How often do you evaluate your needs vs. wants?
This question is not to a person who is evaluating survival vs. living but to a person who is managing to live life reasonably well.
We may never admit it openly, but consciously or sub-consciously, we all do it at one level or the other. In the yogic discipline, we learn to do it consciously. Yoga teaches us to learn to be aware, aware of the difference between a need and a want (desire).
Being consciously on the path of Yoga has helped me question my needs vs. wants on a regular basis (actually a little more than my family will like 🙂
Latest object to come under my scrutiny? My cell phone. I’ve had a great calling plan on my iPhone with a good carrier for a long time. Earlier in January, it came up for renewal and I started questioning my need vs. want:
Do I need a new iPhone?
Better still, do I need a smart phone at all?
I am the stay-at-home parent and do freelance writing work and Yoga workshops from home. I have an iPad and an iMac, so technically I am well resourced. So why the smart phone?
No smart phone. Back to a regular cell phone.
Only one old-school regular cell phone available on service provider’s website.
Do I really need a cell phone?
Our family situation is unique. Between my husband and I, one of us always stays home with the kids or we step out as a family.
No cell phone.
I am not being irresponsible, as I understand the benefits of carrying a cell phone. So I decided, for emergencies, I could use my husband’s when I step out on my own.
So how do I (the parent at home) stay connected for safety and genuine connectivity?
Hello fancy world-calling plan and an ever-reliable phone instrument with a practical headset (all for a steal deal).
My husband thought it was a bad idea. After much explanation and arguments back and forth, I presented him with this deal: “let me try it out for a month and if after a month, you feel I need to buy a cell phone, I will”. At the end of February, I asked him if I should go buy one, and he smiled: “no, you don’t need to”.
Relaxation. Inner connectivity. Being present in the moment – be it playing with the kids, reading to them or even watching TV. No constant typing to find extra information on the show or movie on TV. Total presence.
Honestly, I don’t miss having a cell phone as a want, it is now need-based.
It is not that I am tempted to use my husband’s cell phone. The purpose of the whole journey is to recognize what I really need and what I really want. For wants can snowball into uncontrollable desires that negatively affect our mind-body balance, taking us away from our core work.
I am sharing my journey of self-evaluation with you, as it has practically played out in my life, it is not a tool to judge others or criticize anyone. When I took my first Internet break, six months ago, I learnt some valuable lessons and as a self-control training, I allocated fixed hours to be on social media. Now, I don’t need fixed hours, as I learnt to control my time on social media.
These exercises of self-evaluation and self-restraint have helped me connect with my inner self and I have learnt to control and manage my time in the virtual world. As a result, I am able to dedicate more time to my children, to do my core work and be present in the moment.
I am happy to share that two of my projects have found acceptance in the academic research world. (That explains my long absence from the blog as well)
But here’s an important aspect of this journey: this evaluation should be continuous, for situations change, and Yogic philosophy is contextual, and not set in stone. Once I start stepping out separately for work, or our family situation changes, my want for a cell phone will become a need and I will buy one.
Hopefully by then, I will master to use the cell phone, as a need-based instrument.
Anu, this is excellent. Taking stock and deciding what is needed versus what is merely wanted is a great exercise, and one I try to get myself to engage in often (with varying success!). Your post is timely, too, as I posted today on the related topic of using resources wisely: what to do with your wealth in a world of poverty.
Thanks for helping me think about this today,
The mere fact that you are consciously aware of doing it is a great exercise in itself Tim. I just read your post: isn’t that a sad reality?
All the time!
I listened to your show on RedFM. I got uplifted. Thanks for sharing.
I am glad you could connect.