Understanding wants and needs

Do we have the ability to differentiate our wants and needs? How does differentiating them help?


Maslow hierarchy of needs is a good way to depict the needs of our day to day lives.

In simple terms, the needs at the bottom of the pyramid need to be met for us to focus on the next higher rung of the pyramid.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs - Wikipedia
Pic courtesy – Wiki

Try to take a paper and pencil and write down ten of your needs or need-to-haves.

  1. I need ______
  2. I need ______
  3. ….

Map these needs to the categories on the pyramid. The rung where we have spelt out most of our needs is the area of primary focus in our lives currently. Figure out ways to address these at a broader level so that moving up a level becomes easier.

Our lives will predominantly remain in that layer, unless we consciously trigger a change by setting a goal at a higher level.


Wants are always aspirational, in other words nice-to-haves. We can live without them. Normal day to day lives will not be impacted if we do not have them.

Like you identified your needs above, list down your wants

  1. I want to _____
  2. I want to _____
  3. ….

Now, take a closer look at your wants. They reflect your personality.

Whether your wants are materialistic, spiritual, short term, long term, dreams, goals, hobbies, leadership, profession etc, these define what you would aspire in life. The more the distance between your needs and wants, the more of a dreamer you are! The more you work on your wants consistently, the more successful you will turn out to be!

If you are looking for growth, focus on the wants you have written down. These become goals you would work towards that have the ability to push you up the levels!

Skill yourself (or change your current path) appropriately to be able to accomplish your wants.

When you have accomplished some of your wants, try to do this exercise again. You will realize most of your needs are in the new zone!

Irrespective of your chosen profession, the breadth and scale of your growth is reflected in your wants and sustained efforts towards accomplishing them!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.