There seems to be a lot of confusion between needs and wants. Our culture and economy emphasize satisfying our immediate wants and ignoring our deepest needs.

What’s the difference? That deep yearning for the latest iPhone is a want. The satisfaction is transient. There’s a good chance you want it because you feel generally unsatisfied and the marketing genius behind the baubles has convinced you through advertising that the new thing will lead to happiness.

The desire to do meaningful work. The ache to have fulfilling days. The drive to have security for your family. Those things are core needs that will have a lasting impact on our happiness and satisfaction in life.

I think that the focus on trying to get quick fixes of happiness through the satisfaction of transient wants is one of the sources of our persistent discontent. If, instead, we put the same energy, time, and money toward our deepest needs, the impact would – literally – be life altering.

What wants are eclipsing your needs today? What progress could you make toward your needs if you redirected your focus to them?