What Is a Need?


A need is something that a person requires in order to live or function well. This includes physiological requirements like food, water and shelter. It also encompasses psychological or emotional requirements, such as belonging and self-esteem. A need is often referred to as a “must” or an absolute requirement in the context of a process, since failure to meet it could result in illness, inability to function and even death.

The academic study of needs reached its zenith in the 1950s, but receives less attention today. A few psychologists still consider it an important concept to understand human behavior and motivation, and a useful framework for analyzing complex problems and designing interventions. One such theory is the Doyal-Gough Needs Model, which posits that humans have a set of distinct physical and psychological requirements in order to be happy and healthy.

Despite their similarities, needs and wants are not interchangeable. The major difference between these two concepts is that a need is essential for survival, while a want is simply a desire that is not required for survival. For example, someone may need a new apartment, but they would not necessarily consider that need to be a “must.”

To determine whether something is a need or a want, ask yourself if you can survive without it. The answer should be yes, or it is a want. For example, someone might have a strong desire to buy a new car or a luxury apartment. However, they could likely afford to wait until their financial situation improves before acquiring those items.

In grammar, the word need is an auxiliary verb that can be used with present participles, negations and conditional clauses. It is also possible to use it with the past participle of the verb to be, but this form is not as common in most areas of the United States. The auxiliary verb needs can also be combined with the preposition to, as in the phrase “to need something,” and is often shortened to just need.

When planning a budget, it is helpful to differentiate between needs and wants. Generally speaking, needs are expenses that you can’t go without (food, rent) and wants are add-ons that you can live without (designer clothes). It is important to try to take care of your basic needs before spending money on things you might not need.

Performing a Needs Assessment can help identify process gaps and opportunities for improvement within your organization. Gathering team feedback and hosting a brainstorming session are great ways to begin this process. Once you have collected all of the information, you can then transform the results into a report and action plan. Make sure that you include your team members throughout this phase to ensure that they feel heard and are involved in the decisions that will affect them. Needs assessments require collaboration and problem-solving skills, as well as out-of-the-box thinking. The right productivity software can help streamline these tasks and improve overall efficiency.