What truly constitutes as personal happiness to you?
Most of us are in the pursuit of happiness, and this means so many different things to so many different people so its hard to examine what true happiness looks like. Sometimes this can mean having the finical flexibility to give us some of our most basic needs, and then being able to go a step further to give some luxury and convenience to life so things are less stressful, but not always does that mean a person who is wealthy is happy.
An article by Jay Cassano at fastcoexist.com shed a ton of light on this awesome subject matter.
People make many assumptions when it comes to their spending habits, and what they get in return for their hard earned money. Data suggests that people believe that if they turn their money into a physical object that lasts a long time they will get constant joy out of that particular item, could be a big screen TV or a hot new designers purse that just came out. The funny thing is people forget that a truly awesome experience like a concert or vacation can be priceless.
“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation, we buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, psychology professor at Cornell University. This professor has been studying the question of money and happiness for over two decades.
So according to Gilovich he urges people to spend money on experiences like travel, outdoor activities, as opposed to things like a new car or phone. His findings are somewhat of a new idea, because many have thought in the past that money buys happiness, even though the old adage goes “money doesn’t buy happiness” there have been studies showing otherwise. Think about when buying a child a new toy, they love it for hours maybe days or weeks, but overtime they either out grow the toy, or loss satisfaction for other reasons. When putting emphasis on sharing experiences with loved ones, those memories last forever and in return satisfaction climbs due to sentimental reasoning.
So instead of letting your new purchase fade into being not so new, and blends into your normal life, look forward to going on adventures for other reasons, like personal growth opportunities. experiences are not always positive at first, but what it does is adds character, something that you can take with you anywhere, and that is hard to put a price on. So the next time you are at a party you an share your experience with others to help them out not to make similar mistakes, or if it is a positive push them to try new things, and that is truly special.
“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Gilovich. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”
Having this connection with others is more valuable than money, and that is why lets say you took a trip to the Caribbean chances are you would have plenty more to talk about then if you both bought a 4k flat-screen TV.
“We consume experiences directly with other people,” says Gilovich. “And after they’re gone, they’re part of the stories that we tell to one another.”