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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 March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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