If you are not fulfilled: you can either do what you do and hope for the best, or you can learn and do things differently. Latter option is what I try to do, and often times I succeed. Doing things differently is challenging the status quo, coming up with new solutions, perspectives, ideas, visions, putting testing those and if they work, then it can be a success that can further be incrementally improved.
Needs versus desires
In my quest of life, I’ve noticed that it’s not even the desires. It’s not wants. It’s the needs. It’s what I need.
Through past eight years, I finally notice myself in a happy place: I’ve worked hard to be in a place with very few wants. My most consumed drink is water and I eat healthy: broccoli is my favorite, combined with all kinds of salads, nuts and other rather normal food. The more processed foods I avoid most of the time.
In comparison to 2009 Janne for example:
- Caffeine I do not consume regularly, tea on occasion.
- I rather avoid sweets than consume them: I simply do not have the habits for that. I simply don’t feel any cravings for sweets at all.
- Alcohol I consume selectively and occasionally, most importantly in small and enjoyable doses.
Making the distinction between wants and needs
To identify desires and wants from needs, we need to do inner work. What do you need to live, depends what do you want to do in life. Most needs and wants can be absolutely separated if when we examine close enough.
This examination is essentially asking over and over again, do I really need this?
Most of the wants do not pass this examination at all. We just want what we have used to. This is the classic case of sandwich with too many toppings, even though just the bread would be fine. I first thought that I need sandwich with cheese, salad and ham on top of my sandwich, until I tried bread with just cheese and top, survived without while being happy. At first actually I didn’t feel happy or satisfied, only after a significant amount of time had passed I had got used to the new normal.
We need to identify what we really need, and what is good enough. Then what needs are being met, which are unmet.
Fulfilling the needs
If we do not have enough resources (time, money, etc.) to fulfill our discovered needs, or even existing needs, then we need to reallocate those resources.
In a basic way this has been what I’ve been doing for the past eight years, even though I haven’t been able to articulate that very well until now. I described earlier that I dropped the ham and salad from my sandwich some years ago. Without going to the discussion any more than this: this symbolically means I get to survive with less financial resources and allocate them to somewhere else.
We need to take one thing at a time. I usually eat two healthy warm meals a day. Although that number could be more, it’s very good compared to my past record. Same goes for the bread which I often have as a snack, although I’ve dropped them ham and even salad, well I still have salad sometimes because it is healthy, ham never, because I discovered I do eat enough protein in a day already and I don’t want to partake more than I have to the animal suffering.
We can only get better problems in this world. This is incremental improvement. When we adjust our life like this, and then allocate to the needs that matter the most, we begin move ahead.
Two steps for happier, more fulfilling and satisfying life:
- Discover your needs and prioritize them in a way that they create energy and capacity to your life.
- Allocate all your resources to fulfill and support your needs by cutting the wants.
These two steps are the magic that life happy and fulfilling over time. I.e. I’ve done the changes I described earlier past eight years. Remembering i.e. that it has been a year since I decided to consume tea as a habit every day, but rather save it for enjoyable occasions. Just thinking about it brings bliss no money can buy, and on occasion I actually enjoy tea it brings me to appreciate the cupful even more.
All good things happen through time and when we are talking about time, it’s good to do it as habits. You are the collection of your habits. So begin my analyzing your habits, and the way you could modify those habits to support your needs better.
If you want to read further about habits I can at least recommend: The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.
Have a nice Saturday!