Thursday, July 31, 2008

Needs vs. Wants

Something that I used to do when I was younger to get me focused and motivated on my goals was a needs and wants list. I used to sit down, and write down everything I thought I should have subdivided neatly into two categories – what I need and what I want. This helped me get focused on what I really needed and helped me set my priorities in a way such that I first achieved/got what I needed and then focused my energies on what I wanted. For some inexplicable reason, I stopped using this wonderful system. I decided this morning to sit down again and do just that. And I came to a very interesting conclusion:

My “needs” list was minimal – and most surprising of all – it did not contain anything material! I think I need more motivation for my work, and more time; but as far as objects or tangible things, I don’t need anything! My “wants” list of course is jam-packed with materialistic things – larger home, more money, more travel… And while these things might make life more enjoyable, right this moment I do not need them. All those things can wait until I graduate and get a job. I’m pretty amazed! I racked my brains for a long time to think of something I needed, and I couldn’t. I also concluded that if I had to search so hard something that I needed, it was probably not something that I really needed anyway!

Now if only I could find that extra motivation!

P.S. I have begun reading “Clarissa”. It so happened that the ISU library has a limited edition of the complete and unabridged novels of Samuel Richardson in nineteen volumes. Of these, volumes 12-19 hold the whole of “Clarissa”. I got the first two volumes today and began reading. It’s a bit heavy going since the English of the 1700’s beautiful as it was, was also quite a bit more complex than it is today. This book has some of the longest sentences I have ever read – often conveying more than one or two thoughts. But what I thought was an absolute pity was that this copy of “Clarissa”, published exactly a century ago this year (in 1908) has never been read by anyone before. How do I know this? I found that many of the pages were uncut. (Books published long ago often did not have all the pages separated at the time of binding, and often the pages needed to be sliced apart at the fold in order to create two pages.) I was cutting pages as I was reading and I felt sorry that so wonderful a novel had gone unread by anyone at ISU for a whole century. I have a good mind to ask the library if they would sell me the books – it’ll most probably be refused of course because of stupid rules and things – it’s most incredibly exasperating! I’ve read six of the letters in this epistolary so far – and it’s absolutely delightful!

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