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Science Explains Why You Should Prioritze Experiences Over Stuff

Science Explains Why You Should Prioritze Experiences Over Stuff

When you become an adult, there is a lashing with society boundaries overflowing in boiling elements of logic, strategy, and responsibility that drown our soaring dreams and ambitions. Our outlook into the massive window of the world shuts down. Blinded. We are bogged down with mortgages and bills. The new house and the new car that crowned us with applause from the consumerism society defined sectors of success. If anyone steered away from the rigid routines of predefined success, they were deemed to be shunned away, or boxed as ‘failure’ outcasts.

The twentieth century was a period where all were in the rising in the consumer revolution. Happiness, status, identity, and meaning were sourced from material products.

Psychologists find a linkage between materialism and life dissatisfaction in general.

Intense study reflection in the 1990’s by a team of psychologists and sociologists indicated a link between materialism and life tumbles in the form of narcissism, social anxiety and life dissatisfaction in general[1]. Buddhism accentuated the philosophy with the notion that materialism becomes the impediment to reaching true happiness.

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Research studies by UCLA psychologists Darby Saxbe and Rena Repetti indicates that stress levels increase with accumulation of material goods, and affects good health ultimately[2].

As soon as material padlocks in the disguise of money enter wallets, we crave for purchases. Every new purchase ignites a sparkle in your being. A few days pass by and…..? That spark disappears, there is no trace of it. Where does happiness walk away to?

True happiness comes from our memories — our experiences.

Psychologist Tom Gilovich studied the subject of happiness for decades and has concluded that experiences are more likely than material goods to lead to happiness[3].

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When we buy something new, it excites us; with time it becomes an everyday usual, and then we start searching for something new to unload our wallets. The cycle is damaging.

Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University Psychology department research indicated that happiness levels are equal when buying something or a traveling escapade, but memories of traveling resonate within us as we relish in the memories. Buying a new gadget or a new car will just become an everyday ordinary.

An object will eventually become old or expired. Memories, however, stay engraved and bring us joy each time we remember the experience.

Experiential Era has dawned on us.

The  21st-century experience revolution ignites the transformation sparks. It is layered in flexible schedules with independence to move freely in contrast to stability and prosperity.

Before chaining yourself down into hubs of materialistic flaws, think, and expand. Imagine the impossible. Live it and make it a reality! Prosperity comes from a wealth of experiences — learn, discover and explore.

Why own when you can rent it? It is like a car with a driver. By taking a mortgage on a house, it’s like renting the same place for forty years when there are available options to rent a place at any destination of your choice. You never know how long you will stay somewhere because job changes, and life changes.

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In our personal reactions as well, we are instantly impressed with someone who reached the Kilimanjaro summit or passed an intense challenge, rather than a fancy handbag or new watch. Offload the shackles of materialism and get ready to experience, experiment and explore!

Reference

[1] Happiness: Materialism vs. Experientialism, Science How Stuff Works
[2] No Place Like Home, Darby E. Saxbe and Rena Repetti
[3] Want Happiness? Buy Experiences, Not Things, Says a Cornell Psychologist, Prof. Thomas Gilovich

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Nena Tenacity

Nena is passionate about writing. She shares her everyday health and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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