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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 December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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