We all want so very much, but need so very little. The problem is, we have a difficult time differentiating between the two. The line that defines want from need is often blurry. In fact, some of our wants are so strong that, if the goal is happiness and a sense of fulfillment, we turn them into needs.
Wants and needs are urges beckoning us to action. The only way to differentiate between your wants and needs is to understand each urge, how strong of an urge you have to fulfill the urge and assigning values to each instance while considering the tradeoffs. In other words, think about it.
Human beings have necessary basic needs. Basically, we need to eat, sleep, hydrate, dispose of waste, have some sort of shelter, stay safe and stay alive.
Procreation is a need, but only in the sense that it’s a need if we want to ensure the survival of our species -- not everyone will consider this a need they need to fulfill themselves. Just about everything else is no longer a need, but a want. You need to get some sleep in order to function well tomorrow morning, but you want to go out with your friends and party all night.
Now here’s the tradeoff: We can either get a solid eight hours of sleep and feel great tomorrow morning, or we can sleep for four hours and go into work feeling tired and hungover tomorrow.
You’re trading in your good and healthy feeling in the morning for a hangover, difficulty concentrating and an increase in the possibility of getting fired. In return, you’ll hopefully have a great time, meet some amazing people and create great new memories.
Differentiating between wants and needs is easier when examined in leisure. It’s great to take time out of your day to ponder over your life, where you imagine yourself to be, what you’d like to change and what you’d like to increase or keep steady.
This sort of reflecting is needed in order for you to be capable of making the right decisions on the fly. We make most of our decisions in the moment they need to be made. True, we do a bit of planning, but more often than not, our bad decisions are made on the fly, unplanned.
You’re not going to make bad decisions ahead of time unless you are unclear as to what the decision will result in or have little understanding of how you will feel after you make the decision.
The majority of our decisions are made in the moment, and because they require an immediate response, we either answer with a default response (many of us have one) or we answer according to what we are feeling in that very moment, with little regard of the near future.
The only way to avoid making such poor decisions is to take the time to make them. Being under pressure of time is the worst situation to find yourself in.
No good decisions are ever made when the decision-maker is forced to cut down his thought process and make an uncalculated decision. If you want the right answer, you’ll need sufficient time to go through the rationale.
Most decisions can be made in under three minutes, however; we just choose not to use our three minutes because we get caught up in all the excitement. Every bad decision that is made eagerly promises instant or short-term gratification. More often than not, it plays into more primal needs, such as socialization, feeding your hunger and sex.
What it comes down to is understanding that the most important things in life, the things you want so much that you need them, should always take precedence.
Your long-term wants and goals should always come first because they always require the most work and the most time to achieve. The most important things in life are the things that can’t be achieved in just a year.
The most important things in life are the things that take a lifetime to achieve -- and for this reason, we should start working on achieving them from this moment on. Focus on what’s most important to you and question every decision you make. Is making this decision worth the tradeoff?
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