Need is a key term in a wide variety of academic theories and models, as well as business practices. Most notably, the psychological concept of need was popularized in 1943 by psychologist Abraham Maslow in his hierarchy of needs theory, which suggests that people have a series of physiological or lower order psychological needs such as food, water and shelter, which must be satisfied before higher order needs such as belonging and self-esteem can be met. The academic study of need reached its zenith in the 1950s and has since been largely replaced by a theory that places greater emphasis on individual choice.
Need has a number of synonyms, including want and necessity. Both words imply a lack or demand that must be met, but need has stronger emotional appeal than necessity, which can sound more impersonal or objective. The word need is used more frequently in everyday speech and writing, especially in the US, whereas the phrase necessity is more commonly found in academic texts and scientific journals.
Some of the earliest uses of the word need can be traced back to ancient Greek, where it was used as an adjective meaning “a thing that is necessary for something else to exist or be done.” The usage evolved over time to include its current definition of something that a person desires or must have in order to function normally and effectively in a particular context. The need for things is a fundamental human experience, although the need to be happy or fulfilled is less of an essential human need than the need to survive and feel safe.
When talking about personal needs, the most important step is to discover and identify them. One way to do this is to create and execute a needs assessment, which helps individuals uncover the root cause of their feelings. Then they can take action to meet those needs in a productive manner.
In the case of physical or emotional needs, it is possible to use a variety of strategies to fulfill them, such as meditation, exercise and counseling. However, for financial or career needs, it may be more difficult to find solutions that are as simple and straightforward.
It is also helpful to define the difference between a need and a want. A need is something a person must have in order to function normally and effectively, such as food and water. A want is a desire or wish for something that is not required for survival, such as a cheese burst pizza. Needs are also different from abilities, which refer to internal assets or capacities a person has in order to achieve certain goals, such as learning a new language or becoming a good cook. These skills can be developed through a variety of methods, including education and personal development programs. Lastly, it is important to understand that there are limits to needs and that some individuals will always have unmet needs.