Happiness Lies in Experiences
“Beach sand, perfect tans, day walks and night talks. Sleepless nights, pillow fights & spending everyday with those who matter most.”
Recently I watched an inspirational talk given by a Harvard Business School Professor Michael Norton explaining how materialistic things only give us momentary happiness. Studies show that once we have made a purchase we see diminished returns to our level of joy and satisfaction with the product. For example when we go out and buy a television set, we want to get the latest and greatest. We want wide screen, LCD, LED, 3-D, you name it, we want it. Once we get it home and hang it on our wall it starts to depreciate in value, or another model comes out, making our recent purchase dated. Another downfall the television offers is that it consumes hours of our lives, often times alone. Okay, yes, you may have the best of intentions, family movie night, Sunday game day with the boys, but think back how many lonely hours you have spent in front of the screen and tell me this brought you happiness.
The same goes with a big house. A big house often equates to a long commute, because those living downtown close to work sacrifice space for proximity. With a big house you also get the commute to and from work which essentially takes time from your day, from doing other things you enjoy more, spending time with your family or enjoying a hobby.
So what does bring us happiness?
Michael Norton explains happiness lies in experiences not in things.
Think back to your last vacation, or holiday as the Europeans like to refer to it. What do you remember most? The pictures only begin to uncover the emotions related to taking the family to a theme park or going on a romantic get-away to some far away island or weekend in the woods. See , the thing with experiences is we anticipate, we thrive on the build up to the actual time away from our daily lives. We then get to actually experience a weekend, a whole week or 10 days of utter bliss. When we return we look back fondly at our memories. And over time these memories get even more beautiful as the little glitches, say you had lost your luggage, that all fades away and you are left with the beauty of the events.
I am not trying to convince you that a big house and a nice car are not great, wonderful achievements. What I hope you take away from this is that there is more to life than materialistic things. This summer go out and spend time with those in your life that you love and adore. Even if it is just for an ice cream, make time, schedule a date and don’t forget to enjoy yourself.