Back in fifth grade, I went to an overnight camp with my school. On the last day there, everyone gathered together for our last group activity. For the activity, our groups had to find signs that had a certain “need” written on them that people needed to survive; water, food, shelter, etc. These few signs were scattered all around the whole forest camp grounds. The catch was, there were also many, many signs with “wants” written on them. These hundreds and hundreds of wants served as a huge distraction from finding our needs to finish the activity. As trivial this camp game was, the activity showed many parallels to our lives. We have only a few basic needs: water, food, shelter, space, and air. That’s literally all we need. But, in our modern world, these vital needs are blended and mixed with our wants.
Needs versus Wants
Need: a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism
– good ole Merriam Webster
A bare bones definition describes a need exactly. They are our absolute basic requirements for survival in our environment. Without one of our human needs, we will die. Think of any survival island movie. After all the panic and hoopla, the leader steps up and sets the priority to obtain and maintain the crucial basics such as shelter and food. You don’t see anybody complaining that their wild boar is lacking a little seasoning (if you do, you know exactly who won’t make it back lol). In our relatively cozy environment, our needs and wants aren’t so cut and dry. Most of us see the internet as a need which we all know is a want. But, we feel most of our time will suck without it. And that’s what separates a need from a want. The lack of a need results in death. The lack of a want results in being uncomfortable. Our wants make us more comfortable in our environments. It’s fine to have “wants” but it’s a problem when we cannot decipher the difference between something that may be enjoyable or make us feel better and something that will keep us alive.
Products are thrown at us left and right to suck us into buying wants that are portrayed as absolute needs. We see this everywhere, on billboards, TV, and other people’s dire “need” to recommend you something. To separate these needs and wants, think of what you want to accomplish in your life. Say you are trying to save money and cut some expenses. Briefly detach yourself from your feelings over various products and services that you pay for such as cable, Netflix, specific items on your grocery list, those $190 Jordan Motorsport 4s. Without detaching yourself first before looking over expenses present and future, we automatically turn the wants into absolute needs. Even typing this, I put the Jordans towards the “need” category in my head. While emotionally detached, think about what you do not even use or forget about. That could be that streaming subscription or something on your grocery list you keep buying. Useless things can be the easiest to get rid of if they do not have a value to you. If you would like to continue in cutting your expenses, keep going through this process until you have reached your desired goal.
The widespread “neediness” of our society is easily pushed onto us. We become easily persuaded to buy things that we are told are necessary for our lives, even things we do not even want. Remember to momentarily detach yourself from the product and evaluate how it is a part of your life. Understand that our wants are not required for us to live but simply make our lives more “comfortable”. I hope this post helped you see needs and wants in a new, refreshed light. I’ll see you in the next post.