there are times when a needs person will put the wants of others ahead of their needs, so they actually negelect their own needs.

The needs and wants person. This person sees needs as needs and wants as wants. They also see the needs and wants of others for what they are. They have the ability to take their needs, others needs, their wants, and others wants and priorities them. Because they see needs as needs, they don’t stress at the end of the day if they get the daily needs done and the wants left undone. This person can achieve true happyness because they get their needs fulfilled and don’t have large amounts of stress because their wants or the wants of others are not accomplished. They can also priorities the wants of others higher than their own wants so they fullfill the needs and wants of others as well as their own needs and wants.

During life, we travel through these three types of attitudes. We go from wants people, to needs people, and then hopefully we make it to the person who sees both wants and needs and how to priorities them as well as others. And at times we can slip back to the other types of people.

It is hard to find a balance between needs, and our personal needs and wants and the needs and wants of others (man, I have said needs and wants a lot in this post). I also see that there are two different view points that are pulling us in the wrong direction. 1- Society has a BIG emphasis on wants. Society teaches us that the bigger the want the better. The more we want the healthier we are. Is this really a healthy way of thinking? If all we are worrying about is our personal wants, our needs and the needs of others get neglected. The recent problems in the mortgage industry are a perfect example of this. Wants for a bigger house take precedince over needs that can actually be sustained. 2- Religion has a BIG emphasis on needs. I am not saying that all religion is this way, but there is a lot of religions that teach you that needs are good, and wants are evil. It is a sin to want something that you don’t need. So having a car that is better than you need is a sin.

What type of person are you? Here are some questions to think about. Do you see the difference between needs and wants? Do you see the needs and wants of others? Do your wants take priority over the needs of your family members? Are you helping your family fill their needs? Do you priorities the wants of others over your wants? What about the needs and wants of society? Are you aware of the needs of society and helping fulfill them as well?

Definitions courtsey of http://dictionary.reference.com/

The picture of the cupid was used just because I liked the picture. My valentines day was not that great, and the picture made me laugh.


  1. OK, so I will try to make sense, that is a lot to digest! I agree with you. It is so hard to be the 3rd type of person. Here is the thing though, I remember someone saying once that she didn't see how people in the big houses could get to Heaven, saying that it was a waste of money… Makes sense right? Well then someone else pointed out that to a lot of people in the world we live in Mansions, huge, not needed houses. Point taken. SO then I ask myself, do I have needs or my wants. What is the point that something becomes a need over a want? At what point is the line crossed. Is it when we cannot survive without it, that would leave water and food. Maybe shelter. Then I look at myself and think, I NEED a car… do I really? So maybe the the first person really is superior to the rest… recognizing that everything ultimately is a a want. Maybe that is why we are counseled to be Child Like? Then you bring a good point it all we have are wants then we tend to just take care of our wants and not focus on the real priorities. Interesting. I think that I tend to be a need person. I think that I need things that I really don't and well I feel like everyone else has need (and no wants) and if I cannot fulfill all of them I have some how failed the world in general. Interesting! Thanks for bringing back this post!

  2. I agree with the above comment, and would like to say thanks for the deep thinking you provided for me.

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