You have worked hard, very hard in your life to pay your bills. What do you do with the extra money you are holding very tight? Most of us will immediately spend money on consumer products. Yes, we live in a society that is obsessed with consumption. They offer you happiness when you consume their products. While buying a new house, car, iPhone or clothing might satisfy you momentarily, it will not last.
You’ve probably heard that money can’t buy happiness. It also can’t buy you experience. It also doesn’t grow on trees. Come to think of it, people are pretty insistent that money doesn’t do much at all, except make the world go ’round.
The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side, Is it really?
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In general, there’s some truth to the idea that money and happiness are not inextricably linked. Although it’s true that people in poverty tend to be less happy than people who have more money, once your income affords you a reasonably comfortable life, having, even more money usually doesn’t mean being even happier.
New research has started to show, however, that spending money can lead to happiness but only if you spend wisely. That is, there are some types of spending that actually do make you feel better.
“One of the enemies of happiness is an adaptation,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the question of money and happiness for over two decades. “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.”
People Who Spend Money On Experiences Are Happier.
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Experiences are priceless while material items always have an expiration date. The house and car you buy are wonderful purchases but over time the satisfaction you receive from them is most likely going to diminish.
For example, several studies have shown that spending money on experiences versus products can make us happier. In other words, being super materialistic and stocking up on fancy electronic gadgets for yourself isn’t going to have the happiness payoff you’re looking for. You could make some people really jelly for a moment, that’s all. Putting that same amount of money toward an interesting trip or a night at the theater could actually have such a payoff.
Travel Experiences Teach You Life Lessons. Teach Me Shifu!
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Experiences are worth investing in because they teach you life lessons that you won’t acquire anywhere else. Traveling to new places teaches patience, acceptance, understanding, as well as organizational skills. Spend time at museums and exhibitions to uncover information from past historical time periods. For many people, the optimal reason for investing in experiences is that they are unforgettable and joyous occasions. These memories can be especially useful if you are going through a rough time. It is never ideal to disassociate yourself completely from the present, but having pleasant and fond memories to reminisce on can be quite therapeutic.
People experience tremendous personal growth when they are facing vulnerability. Yes, being in an unfamiliar environment can be scary, uncomfortable, and confusing. However, those moments shape who you are as a person by helping you discover your capabilities and what you are made of. Stressful situations expose character, and more often than not, help to build it too.
One of the best things about traveling and living abroad is meeting new people and fostering friendships with others. Meeting people who have different perspectives, backgrounds, and life experiences can be a transformative experience because it often shapes you into a more open-minded individual. Likewise, it also opens doors of opportunities for you in other parts of the world that would otherwise be inaccessible to you.
Despite variation in cultures, languages and ethnicities, we all share similar aspirations: to find love, enjoy what we do, protect our family and loved ones and earn a good living. Traveling abroad truly reinforces the idea that we all share the same human experience on this incredibly beautiful planet.
Now It’s Your Turn, Have You Decided Yet?
Go ahead and fill your life up with experiences. Many of them will cost you nothing. Some of them will be reasonably priced, and maybe some will be expensive from a financial standpoint, but rich with rewarding memories and life lessons. Always link these experiences with your passions and purpose if you desire complete satisfaction. You can always spend your money on more “stuff” with a limited authenticity of happiness or you can invest in purposeful experiences that will contribute to a substantive feeling of joy.