Now, we have it on official paper. If scientists give you the green light, then you know it’s on. It’s OK to spend all your money on travel.
The guys at the Cornell University in New York recently confirmed that the best way to reach great happiness is through experience and not things. Apparently this study was led by Dr. Thomas Gilovich and took over 20 years. What was the result? Gilovich discovered that the way in which we value our experiences and our happiness is unique and strongly influenced by adaptation.
He claims that “we buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.” Thus, in time, we get used to the things we buy and the initial happiness that we feel fades away after the novelty disappears.
On the other hand, the happiness derived from practical experiences increases its value as time passes because we tend to assimilate these experiences as part of our identity. I am sure you too have wanted something really badly at some point in your life. Maybe a new pair of shoes, a new perfume or a new car. You’ve desperately wanted it and dreamt of touching and owning it. But after a while, a new pair of shoes, a new perfume, and a new car appeared on the market. And you wanted those too.
Now think of the trip to France that you took last year. Those memories still come through your mind because it was the best time you ever had. And this is something that cannot be replaced by anything, no matter how much you try.
Therefore, Gilovich says something that you’ve known but hardly acknowledged all along: instead of buying the latest type of iPhone, get yourself a ticket to Rome. It will be totally worth it!
But remember that even though you enjoy material things and you tend to consider them part of your life, at the end of the day it’s the experiences that shape your personality and remain tiny puzzle pieces that construct a bigger picture called “you.”