Happiness is something we all want. We spend countless hours and dollars pursuing it. Modern society tells us that happiness is always just a bit out of reach. It's attainable, we’re told. But once you achieve one goal, you quickly lose the satisfaction that you felt as you neared it. Then you start aiming for the next one.
We all end up on this path at some point. We'll be happy once we get accepted to our first pick for college; when we land a great job; fall in love; start a family; buy a house; upgrade to our dream house. In the meantime, we're so laser focused on these goals, that we tend to look to material objects for temporary happiness in lieu of an experience that might cost more.
We can't afford a week long camping trip because it will put a halt to saving for our down payment, we tell ourselves. So instead, we reward ourselves with a new pair of shoes and dinner out. But how much happiness did those shoes bring you in comparison? Probably not as much as you think. And then after two months, when they’re scuffed and the heels are worn down a bit, they’re banished to the back of your closet. The Journal of Positive Psychology published studies that found people believe material possessions can maximize their economic value, but that experiences are a valuable expense which benefits a person's overall well-being.
For some, it’s a hard truth to accept; why spend money on a trip to the theater which lasts but a few hours when you could get a designer handbag that will last for years? But there are actually several reasons why experiences are superior to tangible good. Not sold on this?
Here are our favorite reasons why experiences are preferable.