virgin islands scene

Tomorrow morning the critic will be gone, but the writer will still be there facing the blank page.
-- Steven Pressfield


Monday, February 5, 1996

It’s not what you need that counts

"I need to lose weight. I need more money. I need to spend more time with my family. I need a better job. I need to win the lottery. I need to finish that project. I need this. I need that."

We hear people saying these things all the time. Everyone’s telling us what they need.

Guess what? No one cares what you need. It doesn’t matter what you need. Your need is not a sufficient reason for anyone to do anything for you or give anything to you. It’s really not. Your need doesn’t accomplish anything. It doesn’t provide value. What you need doesn’t matter.

Some people devote a lifetime to needing. It gets them nowhere. We’ve recently witnessed the failure of communism as an economic system. The principle of “to each according to his need” is one that is doomed. No society can thrive for very long on such an assumption.

Not that we shouldn’t be compassionate. But our compassion should be directed, not at fostering and encouraging need, but at encouraging challenge and effort. If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach him how to catch fish, you feed him for a lifetime.

Which of the following statements do you find to be more powerful?

I really, really need to lose weight.

- or -

I’m committed to doing whatever it takes to lose 10 pounds this month.

It is not what you need that counts. It is what you do. You won’t get anything by simply needing it. Value and wealth and all the good things in life are created by effort. Express your goals in terms of desire and action. “I’m taking new steps every day to increase my earning.” And then take those actions. Don’t dwell on what you need, concentrate on what you can do. Get out of the dead-end “I need” mentality. And just do it.

— Ralph Marston

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Copyright ©1996 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All Rights Reserved. The Daily Motivator is provided for your personal, non-commercial use only. Other than personal sharing, please do not re-distribute without permission.