Today’s society makes us believe that we have to buy things frenetically.
But it has been discovered that the real secret of happiness is making experience, not buying material assets…
21st century life is consumer-oriented, in which the molteplicity of media surrounding us screams loudly that, in order to be happy, we have to buy the perfect house, drive the best car, wear the most fashionable clothes and publish our last updates on the newest hi-tech devices.
Everywhere we look at: TV, newspapers and social networks, there is always the same message: “BUY, BUY, BUY, this is the road towards happiness!”. They show us wrong behavioral models, to which many aspire to become, precisely because of the search for success and material realization of their lives.
Buying a new gadget or a new car can be satisfying or exciting, but afer a while the thrill ends and we end up being in the same old situation: looking for something else to buy to extend the feeling of happiness. That’s why we change things that are still perfectly functioning: the car when it is still in excellent condition, a new smartphone just for fun when the old one is still cutting-edge, we buy new clothes when our closet is already full and maybe we use just a little part of them.
Marketing today plays a lot on the psychology of people, and the pursuit of happiness is surely a determining factor for the mondial market. Making people believe that we have to buy material goods in order to be happy is at the base of the advertising propaganda, but it is in fact not true!
A recent research of the San Francisco State University has found out that people spending money on experiences rather than on material goods are happier and feel that their money have been better spent. The initial research question was: spending money on material goods makes happiness last longer, because goods last longer than an experience. The exact opposite has been proven. The emotion of buying material goods lessens rapidly, but the joy and memory of experiences, from the legendary adventures to little meetings, can last a lifetime.
And here is why travelling and making new experiences makes people way happier than just buying material goods:
HAPPINESS FOR MATERIAL OBJECTS VANISHES RAPIDLY.
We buy material goods to make us happy, but new things excite us just at the beginning, then we adapt ourselves to them.
The excitement for the new car, iPhone or television will vanish rapidly when these goods will become part of our everyday life.
On the contrary, experiences, such as travelling, visiting an art exhibition, attending a concert or trying a new restaurant become part of our identity, which brings us a great satisfaction.
You can really appreciate material things. You can also think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but they remain separated from you anyway. On the contrary, experiences really become a part of you.
We are the total sum of our experiences.
EXPERIENCES STRENGHTEN OUR SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS.
Let’s make an example: if you try and describe your new car to a friend, he may or not may be interested to it, also according to his passions. The car is a material good, and its characteristics can be found anywhere. The infused emotions won’t be very different than the ones felt by the interlocutor after the purchase of a new car.
But the experiences are unique! Telling them makes memories resurface and arouses more interest. While an old car is already forgotten after the purchase of a new one, an experience, an adventure is something you will never forget, even after you have lived others.
A journey may as well last less than the use and consumption of a material good, but the intensity and the emotions are what really make a difference. The memories of an experience will indeed tie you indissolubly to a place, a person, a period of your life: they will be with you wherever you go.