February 14


Valentine’s Special – How Needs are Different From Wants

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On this Valentine’s Day, I’m pondering a timely question: have you ever wondered how needs are different from wants? 

Listening to others, I know I get confused!  Some people may be trying to encourage me, to help me, to drive me toward being better.  And some people just want my money!

People talk about how important it is to have wants and how to make sure needs are met.  No wait, or is it determine what needs are to know how to fulfill your wants.

No wait, I’ll get it!

Figure Out Your Why

(Is that why what I need, or what I want?) 

“Put your wants on a dream board and your needs will be met.  Whatever you need, just want it badly enough.”  Oh, geez.  Enough already.

Back to the drawing board, using the dictionary:

  • Needs – Those things required for our survival
  • Wants – Those things that are desired that can impact our quality of life

Okay, so I’ll go check out some old school advice and get out of the noise:

When your desires are strong enough, you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve.

Napoleon Hill

In the world of decluttering, there’s another view on how needs are different from wants.  You pitch out the things you just want, and keep the things you need.

Hmmmm, so how needs are different from wants could look like this:

I need things so I can pursue those things I want, which inspire me to want to live, in ways that need support so I can live the life I want.

Am I making sense yet? 

How Needs are Different from Wants

Well, on this subject, I finally came across two amazing authorities who would never admit they are.  In the first few weeks of the Master Key Experience (MKE), Mark and Davene Januszewski do a terrific job of explaining how needs are different from wants and offer amazing tools to sort all this out.  Better yet, using those tools can help each of us move toward the life of bliss we choose.  Now we’re talking!

Natural laws work in a perfectly natural and harmonious manner; everything seems to just happen. If you want any evidence of this fact simply compare results of your efforts in your own life, when your actions were prompted by high ideals and when you had selfish or ulterior motives in mind. You will need no further evidence.

Charles Haanel, The Master Key System (Part 16, Section 31)

In the first week of the MKE, Mark and Davene both stress how important it is to answer the question, “What do you want?”  And I discovered early on, that’s a tough question to answer! 

Mark makes a great point that too many people spend their lives not answering that question, not being able to answer that question, or worse, refusing to answer it.  To paraphrase him, “That’s how so many end up living a life of quiet desperation.  And losing the opportunity to create the life they truly want.”  Now that’s one way how needs are different from wants.

The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.

Henry David Thoreau

A Deep Restlessness

Here’s what professional trainer Adam Warbuton had to say on Quora about Thoreau’s quote: 

His point was that most people have a deep restlessness within that they fail to come to terms with and address throughout the course of their life, and for the most part deal with it by keeping themselves busy. Thoreau was most famous for his ability to observe nature, which requires one to be quite still, and have a deep sense of inner settlement and inner connection that allows you to be in harmony with your surroundings. By contrast he could not find that sense of settlement in the way his fellow man went about their day, thus why he wrote what he wrote – because what he observed was no matter how rich or poor you were, no matter what you did for a living, and no matter how much pleasure time you had at your disposal, most people still operated from a sense of deep unrest within themselves – and so most people he observed were simply given up on the assumption that life is as it is and were therefore simply going through the motions of living.

Adam Warburton

Watch Olympians

Want some real live inspiration on managing how needs are different from wants and getting them in line?  Watch Olympians.  Even at an early age, athletes seem to start with something they wanted, and as they developed skills, that want turned into a need – a need to go further, faster, higher, like oxygen for their soul.  Even when they don’t win, they keep at it, keep pushing, keep trying to be more.  I think they are great examples of turning wants into needs as the needs become oxygen for the soul.

how needs are different from wants
Flame of the Olympic Torch

In the MKE classes, Mark and Davene share their research on Personal Pivotal Needs (PPNs).  There are only a handful, and in their view, these PPNs are indeed oxygen for the soul and they define this deep longing for everyone.  I discovered which of my needs (PPNs, not air, food and water) really touched my heart, and focused on fulfilling them.  Then, I saw the pathway to actually get those things I wanted – my bliss, the fulfilled life of happiness I always wanted. (There’s that “want” thing again). 

Watching the Olympics and hearing the amazing stories of those incredible athletes is further proof for me that wanting something so badly that it becomes a need can keep you going, makes you come alive, is what puts true passion in your life.

Personal Pivotal Needs

So here’s a quick rundown on the 7 PPNs.  Hopefully, they’ll help you see how needs are different from wants, and better yet, help point you toward that life you’ve always wanted.

  • Liberty – having the means to fulfill any need or want
  • Legacy – a tangible thing (foundation, building, whatever) you pass on or leave behind
  • Recognition for Creative Expression – applause, comments, compliments for having expressed your creativity (even in your costume or funky hairstyle)
  • Helping Others – sincerely giving of yourself with no expectation of return
  • Spiritual Growth – going deeper into your connection with the Divine along whatever path you choose
  • Autonomy – setting your own schedule, making choices on your own, independent of outside influence
  • True Health – on all levels – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual

Or you can find your own favorite dictionary take on each one!

So What Do You Want?

And which of your deepest needs should you fulfill to get that?  What will that look like when you have it?  How will you give your soul the oxygen it craves?

If you can’t answer those basic questions, the amazing MKE team can help you get there so you don’t stay in the shell of the life of desperation until the end of your days.  I didn’t want that.  I don’t want that.  Life is short and precious.  It should be a treasure, not a trudge through the mud.

Get on the list for the next class by clicking here.  And let me know how needs are different from wants for you!

To read more from Day, visit her blog site.

Read more articles by Day Boswell

About the author

From corporate employee and global manager to unemployed, Day Boswell has created her own successful, growing consulting business, helping organizations excel. She credits the Master Key Experience with much of her success. Her passion is serving as staff, master guide and personal coach, sharing the principles and tools from that course to support others in having successful journeys.

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  • This is such tremendous info Day Mahalo! When I first heard that needs were air, water, shelter it was like holy what the heck! Why do I feel that I need this ‘stuff’ to feel worthy – what a great lesson my friend!

  • Excellent blog Day. That is a question I have often asked. What is my ‘why’ and what do I truly ‘want’ and ‘need’ – you have offered some clarity around these questions. Much appreciated.

  • Very interesting and informative blog breaking out wants and needs. Also a great way to find your real “why” is to learn and use the skills taught and reinforced in the Master Key Experience course. Well worth checking it out!

  • I love this blog Day. It truly touches on the beginning, but, most important questions, to enable one to begin their Hero’s Journey.

  • What a great topic and first class food for thought! My way of dealing with needs and wants has been so far by considering my needs to be in the realm of the body, and my wants in the realm of the heart & soul. That way, I can easily work on both, and also on things that link them together…In that view, I see some needs as positive and others as negative (ie. to get rid of)… For example in your example of Olympic athletes, a part of what extend their “want” towards a positive need is the addiction they create for endorphins and dopamine by their intensive training…As an example of “negative” need, I recently started to get rid of my need for sugar in response to my PPN True Health and a goal (a “want”) I wrote in my DMP three weeks ago and which took fire in my heart!…Thanks Day for provoking our thoughts on this life changing topic of “needs” and “wants”!

  • Day, your blog had so many gems. I liked your statement-“I need things so I can pursue those things I want, which inspire me to want to live, in ways that need support so I can live the life I want.” The next comment that inspired me was the comment on the Olympics-“further proof for me that wanting something so badly that it becomes a need can keep you going, makes you come alive, is what puts the true passion in your life.” Once you have experience the passion that goes with your desire then you’ll have the fuel to accomplish your desires and dreams. I thoroughly enjoyed your blog & thanks for your enlightening knowledge.

  • I enjoyed this blog post so much, thank you Day! I just loved the distinction of the wants and the needs. I also agree to the fullest how much participating in the Master key Experience can mean for anyone that want to live a life from an inner desire and fueled with their PPN’s, the oxygen for one’s soul.

  • One of my favorite questions that Mark recites so emphatically — What do you want?! Figure it out and, as long as it is in alignment with the greater good and does not take away anyone else’s good, then watch how “miraculously” it comes to fruition. Make your life as special as you were created to be!

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