29 Jan Investing in experiences instead of things makes us happier
In order to create a better life we spend two things. Our money and our time. The question is, how can we be sure that we are making the right investment?
One possible answer to this could be that the right investment is the one that provides us with contentment, joy and happiness. So let’s take a moment and thing about where we spend our assets. Let’s say that after a long time of hard work you buy your dream car. Try to experience the satisfaction this car brings to the owner when it’s brand new. Now think about how the same car makes you feel after one year, two years, five years after. Hasn’t the satisfaction level dropped? What happened there is that you got used to your car. So gradually the excitement fades until is just your car, something you use for transportation.
When this happens and you know that from now on, you will never get the same level of satisfaction from the same car, you start thinking, searching and asking for your next purchase. And sometimes the only reason you doing it, is because you are seeking for the original feeling that feels so good. You can only imagine, how often we act like this for more simple purchases than a big car.
This situation is what the Easterlin Paradox describes. Professor Richard Easterlin, who is an Economics Professor at the University of Southern California, in his paper titled, “Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? Some Empirical Evidence”, concluded that a country’s level of economic development (i.e. the increase in the standard of living) and level of happiness are not connected. Essentially, he suggests that an increase in economic growth, could actually reduce some of the effects of happiness by that economic growth.
So the big question is: How can we make happiness last? Various studies from the Psychology field are trying to figure out the elements of human happiness and how we can maintain it. Most of them conclude on same thing. Experiences make us happier than material things.
Specifically, a study from Cornell University found out that it is not possible to feel indifferent when you think about a joyful experience you had. Moreover the study concludes that from all the things we can spend our money for, traveling makes us happier. Unlike the material things, that the pleasure they create tends to fade with time, traveling experiences can maintain the same level of happiness and satisfaction every single time we relive them as memories.
So, investing in experiences can make us “richer” in a meaningful way, providing us with wellness and welfare. And that’s a true luxury.
The best things in life are not things
Let’ see, what is it about experiences that can provide us with long lasting happiness?
First of all, experiences difine us. Each and every choice we make lives with us forever. It makes us reshape, change and develope. Moreover, it challenges our mind, body and soul to get out of our microcosm and reach further. Everytime we choose a new activity, a new destination, we never return the same as we left.
The way we think, act and decide derives from the cluster of our experiences. That’ s the reason why it is so important to continuously provide our system with new stimulations. The more we do it, the more we fill our life with inspiration and we discover new possibilities and paths. The result is to create the conditions that allow the highest, happier and most original version of our Self, come to the surface and thrive.
In addition, surveys show that people who travel frequently (no matter if it is a small trip or a big journey), are more determined to take action when they need to make changes to their lives. It also happens a lot, someone to make a serious decision about something important, for example a career change, during or right after a trip. The reason why this happens is because we get the chance to observe the matter from distance. We disconnect from the issue and at the same time we connect with our self. So, when we invest in experiences we connect with the essence of things.
One more reason, this kind of happiness lasts, is because the knowledge we gain is forever. The contact we make with new places, people, tastes, smells, activities and habits unveil us so many things we don’t know before. That’ s why is very important to be open-minded and receptive when it comes to live this kind of experience. Letting go from everything you already know, helps you understand the different ways this world operates and how You can operate in a different and maybe better way. In the end, you can bring back along with your luggage, ideas and inspirations that you can apply to your daily life, and make it better. Step by step you can create the life you want. And that’ s true happiness!
Last but not least, investing in discoveries, traveling and activities is a way to build stronger relationships. There is nothing in the world that can bring you closer with your loved ones, rather than sharing quality time and happy memories with them. These moments in life, are the strong foundations that maintain and develop our relationships with others.
I would like to add the thought of how important it is to lay our happiness on what does not fade. Creating joyful experiences and memories is something that we never regret about. Moreover, that way it is possible to relive all these precious feelings whenever we want and draw power from them. That’s why the most valuable investment we can make is creating experiences. To achieve that we need two things. To set our priorities right and to be open to new things.
I have one suggestion for you, for this Fall, that can enrich your “way” with new, amazing images, practices, knowledge, activities and memories.
If you are looking for something different, that can inspire you and revitalize you, I invite you to be part of the Magical Yoga Journey “Mystical Tibet”. For 12 days (23 October – 03 November) you will have the opportunity to dive into a mystical yoga experience, in a land impregnated with spirituality and ancient history. The feeling of practicing yoga and deep meditation in Tibet cannot be put into words. Expect it to have a unique calming and enlightening effect on you! See more and register here.