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Wants vs Needs: How To Tell The Difference

What is the difference between a want and a need?


To me a want comes from a desire to do something or have something, and can be both positive or negative. You may want to get an A on a test. You want to lose those last 10 pounds. You want to take a vacation over summer. You want to get over your last rocky relationship. You want this new guy/girl to notice you. You want to get a second job. But will you do any of these things? These wants are usually subconscious. They are the thoughts that tempt us and the things we long for; they are not necessities.  We can all want for anything in this world, but unless we make a conscious effort to do something these wants never become fulfilled. It takes more effort to fulfill a want than a need.


Needs are conscious necessary steps, people or actions. You may need to study in order to get that A. You need to exercise in order to lose the weight. You need to save money in order to take that much-needed vacation. You may need to spend time alone in order to get over the break up. You need to get to know a person before you decide if they are worthy of you. You may need to sacrifice some free time in order to get that second job. We need family. We need positivity in life. We need food, water and that one true friend. It is easier to fulfill a need because consciously we are aware that these things are necessary in order to thrive and succeed.

To know when you want something rather than need something, you must think twice and ask yourself a few honest questions: Can i live without this? Will this definitely help me to reach my end goal? Am I being selfish? Is this necessary? Will this benefit me in the future or just in the short term?

Advice blogger Tamara Eakins
Advice blogger Tamara Eakins

Taking the time to ponder a decision before you make it is the best way to come to the right conclusion. Evaluate and then take the necessary steps to move forward. It is okay to want things in life, but what we want may not always be what we need.


Image Sources

  • 10919734_380228842155409_208906971_n: Photo courtesy of Tamara Eakins | Used With Permission
  • Telescope.ADVICE: Telescope Staff/The Telescope | All Rights Reserved
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