The Great Game Theory Guide: Lesson # 2 — Wants versus Needs

Image for post
Image for post
Photo By Lilia Harrison


Before we begin it may be of value for you to get an introduction to, and a simple explanation of the basics of game theory.

Below is an article (a-6 minutes read) as well as a more in-depth video to help you ease into the concept.

Both the article and video were created so they would be understood by a 12-year-old.

Image for post
Image for post

The Article:

The Video:


Q. Lewis, what is the difference between wants versus needs, and how is the distinction important in creating a winning strategy?

A. The distinction between wants and needs is both subtle and complex. Much of this complexity has to do with the concept of precision and accuracy of the measurement.

Precision In Harrison’s (Holistic) Applied Game theory is important in the development of winning strategies, and the application of specific tactics. Without precision, there is always the chance of chaos.

Wants versus needs can be a defining factor in applied game theory. Let’s explore want and need.

Image for post
Image for post
By Stuart Wainstock

In game theory, one of the most important elements is precision. Precise In Harrison’s (Holistic) Applied Game theory

What is a want? This becomes obvious as we become more self-aware. There is no test or chart or algorithm to measure this. Let’s say I want a special meal. A cheese sandwich? Let’s get specific — Raw Munster cheese, on toasted whole-grain hero bread (Hoagie, submarine, etc.). Lettuce and tomato, (with the lettuce cut to a string texture through a cheese slicing machine), dill pickle sliced thin, oregano, wine vinegar, and dark mustard. To this, ad lightly salted rippled potato chips and a Dr. Brown’s Celery Soda.

To me this is heaven. Give me this meal a moment before I die. Now, is this a want or a need? Well, we do need to eat. We do need simple pleasures for sure. Simple pleasures are a need. But what makes something a simple pleasure rather than a complex pleasure?

I can’t answer that for anyone, though I can certainly answer that for myself. Actually, it is a good item for mediation, contemplation, and ruthless introspection.

I pick this example because back in 1983–1984 I had this meal in an old retrospective movie house while watching “Gone with the Wind” for the first time.” Every time I remember that 3-hour experience endorphins race through my head and I slide into an ecstatic state. Just the memory of that experience.

So ultimately, being that we need to start somewhere in the exploration of want versus need I usually dive into Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs as a starting place. Of course, it is an intellectual approach, but it is a start.

Wants: One of my favorite movies for exploring the negative ripple effect of want is House of Games, as I previously mentioned.

The Trailer:

Need: One of my favorite movies for exploring the importance of exploring what is need is “Chronic”.

Without love, kindness, compassion, empathy, wisdom, beauty, and an appreciation of grace and of what is sacred. Everything becomes existential. To seek need, and to be an existentialist is to dwell in a state of confusion, chaos, and emotional drift.

The Trailer:

So what is the distinction between wants and need? Hell if I know for sure. I can say, as I often do when teaching, that there are two basic concepts to embrace.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Illinois Springfield

“When you’re ready, willing, and able, and you know what you need, all manner of unforeseen events and circumstances arise spontaneously, without discipline and without will power, to bring your vision to fruition. This is the essence of mindfulness and intention. This wu wei — the action without action.”

“When you live your life in doing what needs to be done, it appears to others as if you are doing nothing. This practice of doing what needs to be done what is called chop wood, carry water in classic Zen teachings. When you act on need, at whatever level you choose to (see Maslow) you immediately begin to experience greater efficiency, effectiveness, precision, productivity, and self-awareness. In this way you are able to maximize your potential on every level your actions require very little physical, mental, or emotional energy. In this experience, you seem to gain everything that is needed while doing almost nothing. This is the essence of wu wei.

To read more about how applied game theory can lead to happiness please check out this Story —
— — — — — –

I invite you to read, my regular blogs on game theory, and lifehacking and follow my posts and vlogs throughout the social network:

§ YouTube: The “Asklewis Lewis Harrison” channel,

§ Facebook Fan page:

§ Facebook Group and Forum: “Lewis Harrison’s Applied Game Theory”

§ Twitter: @AskLewisH,

§ General Podcast: Tips for Success

§ Contact me at (I promise to respond to you personally).

§ We offer a customized and personalize Course in Holistic Applied Game Theory: Become more effective, efficient, productive, innovative, and self-aware.

Image for post
Image for post
By Ask

Study Holistic Applied Game Theory A-Z and Beyond…2.2. Read the information below

Image for post
Image for post

Written by

I’m passionate about offering advice on creativity, innovation, inspiration, self-improvement, life lessons, mental health information, love, & movie reviews.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store