Exploring Human Potential

7 & 7: Want vs. Need


Happiness does not reside with wants expressed or needs fulfilled. Wants may be very small or very large. What you pursue is a need, it is essential, it has a purpose beyond the simple expressed desire of wanting. After all, we all want a lot of things on any day at any moment. To want to be the greatest hitter in baseball doesn’t mean you will be. People want to do things simply because they do. Justifications aren’t required unless someone else is paying the bill or there is a real or potential harm involved. Needs are indispensable and few. Wants can encumber and hinder our movement toward fulfillment and disorder our priorities. The mink needs its coat, but do you? And if you had it would it really bring the pleasure it does the mink herself? The ordinary may be simple but at least it’s true. Wanting expands the appetite without enlarging the meal, ensuring satisfaction will be less and less likely. And in the pursuing, innocence is lost as compromises must be made. Humans want success and happiness. That is fine. The problem comes in the definitions that define the give and take.


Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy they are, who already possess it.
La Rochefoucauld

All I want out of life is that when I walk down the street, folks will say, “There goes the greatest hitter who ever lived.”
Ted Williams

I want to do it because I want to do it.
Amelia Earhart

Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts, of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.
Henry David Thoreau

No one in this world needs a mink coat but a mink.

With the catching ends the pleasures of the chase.
Abraham Lincoln

A person buying ordinary products in a supermarket is in touch with his deepest emotions.
John Kenneth Galbraith

Riches enlarge, rather than satisfy appetites.
Thomas Fuller

He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
Proverbs 28:20

All men seek one goal: success or happiness.

Wealth… and poverty: the one is the parent of luxury and indolence, and the other of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.

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