Be Careful What You Want

Rod Pickett
2 min readMay 13, 2024

You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.
Eric Hoffer

You don’t want everything you want.

Children are not the only ones who want what they notice others have.

Suddenly, their very existence depends upon possessing the toy being enjoyed by a sibling.

Our 65” HD TV looks awesome until we watch the Superbowl at our buddy’s house on his 85” Neo QLED 8K Samsung.

Now, March Madness would be ruined if we had to watch the games on our vintage technology.

The English philosophers Jagger and Richards tell us we can’t always get what we want.

They suggest we should be satisfied with getting what we need.

The line separating wants and needs, however, is not so clear.

Yesterday’s wants become today’s needs and tomorrow’s human rights.

It’s more helpful to make sure that we want what we wish for.

We are often like the spoiled child who demands the sibling’s toy only to be bored with it five minutes later.

The child only thought they wanted it because they saw their sibling enjoying it and were convinced they were missing out on one of life’s greatest pleasures.

We’re not much better than the spoiled child at knowing what we want.

Our wants are often a superficial expression of our deep desires.

We want connection with others, and we interpret that as a craving for Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey.

The ice cream makes us feel better for a while, but it doesn’t satisfy the deeper longing.

No amount of ice cream will satisfy our deeper desire for human contact.

And while we are at home indulging our sweet tooth, we are limiting our opportunities to connect with others.

Shallow wants can prevent us from fulfilling our deeper wants.

There is another type of want that can trip us up.

Impulsive wants often distract us from our long-term wants.

We have a project that we want to finish.

But we don’t think about why we want to finish it. Instead, we tell ourselves that we have to finish it.

Meanwhile, we learn that a new season of our favorite Netflix series has just dropped.

We want to binge-watch the whole thing right now.

But we have to finish this boring project.

Even if we force ourselves to work on it, our heart will not be in it because we want to watch the series.

We don’t need more willpower. We need more awareness of our long-term wants.

We don’t always want what we want.

But we just might find we want what we need.

— Rod Pickett

Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook, an Eric Hoffer Award Finalist, a must-read for anyone seeking inspiration and guidance. Get your copy today.



Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, personal trainer, consultant, trained hypnotist, woodworker and life-long learner.