Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shifting Want to Need

Purchase buckets here.

I minored in economics during my college years and was fascinated by the supply and demand curve. I was equally intrigued by the conceptual definitions for the economic terms of want and need. I remember my economics professor's wise words echoing off the auditorium's metallic, chambered walls.
"The world is about unlimited wants with limited resources; in terms of wants versus needs, it's deciding what goes into which bucket that determines your quality of life."

Those words have been ingrained into the deep valleys and grooves of my brain. I couldn't do a market analysis to save my life, but those words still resonate. My own "bucket allocation" has been at the forefront of my thoughts as of late.

The definition of a want and a need is different for each individual roaming the planet. Sure, we know the basic needs: food, water, shelter, clothing. But what about those gray areas? What about those ideologies we hold so dear to our hearts that help make a life our own? In my book, I need my family. In my world, I need books. And, as part of my daily, balanced-diet, I need chocolate. Yet, lack of any of these will not kill my body, not really. That's when the definition digresses from Mr. Merriam's and Mr. Webster's and we redefine it to fit our own values of what we can't live without, or so we think.

Bucket Filler
I'm not here to lecture about wants and needs, what's important and worthy, and what's not; I leave that educating to the well-paid university professors that can write 1,000-page textbooks on narrow subjects. Instead, I come to you today with my own Eureka! moment: when the items in the buckets must be transferred from one to another between needs and wants. It's when "I want to lose some weight" becomes "I need to lose some weight"; when "I want to enjoy moments great and small" becomes "I need to". "Need" elevates the circumstance into action, almost as a matter of survival just like the need for food and shelter. But, when does the transition take place? And, is it ever too late to reallocate?

I urge you to look beyond basic necessities and instead start seeing some of your own desires in your "wants" bucket transfer over to the "needs" bucket. It can be a matter of life or death. I know, you think I'm being melodramatic. Lack of true needs like food and water bring about death to the body. But, when wants become our personal needs, not giving in to that causes death to the soul and spirit. I wonder which is worse?

Are you thinking about doing some bucket reallocation yourself?


Kathy Cheek said...

I am definitely going to pay more attention to what I view as a want versus a need, this is an excellent post!

Saw your comment on Holley's page.

Kathy @ In Quiet Places Devotions

Andrea said...

Goodness me aren't you sweet! Thanks for that sweet lil note about my Straw wreath! I am glad you stopped by, because I am pretty sure I just found a new blog to love!

The Cheese Thief said...

I use to be a person of very little wants and very little needs. But lately I've found that the more I have, the more I want, and the more that want turns into need. I want to raise my daughter to not have so many material wants/needs, but it's hard, especially in a society that values all the material things. We'll see how it all turns out once she is old enough to understand it all.


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