Experiences or possessions? There is no debate as to what improves our life satisfaction more — experiences has been shown to be the winner.
Here are 7 reasons why experiences tend to bring us more happiness than possessions:
1. A possession is a potential pleasure, but an experience is an active enjoyment
Possessions are what we would call pleasures. They give us that big rush of reward in the beginning and then we quickly become accustomed to them, leaving this feeling of excitement behind.
Experiences, on the other hand, are what we would call gratifications. They allow us to be totally absorbed in the present moment and lose ourselves, leaving us with more joy than we entered them with.
2. Possessions are predictable, but experiences are full of surprises
We already for the most part know what we’re going to get when it comes to acquiring a position. The house, car, clothes — we can all indulge in these things before we even own them through house tours, test drives, fitting rooms, so on and so forth.
Because of this predictability, we generally become bored with the possession that we acquire over time.
Experiences, on the other hand, play intimately with the unknown and this provides an immense amount of joy and thrill for us. We generally don’t know what will happen when we go on an experience and have never felt what it would feel like to dive in fully to that specific experience.
3. Possessions break, but memories keep getting better and better over time
Possessions have a shelf-life. They will break, be worn out, collect dust, so on and so forth. This makes them not as valuable as experiences.
Experiences generally only get better over time because we create memories and even though those memories are susceptible to fault, they generally act in an anti-fragile way.
We can always think of some memories that were absolutely priceless and made you feel amazing. The same often can’t be said for possessions.
4. Possessions cost money, but many experiences can be experienced for free
Every possession has a financial cost. Experiences can easily be experienced for free.
This gives a huge advantage in favor of the experiences. Now, you can also pay for experiences and that would actually be a wise investment on your part.
5. Possessions do not satisfy our deepest needs, but experiences do
Possessions, in the way that most people acquire them, are used to serve as a Band-Aid for other deeply seeded issues. These possessions are acquired in most cases because the individual will think that they will provide lasting contentment.
Experiences provide true joy and contentment. They fill us up with positive emotions, novel sensations, so on and so forth and prevail in the long term when it comes to providing lasting contentment.
6. Possessions play into the game of comparison, but experiences stand alone
When we acquire positions, we fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others with better possessions. There will always be someone with something better than you in life, that’s a fact.
The difference between possessions and experiences is that nobody can take away the joy that you feel from experiences. They place you in the present moment with no thought of the past or thought of the future.
Possessions lead us down the road of the rat race, always acquiring something new to only find out that this didn’t do it for you and the cycle continues on.
7. We are the sum of our experiences, not our possessions
Our experiences are the things that we have intimately experienced and been a part of. This gives us a deep connection to them and allows us to reminisce on the beautiful moments.
Possessions, on the other hand, are just things that we acquire. We may gather some joy from them, but they are definitely not on the same level when it comes to experiences in terms of meaning and long term fulfillment.
Take away all of your possessions and you’re left with all of your experiences.
Take away all of your experiences and you’re really left with nothing.
Below, we’ll discuss how people get caught up in the trap of chronically acquiring possessions and how to fix it.
The Trap Of Becoming Obsessed With Possessions
This, in my opinion, is one of the most prevalent traps that people in the modern world fall into — the chronic acquisition of possessions.
It’s extremely true that the vast majority of people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people that they don’t really care about.
These people who are addicted to things are never satisfied. They go from on possession to the other and wonder why these possessions never fully satisfy them. This is what is known as the hedonic treadmill.
Depression, anxiety, lack of fulfillment with life are all a result of this addiction to buying and acquiring things.
Why are so many people addicted to possessions?
The majority of people are addicted to things because our culture operating system is built upon consumption of resources. From an early age, we have been taught to buy things to “solve” every sort of problem that you have.
Surely, this manifests in a dysfunctional way within the vast majority of people.
Below, we’ll discuss how we can go around this trap and avoid it.
How can we solve this problem?
The ultimate solution to the addiction of possessions is this: Practice minimalism and focus on experiences.
By shifting your focus from possessions to experiences, you will begin to experience a true joy that you might not have ever felt before. This will open new perspectives for you.
So, if you have the option between buying a possession or buying an experience, opt for the experience most of the time.
Also, keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with possessions. It is the addiction to possessions that creates the dysfunctional aspect of this problem. You can enjoy possessions as long as you are a student of what does and doesn’t make human beings content.