Wants and Needs: In Some Ways, Every Bit as Different as Night and Day.

downSo whadaya wanna do?

I dunno.

Whada you wanna do?

Heck, I dunno.

Ahh, the happy-go-lucky days of adolescence.

Not so much as a care in sight.

Not so much as a worry in the world.

Not a need to be had.

Maybe it’s been a while, but perhaps you too can recall this type of scenario as a happy-go-lucky/stir-crazy youngster, particularly during those dog days of summer when after a week or two of uninhibited fun n games old man boredom kicked in and you found yourself sitting curbside with a couple of your closest friends asking one another,

“So, whadaya wanna do?”

And there you‘d sit, arms folded across a pair of grass stained knees, head bowed down, perched and resting, as your eyes carom back and forth over an endless parade of worker ants scampering about beneath the soles of your sneakers.

Until, shh.



Is that the ice cream truck?

Then, moments later, the inevitable question:

“So, whadaya wanna do now?”

I recently happened upon a TV interview with a lady named Ruth. She was on in years and along with a number of other delightful insights maintained that one of the problems with young people these days (implying relatively young adults) is that they don’t have any needs.

“They have plenty of wants,” she alleged, “But no real needs.”

So, what do you think?

Ring true?

Yay or nay one thing’s for sure: in today’s culture we tend to harbor this insatiable urge to want something; something which we don’t yet have.

Something bigger, something better, something that someone else has and we want, but quite frankly, rarely if ever need.

And when it comes to getting our longing little hands on it?

Not a problem.

Simply sign on the dotted line or whip out a credit card and viola, within mere moments you’ve got virtually everything your hankering little heart can desire.

For the moment that is.

But now ask yourself,


In 2006 Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes, booked a trip to Argentina.

It was there in the midst of all the otherwise “conventional” tourist attractions that he saw a genuine need.

One that, whereas uncertain as to exactly how at the time, he was determined to help alleviate.

And it’s because of that dogged determination that today there are scores of Argentinean kids with shoes on their feet for the first time in their lives.

Yep, Blake found a need.

But more than that, he felt a need.

A need to go out and do something about something he felt strongly about.

And in this particular case it wound up making an epic difference in countless of people’s lives―including his own.

So again, what is it you need?

What (if anything) is it that’s tugging away at those heartstrings of yours?

Hint: Wants and desires? Fuhgeddaboudem.


Alright already, I get it Pat, but what if I don’t have that deeply ingrained need to be and/or do something?

What if unlike those who have found their calling…I haven’t?

What if I’m still on the fence?

What if after all these years I’m still sitting on that freaking curb asking myself,

“So, whadaya wanna do?”

Then check this out:

As it turns out Blake didn’t go to Argentina with the intentions of starting a shoe company.

The fact is, he was there on vacation, learning the tango, playing polo, and drinking Malbec (the country’s national wine).

Yet all the while he was taking in the sights and soaking up the local pop culture he also had the foresight to recognize what he calls, “intense pockets of poverty.”

And it was this simple yet shrewd observation that would eventually spark a revolutionary idea.

It only goes to show you never know when or where inspiration might strike.

And when you think about it, much the same can be said of one’s needs.

In the sense that, much like an inspiration, a need isn’t so much something you go out in search of.

It isn’t something you necessarily “pick and choose.”

Oftentimes it chooses you.

For the lucky ones (aka the “chosen few”) it can hit like a freight train early on in life.

For many of us however, it generally takes a little more rummaging; a bit more trial and error.

Did you know that while attending college Steve Jobs wasn’t interested in either business or electronics, but instead studied Western history and dance?

And for others…well, that deep down inherent need can be as elusive as an oversized sea serpent allegedly taking up residence in a loch somewhere near the Scottish Highlands.

We all have passions, says author Po Bronson, if we choose to see them.

However most of us don’t get epiphanies.

We don’t get clarity.

Our purpose doesn’t arrive neatly packaged as destiny.

We only get a whisper.

A glimpse.

A blank, nonspecific urge.

That’s how it starts.   

The point is it’s always prudent to keep your feelers out.

To be hyperaware of your surroundings.

Another good rule of thumb is to hone in on what’s nagging you.

(Notice I didn’t say tugging at your heartstrings. That’s because as we’ve just determined this simply isn’t always the case).

Nevertheless, I’m willing to bet there’s something ruminating around in that bustling cranial cavity of yours.

Something that keeps, “poppin up.”

And if that’s the case there’s a darn good chance it’s trying to tell you something.

That something’s missing perhaps.

That something or another just-ain’t-quite-right.

In which case, you can safely assume that something needs to change.

And there you go.

There you have it.


Let’s be honest, along with a multifold of frivolous wants and desires we all have authentic needs―needs that go way down deep.

And when you remain vigilant, sooner or later those needs are bound to find you.

Sometimes its destiny, sometimes its happenstance, at times even dumb luck.

Other times…well, you just gotta dig.

And you gotta continue to dig.

Because when you do, eventually you’ll hit pay dirt.

Eventually, you’ll find what it is you’ve always wanted.

And it’s then that you’ll no doubt discover that you’ve pretty much got everything you could possibly ever need.

See ya September 1st. Till then, keeep it up.

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