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10 Reasons Why People Who Spend Money on Experiences Are Happier

10 Reasons Why People Who Spend Money on Experiences Are Happier

Imagine you are presented with two envelopes. One contains a diamond necklace and the other contains tickets for a 2 week trip to Brazil. Which would you choose?

The necklace is jaw-dropping and would elicit a chorus of admiring looks when debuted at your next soiree. But how long would it take for the novelty to wear off only to be relegated to the confines of your jewelry drawer?

What about the trip to Brazil? Sure, it’s not a tangible thing that you can display with a flourish on your décolletage. But wouldn’t your anecdotes about that canoe trip down the Amazon make for an interesting dinner party conversation?

Over the past decade, an abundance of psychology research has shown that experiences bring people more enjoyment longevity than material possessions.

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A purchase is generally done on a whim. Whichever end of the spectrum the purchase falls, be it expensive jewelry or a new pair of shoes it is usually appeasing an emotional need. Whether it’s to cheer yourself up or a need to obtain the latest status symbol, a material purchase can mask these needs. Temporarily.

Word has apparently gotten out as there is a huge segment of people who have shifted their thinking in this regard. Rather than continually being at the whim of the urge to consume, these people are opting for life enhancing experiences instead.

Here are 10 reasons why people who choose to spend their money on experiences are generally happier for it:

1. They know the thrill factor of a material purchase is limited

We’ve all been there. That subversive thrill as you whip out your credit card to purchase the latest [fill in the blank] that you have been ogling for months. But seriously, how long does that thrill last? A month? Until a newer version is released? Material goodies satiate us for a little while but once that feeling wanes, you find yourself back at the place where you started. Feeling empty and looking for something material to fill you up.

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2. They understand that an experience keeps on giving

An experience, whether it’s buying concert tickets or planning a trip to Europe, seems to offer infinitely more possibilities than treating yourself to a new wardrobe. A material purchase tends to lead you into a cul-de-sac of possibility; you traverse around a few times showing it off and then feel disillusioned once again. Experiences however set you out onto the open road, both literally and metaphorically. Who knows what will happen? Who you will meet? What you will see?

3. They understand experiences open the mind

An experience can fundamentally change you. Shake you to your very core and change everything you thought you knew about life. Or it can be just… fine, no big shakes. Even if it’s terrible, it ends up not really being that terrible after all. Especially in hindsight. When we choose to open ourselves up to a certain experience, we are effectively stepping outside of our usual routine. New sounds, smells, languages and tastes can spark fresh insight and may have the potential to revitalize the mind.

4. They know that anticipation is everything

Research has shown that experiences have a longer lasting effect on pleasure longevity. The first stage involves researching the experience that you want. The second stage comprises the actual booking process. And then the best stage, the anticipation, where you tick the days off the calendar smug in the knowledge that in X amount of weeks you will be road-tripping around Italy. When we buy less and do more, we tend to savor every single piece. A gadget is fun, for a little while, before you tire of its shiny buttons and move onto something else. The magic of being an experientialist is in the anticipation.

5. They understand its reduces Keeping-Up-With-The-Jones-itis

We are all guilty of it. Getting a secret thrill out of the flash of envy in your neighbor’s eye as you pull into your driveway in your brand spanking new BMW. It feels good to purchase the latest and greatest. Yet experiences in general are so personal that even if your friend regales you with tales from her adventures exploring windmills around Amsterdam it doesn’t even seem to tickle a nerve. Windmills just don’t do it for you, or clogs for that matter. You can’t compare experiences, who had the better holiday?

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6. They understand that the anticipation will be a positive experience.

We’ve all seen the media coverage of Black Friday sales. People waiting in line at 4am to get their mitts on the latest flat-screen TV. Pushes turn into shoves and before you know it two grown adults are fighting over the one remaining Panini press. Yet you don’t often see grown adults fighting over the set list at a Beyoncé concert. In fact people bond over these types of experiences, sharing their love of Queen Bey whilst shaking their fingers along to Single Ladies.

7. They know that money paid for memories is money spent better

If that trip to India was a disaster, there was still something to be gained from it. Even if it’s just a firm understanding that you and Indian food do not get along together. Time is life’s great eraser and those memories of the 14 hours spent curled around a toilet seat might seem pretty funny when you regale it to your friends’ months later.

8. They know that consuming leads to more consuming

It’s a vicious circle. The more you buy the more you want. So you finally saved up for those beautiful designer heels but just as you hand over your credit card you notice they also come in grey. Immediately the focus shifts and the satisfaction gained from purchasing the shoes wanes as you start to imagine just how well rounded your closet would be if you had both pairs.

9. They know that experiences provide better value for money

Material purchases have a much shorter shelf life than an experience does. Electronic gadgets are only as good as the latest version. What happens when another version comes out? However those dollars spent renting a house with friends in the countryside will provide you with a plethora of fond memories to look back on that practically guarantees you won’t need to shell out for an updated version.

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10. They understand that experientialism silences the inner braggart

Experiences tend to be more resistant to unfavorable comparisons, a wonderful family dinner in a restaurant is personally yours and difficult to compare. Far less chance for one-upmanship over whether you had the beef rather than the chicken. And yet those shoes you purchased that were featured in Vogue are less likely to stand the test of time by the time the latest Spring/Summer looks roll around.

At the end of the day, experiences tend to bring us closer to people. Humans are social animals and being closer to people tends to make us happier. In the act of making a material purchase, it tends to separate you from other people, whereas doing something tends to bring you closer.

So, next time someone hands you two envelopes which one do you choose?

Featured photo credit: julien. H via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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