the pursuit of happiness
CP Krishnan Nair has worn several hats in his 90 years: soldier, businessman, hotelier and, always, patriot
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well, you just might find
You get what you need
—The Rolling Stones
As a hard-working, ambitious, rational person, you prefer hard facts to fluff.
So allow me to share two formulae with you:
- Dissatisfaction∞Unmet Desires (dissatisfaction is directly proportional to unmet desires)
- Desires = Needs + Wants
Dissatisfaction is born in the fire of unmet desires. A deeper look reveals that desires include both wants and needs, but people mistakenly think of one as the other. They are different.‘Wants’ are things that you would like to have whereas ‘needs’ are things that your survival depends on. The new car that you want? The promotion? A TV with a bigger screen? Holidays in Europe? These are ‘wants’.
Water, food, shelter, reasonable health, family and friends — these are ‘needs’. You know this intellectually but I am not just making a semantic point — needs and wants are emotions attached to objects of desire, and experienced on a pre-verbal, deeper, non-rational level. When your mind mislabels an object of desire as a ‘need’ rather than a ‘want’, you become stressed and restless until you attain the desired object. And when you mistake the object of desire for something that your survival depends on, you hold your breath, you become tense, and you don’t relax until you get that object of desire. Of course, this is exhausting because, while needs are limited, wants are never-ending. Once you attain one thing, another ten come up in its place, like the heads of a demon. You can slay this demon of desire only when you differentiate between your wants and needs.
There’s no need to postpone life anymore. You have enough. You are enough. You are already complete. To paraphrase Mick Jagger: You can’t always get what you want, but you already have what you need.
Dr Shyam Bhat , Psychiatrist, integrative medicine specialist