As I sat at my desk putting some final touches on the 14-Month Plan (My Manifesto of sorts), I caught myself writing two post-it notes with the word NEED placed front and centre. It caused me to pause and consider if there truly needs, or wants…just ‘nice-to-have’s.
One of the lists included the need for five quotes and three recommended books to read. Can I get by without quotes and certain books? Certainly. They would be nice to have in order to bring my plan to completion. But need? No.
The second list was for a few things I wanted for my office. A magazine holder for my Writer’s Digest magazines, and a small desk calendar was as far as I got before stopping and noticing that my needs were quite petty. If I reflect on the needs of others, I am slightly ashamed. I know that I am blessed. In contrast with the entire world I am in the top percentiles, and odds are that you are as well. I don’t have to worry about cutting up newspaper so that I have toilet paper. I don’t have to worry about my kids dodging heroin needles on their way to school or the park. I don’t have to worry about the state turning on my heat as my family huddles under dirty blankets to keep warm. I didn’t need to visit the food bank so my children would have meals this week.
Suddenly my needs pale.
I would like to have five quotes and three recommended books. I’d like to have a magazine holder and a calendar. But need? No, not really. Time ticks on either way.
I challenge you to take a day, or at least a momentary pause to look at your language. “I just LOVE spaghetti.” “I HATE peas.” “I NEED a new iPhone.”
Everyone has a story. If you listen to someone else’s story and truly hear their struggles, your needs will become less – especially if you are able to help that person.