It’s never about the shoes: It’s about where they take you
You don’t have infinite money. Spend it on stuff that research says builds your happiness, writes Joe Cassano.
Most people are in the pursuit of happiness. There are economists who think happiness is the best indicator of the health of a society. We know that money can make you happier, though after your basic needs are met, it doesn’t make you that much happier. But one of the biggest questions is how to allocate our money, which is (for most of us) a limited resource.
There’s a very logical assumption that most people make when spending their money: Because a physical object will last longer, it will make us happier for a longer time than a one-off experience like a concert or vacation. According to recent research, it turns out that assumption is completely wrong.
“One of the enemies of happiness is 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.”
Do stuff, don’t buy stuff
So rather than buying the latest iPhone or a new BMW, Gilovich suggests you’ll get more happiness spending money on experiences like going to art exhibits, doing outdoor activities, learning a new skill, or travelling.
“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Gilovich. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”
Full story on Fast Company: The Science Of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things
Main image: Val d’Orcia, 2016. By Christine Hogan