Good grief! What is this world coming to - doggie cupcakes, and at $2.49 apiece?! Who needs that?! (Well, if I were to be perfectly honest, my two dear unjudgmental companions do.) My dogs, sweet as they are, don't really need pupcakes. They have good food and I give them doggie vitamins to help them stay healthy. A pupcake (or a pig's ear, or a biscuit, or a dab of peanut butter on a chew toy) is something that simply enhances their life experience, or so I think, anthropomorphizer that I am.
The upside of wants
Wants work for us in that they motivate us to go the extra mile so we can have them. They are the carrot that keeps us going. They help us fulfill our image of ourselves, and our status among our peers. They can add to life's comforts - after all, why ride a bicycle and get all sweaty and tired when you can cruise into your parking space in a Lexus complete with leather interior, satellite radio and integral bluetooth? Why nuke TV dinners in the microwave when you can sit down and enjoy gourmet food where someone waits on you and does all of the dishes?
Internally, thinking about what you want can help you gain clarity, so you can determine what is the right action to take right now. If you don't know what you want you'll be a prime candidate to be pulled along by what other people want, and then later might feel regret or resentment because you haven't taken care of yourself. Asking yourself, "What do I want?" can help you prepare for difficult conversations, or it can plant the seeds for a goal that you'll pursue.
The downside of wants
The lure of the tangible things that we want (vs. that which we need) can pull us into overextending ourselves financially. Sure, it looks shiny and new, but how important is shiny and new in its function? I realize that it's pretty easy to come up with rationalizations about why you bought X. The whole pull of wants is emotional, and if someone is trying to sell to you the emotional hook is set when they give you some credible reasons to help you justify your feelings of want and pave the way for you to part with your hard-earned money.
Interaction between wants and needs
Needs are the requirements to get you to the next level of achievement in your goals- your wants. If you want to be a physician you need to graduate from medical school, you need to complete internship and residency. If you want to start a business you need adequate capital to sustain you during your startup. You must fulfill the need in order to achieve the want - it's mandatory if you don't want to fail.
Entrepreneurs have garnered billions of dollars by helping us as a society turn wants into perceived needs. We needed to be clean, and then they helped us "see" that we needed not only soap, but antibacterial soap and antibacterial hand gel. We used to need a stick to clean our teeth -now we need brushes, floss, water jets and a variety of pastes, gels and liquids to whiten, freshen breath, remove plaque, stimulate healthy gums, etc. Yesterday's option became today's requirement given effective marketing and societal acceptance.
When it gets down to it, how much of your life revolves around fulfilling needs vs. pursuing wants? What has been the impact on you? And most importantly, is that what you really want?