We are happy when all our requirements are fulfilled. But before these can be fulfilled, we need to know what our requirements really are.

Before reading ahead, try to make a list of all the things that you feel you require for happiness. The list may include food, clothing, shelter, car, love, meaning, fame, respect and whatever else that you can think of. Go ahead, do it. I’ll wait.

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Now assuming that you have made your list, let’s classify these requirements into two types :

  1. Physical – The ones that you can see, touch, smell, etc.
  2. Non-physical – The ones that are related to the mind and feelings.

The physical ones would include things like food, home/office, clothes and accessories, means of transport, means of communication while the non-physical ones would include respect, compassion, meaning, fame, love, etc.

It is important to differentiate between these two requirements. Both of these requirements are quite different.

Let’s think about it. How many clothes can you wear? How much food can you eat? How many homes can you stay in?

Now on the flip side, how much love do you want from your parents? How much respect do you want? How much should people trust you?

So, one of the differences we see between Physical and Non-Physical requirements is that of quantity and quality.

PhysicalNon-Physical
These are quantitative. There is a specific quantity that’s needed. For instance, we can eat a fixed quantity of food, wear a single pair of clothes and so on.These are qualitative. We can’t measure the amount of love we need or the amount of respect we need. It’s about the quality of those feelings.

Thus we can see that physical requirements are measurable while non-physical requirements are immeasurable.

There is another difference. Physical requirements are directly connected to the body while Non-physical requirements relate to the mind. And because there is difference in make-up of the bodies, physical requirements are different for different people. But everyone wants complete respect, and complete love.

And the differences don’t stop there. Let’s look at the continuity of these requirements. How long do you want food? As long as you are hungry. Once you are full, the requirement is done. Similarly we keep changing our clothes based on seasons, day, etc. But on the other hand, Non-physical requirements are continuous. Even for a moment, we don’t want to lose respect or not be loved. We want perpetuity of these feelings.

Can you spot more differences? Add them to the comments below.

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