May 15 2011

How often do you hear someone say they “need” something which you absolutely can live without? I was in PC World with my family today picking up a new phone for the house – something I wanted but didn’t need (the old one was broken which meant no phones in the “West Wing” of my house – and no, it’s not really that big). My point is that my daughter, at 4 (5 in July) was crying because she was saying she NEEDED a laptop! We allowed our 7YO to save up and pay 1/2 towards one for herself at Christmas so she has a little net-book, about the cheapest one you can get so her little sister now thinks she needs one too because she can “use it” for a few things like drawing pictures in “paint” and maybe writing a few words.

The point of all of this is that we often consider things needs when in reality they are wants. I would argue that this is often the difference between people who live beyond their means, and those who do not – I wish I could say that I am always the latter, those who know me well know better. Why is it that once something becomes a normal part of our life it becomes a need rather than a want – do we NEED a TV? what about the phone? A computer? a car? OK, for some of us these things are needs – if we want to maintain our current job, live in our current house etc…but a TV for example, is not really a need – I go for weeks sometimes without staring at the box! Imagine life without one now – remember that until 75 years ago (give or take a few) that nobody had TV’s – and the world (and society) magically made it through those years – all several thousand of them!

The next time you think you NEED something, step back and think about whether it is a need or a want – I am not suggesting that buying “wants” is wrong or having things that you don’t need is wrong – I like a lot of my “wants” and do not begrudge anyone who has loads of wants (unless they do so at the cost of having true needs) – but knowing the difference will in many ways help us be thankful for the things we do have and thus in some ways should make us happier as people…just my 2 cents!

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