The 5 Basic Needs Of Life

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In looking at the 5 basic needs of life, let us first start with- “What is a need?”. I got this definition from Merriam Web star dictionary and it defines need as “Something that a person must have: something that is needed in order to live or succeed or be happy. 

The keywords I would like you to take note of here are ‘ must, living, succeed and happy’. ‘Must’ means must! So, living is a must, success is a must and happiness is a must. Simply put, a need is anything that is ‘a a must’.

However,  many people mistake ‘need’ for ‘want’. A want is something that you desire. It could be something important or not. It could be something capable of meeting a need or not, but it’s not a ‘must’. For instance, having a car is a want that could meet a need but it’s not the ‘must need’ because not having a car wouldn’t cost you your life. 

The 5 Basic Needs Of Life

Not having a car might limit you or even become a stressor but you cannot compare not having a car to not having food. You could die of hunger but you can’t die of having to take the bus or any other means of transportation because you couldn’t afford your own car.

It is true that meeting needs should provide happiness. However, why is it that people that have gotten their needs met still lack happiness? The simple reason for this is because they’ve taken their eyes off their ‘needs’ and have focused it on their ‘wants’. Guess what? “Wants” are not basic, so “wants” will never ever finish. “Wants” will keep you wanting more because your “wants” change all of the time. “Wants” are manufactured and customized every day so no one can ever catch up with them. 

It’s so sad today that some people actually sacrifice their lives for “wants” and end up losing their lives over “wants” even though they have achieved their needs. My purpose for writing this article is to make you realize what “needs” are and to let you know that you deserve to be very proud of yourself if all you’ve achieved are just your “needs” with little or no “wants”. 

Honestly, one of the things that kept me smiling and moving forward during my days of small beginnings was simply because I celebrated the needs that were met. Like, why shouldn’t I be happy after being able to achieve the most important things I would need for the rest of my life? Why should I be sad that I couldn’t achieve things that were just my “wants”? You can choose to be constantly grateful and happy for being able to meet a need.

Furthermore, needs are known, recognized, and celebrated by some governments. Some governments take it upon themselves to provide food, clothes, and shelter because they understand the importance and effect it has on lives. Again, you as an individual should be proud if you can do this as well. 

Let’s take a look at the “must” that will help you to realize what the needs of life are.

1. Food

Food is one of the basic needs of life. Food is what keeps the body moving and functioning. Therefore, food is a need because it could pose a threat to your life if you don’t have it. Hence, it is necessary to have something doing that will be able to provide food on the table for you and your loved ones. I am not saying that you should only work for food. 

However,  rather than turning down a low-income job or a small business idea that can provide food for you because you’re waiting on the “big job” that will meet up with all of your needs and wants, take advantage of the opportunity in form of that small job or business in order to get your need for food met first. 

It’s wise to take advantage of every legit opportunity that can meet your needs.

2. Clothes

Clothes are one of the basic needs of life because they are necessary in order to move amongst people freely without causing a “scene”. I think that wearing clothes is one practice that all traditions, religions, and the government can agree on. It’s illegal in most places to walk around naked, therefore, wearing clothes is a “need”. 

Thankfully,  there are different types and categories of clothes. If you can afford to wear clothes,  you are meeting a need and you should be very proud of yourself for being able to meet a need. Get what you can afford for now. Remember, the need is clothes to cover your nakedness and, not expensive designer clothes, those are “wants”

3. Shelter

Having a good shelter is one of the basic needs of life. Shelter means having a covered building over you to shield you from rain, sun, snow, wind, and danger. Good shelter is a need that if not met could pose a danger to your health and well-being.

I apologize if this might sound too harsh but I feel that this is a truth that would help someone. Don’t be squatting with someone and be dreaming or working towards achieving other big things like cars and all. 

If you’re a student,  it’s okay to have a roommate or squat with someone if it’s for security reasons,  but if you’re really thinking about starting a balanced life, independent shelter is a need that you should think of meeting first before thinking of any other thing. Ignoring “needs” and achieving “wants” might keep rotating around a particular spot for a long time because needs will keep pulling you backwards. But when you meet a need, you pass that level and move on to another. 

You can choose to manage a smaller shelter for now, but don’t depend on another person’s shelter and be trying to focus your eyes on bigger things like buying a Rolex wristwatch because that isn’t a need, it’s a “want”.

Therefore, Shelter is one of the needs that you should work to get.

4. Healthy Living 

Good health is one of the basic needs of life. Healthy living is living free from sicknesses. How healthy you are can determine how happy you’ll be. I’ve met some people that believe that it is normal not to be completely well or it’s impossible to be completely healthy. 

Well, being completely healthy is a possibility and very achievable. It is my belief that if you know that living healthy is a “need”, then it’s something that you will invest in starting from eating healthy meals, exercising properly, and keeping your environment clean.

5. Relationships

Relationships are one of the basic needs of life especially when done right. Relationships are part of your everyday life. It’s a need because it can affect your life, job, and happiness if not done properly. Hence, having the skills for a good relationship is a need you should meet in life. 

Furthermore, depression is also something that could affect your life and some depression is caused by loneliness. If you achieve everything in life and don’t have anyone to share it with, you’ll still feel unfulfilled and unhappy. So, in your quest to meet your “wants”, also meet the “need” of having and nurturing great relationships. 

Also check out, ” 5 Reasons Why Your Friendships Don’t Last.


Having identified the needs in life, needs and wants must be understood and prioritized. This will help you to arrange things in a sequence. When you do this, you’ll begin to realize how successful you already are and this will bring you so much happiness. 

I hope that after reading this article, you won’t stop achieving more because all your needs have been met but you also won’t continue your journey to your dreams feeling unfulfilled or pressured because you have many pending “wants” meeting your needs is worth being very proud of.

Having this mindset will help you attain your goals faster than if you would if you were carrying the “I’ve not arrived” attitude around on your shoulders. 

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