Monday, April 11, 2011

Needs v/s Wants

One of the first things we learnt in Marketing was the difference between a "need" and a "want". From a marketer's perspective, the difference was clear and simple -a  need was described as something that one had to have and a  want as something one would like to have. For example, take the difference between needing an iphone and wanting an iphone - you can tell exactly which category you belong to without extensive soul-searching. While studying all of this, I never considered applying the needs-wants idea to one's emotions. Take, for example, something as simple as happiness - do you need happiness or do you want happiness? Which of the two options is exactly right?

When you consider Happiness to be a need, you are stating that the absence of the same would cause a negative outcome, which, as per Wikipedia can be anything from dissatisfaction to death. Now, I do know people who are so hell bent on being happy that even a minor setback in their "Perky-Plan" drives them nuts. So yes, Happiness can be a need.

Lets think about the second option now - Happiness as a want- something that you would like to have. Take me for example - like every other (average) human soul, I would like to be happy. Being unhappy won't ruin anything for me (in fact, I'm the melancholic kind), but yes, being happy would make me happy. So I guess in my case, happiness is a want.

Yesterday I realized that there are a thousand little things that I don't actually "need", but I call them that anyway. To be honest, I can't think of anything that I really really need (emotionally). I have a million wants, but that's what they are - wants. I don't need people to love/respect/fear/admire me (I know many who do); I don't need a particular person/feeling in my life (it would be great to have them, but I'll do just fine without them); I don't need to be something/someone better (I have survived 20 years like this, I think I can handle life a little longer)

I know this sounds like a very obvious conclusion, but it took me the better part of the weekend to figure it out - if we don't really need something, why do we let its absence influence us?

And what doesn all of this mean? Well, that's simple - from now on, I'm not going to let something I don't have dictate the way I feel about people/things/situation. If I need it, I will get it. If I don't need it, screw it!

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