Minimalism- Needs and Wants.

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling.”
― Robert M. Pirsig


Last week, I discussed about how to begin with Minimalism. It starts with de-cluttering your thoughts and knowing your own self. To know. To accept. Then to let go or to react.

If you’ve haven’t read it yet, do so. I am waiting. *Tick Tick*

Done? Awesome. Now, since the day, I have published that particular post, people have asked me that, “I have realized that I require change. I accept all those things. But what next? What do I do to actually embark upon the journey of Minimalism?”

That’s an awesomely valid question.

Because as it happens that often, we’re confused about what to do next once we know that we wish to embark upon a journey. That’s fair.

In this journey of Minimalism, you categorize next.

To categorize. Needs and Wants.

So as it always happens on That Indian Minimalist- sit on a chair, make a cup of coffee, relax and give me 8 minutes. Let me guide you through the next. What I require in return is that you just don’t read it and feel inspired but actually do. Do. Take action. Change your lives. Do me that favor.

What are needs?

Needs. The essential. Clothing, food, water, shelter. Needs. But funnily, today we need much more than the essentials. We say, I need this and I need that. So, what do you need? A car, a x-box or a chocolate fudge? What?

Just list it down.

All your needs. Remember, as soon as, you make something (or someone) into a need. You’re dependent on it (or them). Remember.

So what do you need to live a life? To what thing (or person) you’re ready to give that status of needing? Do you think about it consciously? Ever? Think. Now is the time. 

What are wants?

Wants. Something (Or someone) you want. What do you want? A house, a car? A bigger house or a bigger car? A meaningful life perhaps? Or a hamburger? What is it that you want? Remember- wants are crucial. Both short term and long term.They play a significant role in making you happy. But also remember- if you over-indulge in them, you’ll be anxious and quite opposite of happy.

List them down.

All your wants. Each and every single of them. Realize your wants decide your state of mind. Happy or sad? Content or anxious? And how much do you want exactly? And what do you want exactly? And why do you want it exactly? Realize. Honestly and brutally.

Categorize. In needs and wants. What do you need?

Do you remember when last time a want became a need?

You converted a want into a need. You increased your dependency over. Now you believe that you cannot live without. Few years ago, you wanted a smartphone. Now, you need it. Few years ago, you wanted the internet. Now, you need it. Few years ago, you wanted a bigger house and bigger car. Now, you need them.

Do you really need it? Or have you given into the want? Or societal perceptions? Or status? Or just to fill the void of unhappiness? Or perhaps you believe getting more stuff or needing more things will keep you happy.

Remember that time, don’t you?

Do you really need the things that you believe you need?

Do you really need what you believe you need? Do you? Only you can decide. Need is a heavy term. Did you think before giving something (or someone) that status. Are you happy with your needs? Do you feel fulfilled? Are you sure those are your needs and not wants? Are you?

Think. You might need- you might not. But consciously, think. I ask you to. Need is a dependent term. Think consciously of who or what you give that status to.

Do you remember when you gave into a want?

We all have been here. We all. Remember the last time, you couldn’t resist giving into something? You had that itching, that itching of guilt. But the temptation was stronger. Much stronger.

Later, you gave yourself reasoning. But in your conscience, you knew, you gave in. You fell weak. Such decisions accumulate over time and they suck your happiness. Because, you know the want is not good for you. You’re aware. But you still gave in. You did.

Do you remember when you converted countless likes into a want and then the need?

We all like things. That car, that house, that dress, that stereo, that pen, that pencil. We like it. But, we don’t buy them. Or indulge in them. Because, we realize that they don’t add much value in the life.

We say to ourselves, “I like that dress, a lot. But I don’t need clothes at this time.”

But many times, we do indulge. We do. We make simple likes- first our want and then our needs. This transformation, unless, completely worth the value will eat you up.

Stop making liking into wants and then further into needs. Why will you do that? Resist the temptations. Resist them. For good.

Needs and wants- both are crucial. You obviously need things and you’ll want things as well. They both are essential to live a content and happy life. But the problem starts when you start to need more, start to want more and make every want your need.

Probably, you must be thinking by now. Isn’t it too difficult?

It is.

But it is not a magic lamp, that will instantly make you happy. Or content. Or make your life meaningful.

This is a flower in a beautiful garden. It takes time. After efforts from the gardener, in terms of water, fertilizers and weeding and little help from the universe- it blossoms. And its fragrance lingers everywhere. Not only, it is beautiful itself but if you go near it, it will make you happy with its fragrance and beauty.

You’ll feel happy eventually. You’ll feel content. You’ll grow. And soon like the flower, you’ll start to blossom. And you too will start making people around you feel special and happy.

Minimalism is a tough journey.

It is simple.

But most things that are simple to look at are tough to implement. So is it.

But it is worth it. Everything. And nothing worth having ever comes easy.

What do you feel about needs and wants?

Let me know via comments.

*Part of the series, “The Minimalist Thursdays”- Check out the previous entry here.


25 thoughts on “Minimalism- Needs and Wants.

  1. I think I jump from like to need thinking and skip the want part a lot. I tend to believe the lie that I can express myself and who I am with clothing/jewelry and somehow set myself apart with unique items. But I know that even if this were to be true, it would only be in a small superficial prideful way. The best ways to make connections are not through material possessions. I liked the comment that as you get older or get different jobs you tend to think that you need more and your requirements go up. I’ve always tried to counteract this force, but am usually not very successful.

    • I know and can totally relate to what are you saying. I too used to believe that clothing, accessories and other such superfluous material things determine my self-worth and the position I hold in the eyes of the society.

      As you grow up, you get more and more tied to the perceptions and opinions of the society. Slowly but gradually, you start doing things per se societal perceptions and you pretend to be someone you’re not and try to change yourself.

      Don’t lose heart. Unlike many others, you’re at least aware that such things are facade. True connection, true happiness and true bliss might be complimented by material possessions but can never originate from it.

      I loved your honesty. At least, you accept, you’re not always successful. Be that way. Thinking consciously and questioning choices is the first step towards any change.

      You’re doing good. Thanks for stopping by on my blog. Keep in touch 🙂

  2. It definitely gets easier, the more you don’t buy things, the less you want them, and then you start to only look at the things you need, and ask yourself if you really need them. I remember when I used to shop for clothes, I’d buy something I liked. But then I realised, there will always be something I like. That item won’t be the last thing I like ever. So now I won’t buy clothes until I need them. And as I’d like to half my wardrobe (I still think it’s far too big), as things wear out I won’t be replacing them until I have less. I’m pretty good with most material things, but there’s still areas I struggle with… like food. I love food and cooking, and I can always justify to myself buying more ingredients. But my pantry is far too full, and it’s an area I need to let go of. I don’t need 3 months worth of supplies! The first step is identifying that I want to change, and the next one is learning to watch my thoughts and cravings and let the wants and needs pass. That is one of my goals for this year : )

    • True that 🙂

      Since the time, I have realized that I spend too much on things that I consider needs. And I indulge myself too quickly in the wants. But it does gets easier, now before giving into any want or considering anything a need- I think more then twice. I think whether it is worth that status or not. And, I love it that I am consciously choosing everything in my life.

      Ah, yes. Food is an area where I am also yet to cut down. I used to eat out a lot. I used to spend on eating out like crazy. I have drastically reduce that expense as well. But, I think I still have a long, long way to go.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such an insightful comment. I really loved your steps. I will surely adopt those.

      Keep reading. Cheers! 😀

  3. This is a good read! I like the 8minutes and a cup of coffee. I think recognizing that we categorize many wants as needs is a major step towards truth. When I wanted to stay home for a year with a new baby we cancelled tv, cell phones, traveling, washed cloth diapers, and ate lots of beans and rice (and coffee). Many friends don’t consider turning off satellite tv or cell phones an option, and tell me how lucky I was that I could afford not to work for a year. It wasn’t luck! It was careful planning and evaluation. We decided our need was for me to be with our baby until he was a year old.
    Now he’s two, and developing language, he is learning to say “I need this.” Instead of, “I want this.” Even at the young age of two, we use language to convince ourselves that wants are truly needs. My poor little guy has shed lots of tears lately but I hope he is learning that he can survive without that Harry Potter wand he loved so much at the bookstore!

    • Thanks for such a beautiful comment, it means a lot.

      Yes, true often we use societal perception and as you correctly pointed out- language to convince ourselves of certain things that are not actually that way.

      I often feel uncomfortable when a person is too much dependent on a thing or worse a person.

      I think your child is really lucky to have such a thoughtful parents who understands the real way to live the life and not the superfluous one. Yes, he will understand. He will shape up as you shape him up. I have noticed, even at such young age myself, that most often than not it is our surroundings that make us what we are more than our own self.

      Make him curious and make him question everything.That’s the only thing he needs to be, to be happy 🙂

  4. I love how you write, “do you remember the last time a want became a need?” This is something I think about a lot- I think it is one of the main keys to minimalism and simplicity. As people get older and make more money, they seem to constantly “upgrade” their lifestyles. It can become very difficult to go backwards and minimize. Someone who once rode a bike everywhere and lived in a small simple apartment, suddenly thinks that two cars and a 4 bedroom house with two sitting rooms is necessary. Excellent post!

    • Thanks a lot. Means a lot that you liked it.

      True. More often than not, we live as per the societal perceptions and we also considered needing more or wanting more as a parameter of success.

      More often than not, it is quite opposite. Wanting and needing more only makes us more anxious.

  5. This happened to me today as a direct result of project333. I saw a sale in a favourite Shie shop, with pretty shoes my size. But I realised I don’t need them, they don’t fill a gap in my wardrobe, and no doubt any pleasure would have been short lived. Great post 😉

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