Sometimes we toss around a word purely out of the habit of using it, yet other times to unintentionally describe the habits we have formed. I don’t know about you, but for me, “need” is one of them. As in, “I need this or I need that. It seems so innocent … and ultimately so addictive.

Needs are relative … and relatively important.

I have frequently found paradoxical wisdom in a quote who’s author I have yet to find: The richest person in the world is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least.

One might come to a thoughtful conclusion that it is, therefore, wise and important to manage your needs. Yet, will power and self-imposed restrictions only go so far and frankly are not very inspiring or fulfilling. The problem with such a disciplined approach is that the expended energy is aimed as point of resistance … or containment.

In Return on Integrity, I noted the importance of behaviors, wants, needs and core values alike. More importantly, I noted the importance in which direction the four of them flow. In the absence of clearly defined core values the flow is most certain to be from left to right … behaviors defining wants defining needs determining core values. In that flow, it’s only a matter of time until we start needing what we want rather than wanting what we need.

Ultimately, we are kneaded by our needs!

Clearly defining core values reverses the flow to where our core values inspire a set of needs that nurture wants collectively informing our behaviors.

In this natural flow, our energy is spent engaging our needs rather than resisting them. The richest may not be the one who needs the least after all. The richness of our needs is much more about the source than the quantity.

As always, I need to hear your thoughts! Please share below!