What has the biggest impact, wants or needs?

What has the biggest impact, wants or needs?

On average, I speak to 30 to 50 people per day. Sometimes they can be customers whom I have never met before but most of the time they are teams I work with both within and outside my organisation. One of the most common words I hear is ‘want’ in statements such as:
• I want to be successful
• I want to build my team
• I want to travel
• I want career advancement
• I want to do more sales

My question is why are the above only wants? Why are they not described as needs?

Here is a list of things I want in life:
• A big house
• A fast car
• Travel to space
• Gold, diamonds
• Expensive watches, etc. and so on.

In my opinion, the difference between wants and needs is that if you do not get what you want you still have the choice not to have it and life goes on. However, with needs, it is something you must have in your life and it is not a choice.

I would like to reference Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Maslow used the terms “physiological”, “safety”, “belongingness”, “love”, “esteem” and “self-actualization” to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through.

Maslow wanted to understand what motivates people. He believed that people possess a set of motivation systems unrelated to rewards or unconscious desires. Maslow (1943) stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs. When one need is fulfilled i.e. psychological needs, or air, food, drink, shelter, warmth and sleep, a person seeks to fulfil the next one, and so on. One must satisfy lower level basic need before progressing on to meet higher level growth needs. Once these needs have been reasonably satisfied, one may be able to reach the highest level called self-actualization.


Source image:’s_hierarchy_of_needs

I am fortunate to have met many successful people over the years. I’ve found that the common denominator with all these successful people is they all have the need to be successful and for ‘self-actualization’ – realising their personal potential, achieving self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth when they start their career. It is not a choice for them.

If you work every day as if you need to be successful, then you will be successful. I have learnt in life that having no choice is the best choice you can have. As much as you need oxygen, food and water to live, you do need the big house, to travel overseas and in general, to be successful. In order to achieve success, you need to work as if you have no choice. A small change in attitude from ‘I want’ to ‘I need’ will help you in the long run.

Usually, people who want to be successful, wait around for things to happen to them. However, people who have a need to be successful or realise their self-actualization, go out of their way to make things work for them. They do not wait around, but instead pursue their goals, as they need to be successful.

So, how do you change your attitude from ‘I want’ to ‘I need’? It is actually not complicated. If you know why you need to be successful, then you will find a way to make it happen. Ask yourself: what are your reasons to work? What is your motivation to move forward when everything is against you? Why do you take one more step when everyone you love says otherwise?

You need to find out why you do what you do. It requires a shift in mind-set from thinking about wants and needs and once you do this, you need to find a way to make things happen.

Vishnu Annapareddy, Organisational Head, Centurion Marketing Group, Malaysia.