Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Want vs. Need #26

November 25th 2009

Want vs. Need

It’s interesting looking at these 2 driving aspects as they seem to flow in and out of my life as I get older. When I first moved to London, I was very much motivated by need. I needed a place to live, I needed a visa to get a job, I needed a job in order to stay, etc. That being said, I didn’t need to be in London, but I wanted to be here, badly. During my first few years in recruitment, the need was replaced by want. I wanted to be the top biller, I wanted to buy a new watch, I wanted to be good at what I did. Need then slips back into the picture as I got a bit more mature and realised I needed job satisfaction.

When you are learning about what motivates people, the stick versus carrot theory always comes up. People either move toward something (carrot) or away from something (stick). Depending on what they are, is how you push and motivate them. But as always, things are never that simple. I have now had over a month off to let the dust settle and really look at where I am in my life. Sometimes I am proud and happy and other times I feel a bit behind. I also feel as though I am at a stage where the want and the need are very blurry. I clearly want to move back to California, as I don’t necessarily need to. I could’ve continued on with my life here, however, I knew that I needed this major change.

I am also interested in analyzing the wants vs. need in the highly successful people that run much of the business world. It would seem that in the early days of a business, need is often the driving factor. Perhaps you have small children and need to provide a certain life for them. Or maybe you need funding to even get the business off the ground. Obviously desire will be driving everything in those early days, but I bet it feels like more than desire. I bet it feels like you need to make this work, that failure is not an option. But what happens to them when it’s 5-10 years on, they are successful and don’t need to work. Pretty much every single one of the world’s top entrepreneurs have been a stage in their career where they don’t need to work. But they do. They often times work harder. So is this where the want takes over and they now have set their desires even higher? Or are they still driven by that same need as those early days and now they are just playing on a different level? The answer I am sure varies amongst each person and is probably very personal.

The reason I bring it up now as I am struggling with my own wants and needs and which one seems to prevail in motivating me. I am a tricky one to motivate and always have been. I am so polarizing in my all or nothing approach to life that it’s hindered me along the way as much as it has helped me. My Dad has always told me “Corre, life is about moderation, everything in moderation.” It’s a lesson that I struggle with to this day. When I am on, I am on fire. When I am interested in something, I am voracious. When I want something and I mean really want something, I get it. The list of things in life I have wanted that I have not gotten is short indeed. Why? Because when the scales do tip, and the want turns into a need for me, I stop at nothing to get it. But if the want is only a moderate want, then I do just enough to get by, with enough high points and successes dotted in that I don’t seem like a complete failure. Believe me this is not easy to admit, but it’s true.

So as I approach 30, approach a new career, what will I feel I need going forward? It’s a strange concept as “need” is so relative. I used to be really motivated by my need to win and I still am. But I no longer feel as though I need to prove myself. London was only about proving myself to myself anyway if I am really honest. So while I am sure I will always struggle with my want vs need, I think it will only get more interesting as I get older and my responsibilities in life get greater. I am going to enjoy these last few years of want for what they are worth because one day I will have a family, and I can only imagine that my wants will become second to others needs which is a concept that, at least right now, is still very foreign.

Also, don't forget to check out Whiskey, Women and Gold in Here is the City, if you haven't already.


  1. Great post - motivation is always a key factor to understand - especially with those people around you.

    I believe that, in order to "be the best" at something, and become a world name at it (Trump, Branson, Armstrong, Gladwell, Kiyosaki, Buffett, Robbins, Gates and the crew) you have to fall in love with the process, never the outcome (which is normally the money). The greatest achivers would do what they do for free if they had to.... When it stops being about the money and people still do it, thats when they become great.

  2. Really interesting ideas and questions Corre. Nice comment from Paul too.

    Personally I believe that when I am at my happiest and most effective I do not analyse my motivations as everything becomes so natural. Business like sport and music has a rhythm and when things are going well it becomes almost effortless.

    You have a unique opportunity to reflect at the moment which allows you to ask interesting questions about motivations etc. I believe that once you get to California and engulf yourself with your new career and lifestyle such questions may well evaporate.

    I believe that with the majority of decisions we make we have tens if not hundreds of motivators. It is possible to choose any one motivator and expand on this as your key reason for making a decision but arguments could often be made for many other reasons.

    This is why instinct is such a gift and if I can trust my instincts to take everything in to consideration without deliberating I can save a great deal of time and stress and become highly effective.

  3. Mark, you sound like you are in your zone which is awesome. I agree, when everything is clicking into place then you are seriously along for the ride and enjoying every second, of no one which feels like "work". It is strange having time to think as most of my thoughts come to me at night right before I fall asleep and then I forget them all... probably a good thing. But you are right in that instints rarely let one down. Hell, mine told me to move back to Cali so something must be working!

  4. To use a quote from the criminally under-rated 1994 motion picture 'With Honors', (starring Joe Pesci, Moira Kelly and Brendan Fraser): "winners forget they are in a race - they just love to run".

  5. A great post for thought!! We all struggle with wants vs needs. When we are younger we just don't seem to define the difference as well. As for proving yourself or your passion; that need/want is a great motivator and the fuel that drives us forward! Keep challenging yourself and keep wanting to learn what really makes you happy!