We often equate finding happiness with acquiring more possessions. We gobble what’s new and trending because we believe those things can bring us happiness. And sometimes these things might make us happy. But this kind of happiness fades quicker than it comes.
Some people work harder than others just to pay for their expensive cars, luxurious houses, boats, overpriced clothing and shoes, just because they believe it will finally make them happy.
However, a study on happiness that was conducted for twenty years found that acquiring more possessions isn’t the answer to finding the ultimate happiness.
Lead researcher Dr. Thomas Gilovich and colleagues of Cornell University concluded that things don’t make people happy, but experiences do.
The happiness derived from things has been found to fade quickly due to a couple of reasons.
3 Reasons Why Happiness From Experiences Is Far Better Than Happiness From Things:
1. You get accustomed to your new possessions.
When there is something you want to buy or acquire, you can’t help yourself but feel excited. Once you acquire that something, you feel so good that life seems beautiful.
However, as you get accustomed to the new stuff, your feel good emotions and excitement start to fade. And you’re no longer as excited as before because it now becomes the norm.
2. You keep comparing yourself to others.
When it comes to stuff, you can’t help but compare yourself to others. It’s like an endless competition where nobody wins and the companies just profit coming out with new trends.
This fool’s race urges you to buy more stuff, not because you really need it, but because you want to have something others don’t, or something everyone have, to either be better than others or to not be left out. Because if you don’t have what everyone have, you would be left behind, and it’s not a good feeling.
3. You keep raising your expectations.
When you acquire what you once dreamed of, you crave for more. The luxury and comfort you might be enjoying in the present were once a dream. Now that you have them, you raise your expectations and seek to acquire new stuff.
This becomes a pattern that shapes your habits. You can’t be happy enough or satisfied enough to settle for what you presently have. As Gilovich said, new things are only exciting at first. Once you adapt to them, the excitement and happiness fade.
How Experiences Are Better Than Things:
The good news is, a number of people are waking up from this false notion of happiness.
Instead of acquiring more stuff that they don’t need, they spend their time and money on experiences because they find more value in it.
Happiness can only be derived from moment to moment. By spending your time and money on experiences you are not seeking to get happiness, you live happiness in those moments. And that’s secret to happiness. You can’t get happiness, you need to live it.
If more and more people come to this awareness, the Earth would become a better place because more and more people will come to see the real value around them.
People might start to take better care of Nature, or at least harm it less because they would not mindlessly seek for new products that are created through systems that harm the environment. We might all start to value the happiness and experiences our environment can give us.
If you’re still in the process of acquiring things, think again. Science has already provided you with the clues.