Wants vs needs

Aug 3, 2009 7:27:00 PM / by Vu Long Tran

Society is always telling us that we should have this and that and most of us have come to believe, to desire, and to want all those things that they market to us. But how much of it do we really need?

Surprising not much. If you look back at how caveman used to live their only focus was on the core human needs for survival. Yet we are each here today, wanting this new car, new house, new technology, new clothes and more, so when you think about it, how much of it do you really 'need'?

They're probably more 'wants' than anything. You only will find that you may want the new car, house, or technology for the short term satisfaction that it brings you - that short term happiness. Just think about that new toy that a kid gets, after a while he/she gets bored with it and demands another new toy. We do the same whether consciously and unconsciously with all the other things in our lives.

Sometimes society through the media and peer pressure that encourages us to always 'want' rather than really getting something that we 'need'. So there's something that I generally try do whenever I seek to purchase something that I know that is probably more on the wants than needs side than anything is ask that question to myself - "do I really 'need' this or am I just 'want' this?"

One other way of putting things into perspective for our core needs in our day and age is constrast yourself against what would be found in a developing country, as often when you travel to these cities and towns you find that they focus on some of the true aspects of life. They can even happier too as they have not lost themselves in the materialistic elements of our society. Instead they focus on what is important which is food, shelter, warm for survival and than there is the social/ tribal needs such as family and friends.

Here's a nice quote that may help you think about wants and needs:

“Material blessings, when they pay beyond the category of need, are weirdly fruitful of headache”
 -Philip Wylie

So next time you looking to purchase that new goods and/or services ask yourself? Do I really 'need' or 'want' this? As you'll often find it's the 'wants' that can appear more frequently that you realise...

Vu Long Tran

Written by Vu Long Tran

Solutions Engineer APAC. ex-@Forrester consultant. Writing on #cloud #howto guides and #tech tinkering!