Needs and Wants


I am not the first, nor will I be the last to write about the difference between needs and wants. Philosophers, poets, pastors, and moral pathfinders of all kinds have explored this difference.


The thing is, today it is incredibly easy to meet our basic needs for survival. So easy in fact, we confuse our biological needs for wants. Instead of "I need food to continue existing", it becomes "I want a cheeseburger today."


Instead of "I want to satisfy my thirst so I don't stop physically living," we have our daily coffee run to Starbucks or Dutch Bros or whatever your favorite place is.


In both of these cases we have confused our needs for our wants. When we do so it is also a quick jump to confuse our wants with our needs. Our tendency for this even shows up in the language we use.


"I need to have my car washed."

"I don't like the color of these shoes. I need new ones."

"My kid needs to go to college!"


Not one of those things is a physical need that if not met means you die. Each of these is a desire for something to be accomplished. A clean car, new shoes, or a college-bound young adult will not cause you to survive for the next 24 hours and beyond.


Today, and into this weekend, I encourage you to pay attention to the language you use regarding what you want and need. Perhaps take note of all the things you said you needed but weren't really in service to your immediate survival. I will work on this as well. For example, I will not say "I need coffee this morning." I will say "I want coffee this morning."


Let me know below what things you notice about your speech and thought habits around your needs and wants as you do this!