What is YOUR difference between a need and a want?

As with all our behaviour, the greater our awareness of the why behind our needs or wants, the greater the influence we can exert on our own destiny.  It can be compared to shooting towards a target.  If it is dark and we have only a general idea of where we should aim, we have very little chance of hitting the target.  By understanding our motivations, we shed light on the outcome we desire, and we have a greater chance of aiming true.

What is the difference between a need and a want?  A want is the way we have chosen, perhaps unconsciously, to satisfy a need.


  I need reliable transport; I want a new car or a yearly bus pass etc.

 I need love; I want a monogamous relationship, or I want a baby etc.

 I need to feel I belong and am part of the crowd; I want to dress fashionably, or

 I want to join a group like a church, a sports group etc.

By posing the question “What will that do for you?” or “What will that satisfy?” we can get below the want level and begin to find the need level underneath.

Example:         I need to get some qualifications.      

         “What will that do for you?”

                         It will mean I can get a job.

“What will that do for you?”

I will be able to earn and contribute to the family finances.

What will that do for you?”

I will feel more equal in my relationship with my partner.

“What will that do for you?”

I will feel powerful and a person in my own right.

This is a very useful process to go through.  Having started with one solution, a quite different need has been uncovered at the bottom.  There are MANY ways to satisfy that need.  Even if the person concerned still goes on with their original plan, they are much more aware of why they want to do it.  Sometimes, because of the choices open to us at the time, we may have chosen a way to satisfy is a need that could in fact be better met another way.  Sometimes choices we made don’t turn out the way we thought and hoped they would.  Being aware of the need allows US to choose the most useful and fulfilling path.

It may be that you already get your own needs met. If so, WONDERFUL!

“Peace of MInd – Pathways to Successful Living” is available from: sue@suewashington.com

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