Have you ever found that the satisfaction from material things fades away quickly and leaves you wanting more and more? “One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation.” Says Dr. Gilovich from Cornell University, “ 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.”
- Experiences are about ourselves
Buying an Apple Watch isn’t going to change who you are, but investing in experience might. Everything we’ve seen, the things we’ve done, and the places we’ve been help us to discover and define ourselves. Experiences become a part of our identity and deliver life-long satisfaction.
- Experiences reduce comparisons
Possessions foster comparisons by their nature ; we are always thrilled with a new car until someone buys a better one. In contrast, we are less likely to compare our holidays with others because it’s hard to quantify the relative value of experiences.
- Experiences improve anticipation
Waiting to buy the latest tech devices only causes impatience whilst anticipation of a fresh experience creates excitement and enjoyment. Experiences are enjoyable from the very first moments of planning, all the way through to the memories you cherish forever.
The importance of experiential consumption has implications for both individual and social happiness. Individuals should reconsider how to spend their spare cash, employers should think about offering plenty of paid holiday to create a content workforce, and governments should take more care of recreational spaces and programmes to make happy citizens.