We are all human and it is only natural for us to want to have fun, go out with friends, buy gifts for our family, spoil our kids, travel, etc. As the saying goes, you only live once, so might as well have fun and enjoy the time you have left until “death do us part”, right? Well, yes and no. While it is perfectly OK to want things, like new clothes, cars, houses, we must make a clear distinction between wants and needs.
Needs are the life necessities we absolutely must have in order to maintain a certain standard of living. Our needs must be covered in order to avoid financial and emotional hardship that can throw us off-course. It’s things like our home, car, gas, insurance, food, kids’ education, etc. Needs must be fulfilled in a timely manner to avoid last-minute stress and unnecessary loss of time.
Wants play a very important role in our lives and for most people they are the primary drivers and motivators for any type of growth or self-development. However, it is important to make sure that these wants are yours and not somebody else’s or wants based on your conditioning. As mentioned earlier, conditioning is a set of beliefs programmed into your psyche by other people in your immediate environment, such as parents, teachers, peers, etc. Conditioning runs your life when you are in a state of deep sleep and is fully automatic – meaning it does not require any conscious input from you.
At the beginning, in order for you to achieve your life’s goals, you may need to limit your expenses and the energy you spend chasing after your wants – at least until you meet your financial requirements to fulfill them without jeopardizing your needs. When you ignore your needs, they inevitably come back to haunt you and, if left unattended, may even ruin your life. You can lose your home, your spouse, your kids, and the list goes on. The impact of not addressing your needs can generate so much negativity and pain in your life that living a joyful and fulfilling life is going to be pretty much out of the question. This is where many people enter a state of deep slumber and turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. in order to avoid the pain.
You should try to fulfill your wants and desires, as long as they are things that are good for you and will bring you joy – this is what this course is all about, since we are working toward ultimate happiness and eradication of unnecessary pain and suffering.
Moreover, your wants and desires can become your lifework, which makes them as important, if not more important, than needs when it comes to long-lasting joy, life fulfillment, and true happiness. We will be discussing lifework in more detail elsewhere in the course, but for now keep in mind that the financial rewards of your lifework should be able to eventually cover all of your needs and wants.