My professional and personal life has been tremendously impacted by a story I read where the Israelites had a conversation God about what they needed.
“We need a king” they said.
“You have me, why do you need a king? I guide you, protect you, and give you what you need” he replied.
“We need a king. Everyone else has a king.”
“You don’t need a king. He will eventually oppress you and tax you.”
“We need a king! We want a king!”
The story plays out with God finally giving the people what they wanted. Sure enough, it didn’t work out well. Their leadership changed from a spiritual leader to a human leader. The kings took advantage, taxed them, and created all kinds of human political mess.
I am careful to challenge what I think I need. I just don’t know enough. There have been times I was sure that I needed “this” or “that” only to find out that life was so much better without either.
Here are few things I do when determining what I need:
- Look Economically – If the reason to buy a hybrid is to save money on fuel but I have to spend $15,000 more, I calculate how many years of gas I can buy for that expense. If I need to add sales and time to make more profit, I look for existing and underused capacity to make more per sale. You get it.
- Look for the Tradeoff – I usually have to give something to get something. Getting a “need” has at times resulted in an overall failure in another area or a cost that I didn’t really expect or want to pay.
- Look Behind – I take a look at what might be driving my need from behind. I take a look for greed, envy, discontent, expectations, the need to compete, and illogical things.
- Look Away – I look away from others. This is central to the king issue with the Israelites. They wanted what everyone else had and went blind to how incredible they had it. In fact, most of those societies around them were envious of the Israelites wealth and success.
- Look Toward – I also look toward my mentors to check me. They know me and they are ahead of me. I hope you have trusted smart people in your world!
- Look Ahead – I step back to my core goals that should not change. Some of mine are graciousness, loyalty, being a great husband and father, enjoying today like it might be my last, and love.
My goal is to check myself without going too crazy. I just try to make myself think creatively before owning a need. I want what is best for me.