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Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things

When you work hard every single day and there’s only so much money left after your regular expenses, you have to make certain it’s well spent. Spend your limited funds on what science says will make you happy.

The Paradox Of Possessions

A 20-year study conducted by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, reached a powerful and straightforward conclusion: Don’t spend your money on things. The trouble with things is that the happiness they provide fades quickly. There are three critical reasons for this:

• We get used to new possessions. What once seemed novel and exciting quickly becomes the norm.

• We keep raising the bar. New purchases lead to new expectations. As soon as we get used to a new possession, we look for an even better one.

• The Joneses are always lurking nearby. Possessions, by their nature, foster comparisons. We buy a new car and are thrilled with it until a friend buys a better one—and there’s always someone with a better one.

“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” Gilovich said. “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.”

The paradox of possessions is that we assume that the happiness we get from buying something will last as long as the thing itself. It seems intuitive that investing in something we can see, hear, and touch on a permanent basis delivers the best value. But it’s wrong.

The Power Of Experiences

Gilovich and other researchers have found that experiences—as fleeting as they may be—deliver more-lasting happiness than things. Here’s why:

Experiences become a part of our identity. We are not our possessions, but we are the accumulation of everything we’ve seen, the things we’ve done, and the places we’ve been. Buying an Apple Watch isn’t going to change who you are; taking a break from work to hike the Appalachian Trail from start to finish most certainly will.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” said 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.”

Comparisons matter little. We don’t compare experiences in the same way that we compare things. In a Harvard study, when people were asked if they’d rather have a high salary that was lower than that of their peers or a low salary that was higher than that of their peers, a lot of them weren’t sure. But when they were asked the same question about the length of a vacation, most people chose a longer vacation, even though it was shorter than that of their peers. It’s hard to quantify the relative value of any two experiences, which makes them that much more enjoyable.

Anticipation matters. Gilovich also studied anticipation and found that anticipation of an experience causes excitement and enjoyment, while anticipation of obtaining a possession causes impatience. Experiences are enjoyable from the very first moments of planning, all the way through to the memories you cherish forever.

Experiences are fleeting (which is a good thing). Have you ever bought something that wasn’t nearly as cool as you thought it would be? Once you buy it, it’s right there in your face, reminding you of your disappointment. And even if a purchase does meet your expectations, buyer’s remorse can set in: “Sure, it’s cool, but it probably wasn’t worth the money.” We don’t do that with experiences. The very fact that they last for only a short time is part of what makes us value them so much, and that value tends to increase as time passes.

Bringing It All Together

Gilovich and his colleagues aren’t the only ones who believe that experiences make us happier than things do. Dr. Elizabeth Dunn at the University of British Columbia has also studied the topic, and she attributes the temporary happiness achieved by buying things to what she calls “puddles of pleasure.” In other words, that kind of happiness evaporates quickly and leaves us wanting more. Things may last longer than experiences, but the memories that linger are what matter most.

What makes you happier, experiences or things? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

I am the author of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart, a consultancy that serves more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies and is the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training (www.TalentSmart.com). My books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. I’ve written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review. I’m a world-renowned expert in emotional intelligence who speaks regularly in corporate and public settings. Example engagements include Intel, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Fortune Brands, the Fortune Growth Summit, The Conference Board: Learning from Legends, and Excellence in Government. I hold a dual Ph.D. in clinical and industrial-organizational psychology. I received my bachelor of science in clinical psychology from the University of California – San Diego.

Source: Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things

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By The Seaside — Ricardo Sexton

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via Global warming of different kind — Success Inspirers’ World

How To Train Your Brain To Go Positive Instead Of Negative – Loretta Breuning

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Our brain is not designed to create happiness, as much as we wish it were so. Our brain evolved to promote survival. It saves the happy chemicals (dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) for opportunities to meet a survival need, and only releases them in short spurts which are quickly metabolized. This motivates us to keep taking steps that stimulate our happy chemicals. You can end up with a lot of unhappy chemicals in your quest to stimulate the happy ones, especially near the end of a stressful workday……..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2016/12/21/how-to-train-your-brain-to-go-positive-instead-of-negative/#707a40525a58

 

 

 

 

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10 Quotes that Will Change the Way You See and Treat People Today – Marc Chernoff

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During my competitive cross-country running days it wasn’t uncommon for me to run five miles at five o’clock in the morning and another nine miles at nine o’clock at night, five days a week. I was competitive. I wanted to win races. And I was smart enough to know that if I dedicated myself to extra training, while my opponents were lounging or socializing, I would often be one step ahead of them when we crossed the finish line. When I first started these early-morning and late-night runs, the experience was pretty overwhelming. My body didn’t want to cooperate—it ached and cramped up……

Read more: http://www.marcandangel.com/2018/01/21/10-quotes-that-will-change-the-way-you-see-and-treat-people-today

 

 

 

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30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself – Marc Chernoff

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Our previous article, 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself, was well received by most of our readers, but several of you suggested that we follow it up with a list of things to start doing.  In one reader’s words, “I would love to see you revisit each of these 30 principles, but instead of presenting us with a ‘to-don’t’ list, present us with a ‘to-do’ list that we all can start working on today, together.”  Some folks, such as readers Danny Head and Satori Agape, actually took it one step further and emailed us their own revised ‘to-do’ versions of the list…..

Read more: http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/12/18/30-things-to-start-doing-for-yourself

 

 

 

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How feeling young at heart impacts your overall health – Evelyn Lewin

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We all know people who seem years – nay, decades – younger than their biological age. Children’s book author Susanne Gervay is one of them. She’s 66 but feels more in her mid-20s. Rather than slowing down, her career continues to escalate. In her spare time she’s often jogging around her local park or doing laps at the pool. That is, when she’s not zipping around the country on book tours. International adventures are still on the cards, too. Her most recent sojourn was to Turkey, where she attended a literary festival before hitting the road with her daughter for two weeks……

Read more: https://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/how-feeling-young-at-heart-impacts-your-overall-health-20180905-p501us.html?crpt=homepage

 

 

 

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Psychologists Have Surprising Advice for People Who Feel Unmotivated – Leah Fessler

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Per traditional self-help narratives, if you can’t accomplish your goal, you should ask for advice. Find someone who has successfully landed the job, gotten the promotion, made the grades, achieved the weight loss, or created the financial stability that you want. Tell this person you’re struggling. Then do what she says.

According to two leading psychologists, this theory isn’t just hackneyed, it’s wrong. Their research suggests that the key to motivation is giving advice, not receiving it.

Writing in MIT Sloan Management Review, Lauren Eskreis-Winkler, a Wharton psychologist who studies motivation, and Ayelet Fishbach, a professor of behavioral science at University of Chicago Booth, explain that psychologists have long known problems related to self-control are connected to a lack of motivation to transform knowledge into action.

“Realizing this, we decided to turn the standard solution to self-control on its head: What if instead of seeking advice, we asked struggling people to give it,” write Eskreis-Winkler and Fishbach. To answer this question, they conducted a series of experiments that appointed people struggling with self-control to advise others on the very problems they themselves were encountering. The population samples they studied included unemployed adults struggling to find a job, adults struggling to save money, adults struggling with anger management, and children falling behind in school.

“Although giving advice confers no new information to the advice giver, we thought it would increase the advice giver’s confidence,” they write. “Confidence in one’s ability can galvanize motivation and achievement even more than actual ability.”

The results suggest their thesis was right. In one study, unemployed individuals gave advice to their equally deflated peers. Then all participants read job search tips from the career advice site The Muse. After giving and receiving advice, 68% of unemployed individuals said that they felt more motivated to search for jobs after giving advice than they did after receiving it.

Eskreis-Winkler and Fishbach similarly found that 72% of people struggling to save money said that giving advice motivated them to save money more than receiving tips from experts at America Saves; 77% of adults struggling with anger management said they were more motivated to control their temper after giving anger management advice than they were after receiving advice from professional psychologists at the American Psychological Association; and 72% of adults struggling to lose weight said that giving weight loss advice made them feel more confident about shedding pounds than did receiving advice from a seasoned nutritionist at the Mayo Clinic.

Even more surprisingly, experiment participants were completely unaware of the effectiveness of giving advice. “They consistently expected themselves and others to be less motivated by giving advice than receiving it,” Fishbach tells Quartz.

This false expectation is likely driven by the presumption that underperformance is the result of lacking knowledge. In fact, unmotivated people often know what they need to do to succeed, they just don’t take action. “For example, people think that failed dieters don’t have information on effective diets,” Fishbach says. “But the truth is that failed dieters know quite a bit, only don’t apply their knowledge to action.”

Giving advice, as opposed to receiving it, appears to help unmotivated people feel powerful because it involves reflecting on knowledge that they already have. So if you’re completely clueless about the resources or strategies necessary for progress, asking for help is probably the best first step. But if you (like most of us), know what you need to do, but are having trouble actually doing it, giving someone advice may be the push you need.

 

 

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The Purpose Of Life Is Not Happiness: It’s Usefulness – Darius Foroux

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For the longest time, I believed that there’s only purpose of life: And that is to be happy.

Right? Why else go through all the pain and hardship? It’s to achieve happiness in some way.

And I’m not the only person who believed that. In fact, if you look around you, most people are pursuing happiness in their lives.

That’s why we collectively buy shit we don’t need, go to bed with people we don’t love, and try to work hard to get approval of people we don’t like.

Why do we do these things? To be honest, I don’t care what the exact reason is. I’m not a scientist. All I know is that it has something to do with history, culture, media, economy, psychology, politics, the information era, and you name it. The list is endless.

We are who we are.

Let’s just accept that. Most people love to analyze why people are not happy or don’t live fulfilling lives. I don’t necessarily care about the why.

I care more about how we can change.

Just a few short years ago, I did everything to chase happiness.

  • You buy something, and you think that makes you happy.
  • You hook up with people, and think that makes you happy.
  • You get a well-paying job you don’t like, and think that makes you happy.
  • You go on holiday, and you think that makes you happy.

But at the end of the day, you’re lying in your bed (alone or next to your spouse), and you think: “What’s next in this endless pursuit of happiness?”

Well, I can tell you what’s next: You, chasing something random that you believe makes you happy.

It’s all a façade. A hoax. A story that’s been made up.

Did Aristotle lie to us when he said:

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

I think we have to look at that quote from a different angle. Because when you read it, you think that happiness is the main goal. And that’s kind of what the quote says as well.

But here’s the thing: How do you achieve happiness?

Happiness can’t be a goal in itself. Therefore, it’s not something that’s achievable.

I believe that happiness is merely a byproduct of usefulness.

When I talk about this concept with friends, family, and colleagues, I always find it difficult to put this into words. But I’ll give it a try here.

Most things we do in life are just activities and experiences.

  • You go on holiday.
  • You go to work.
  • You go shopping.
  • You have drinks.
  • You have dinner.
  • You buy a car.

Those things should make you happy, right? But they are not useful. You’re not creating anything. You’re just consuming or doing something. And that’s great.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to go on holiday, or go shopping sometimes. But to be honest, it’s not what gives meaning to life.

What really makes me happy is when I’m useful. When I create something that others can use. Or even when I create something I can use.

For the longest time I found it difficult to explain the concept of usefulness and happiness. But when I recently ran into a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the dots finally connected.

Emerson says:

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

And I didn’t get that before I became more conscious of what I’m doing with my life. And that always sounds heavy and all. But it’s actually really simple.

It comes down to this: What are you DOING that’s making a difference?

Did you do useful things in your lifetime? You don’t have to change the world or anything. Just make it a little bit better than before you were born.

If you don’t know how, here are some ideas.

  • Help your boss with something that’s not your responsibility.
  • Take your mother to a spa.
  • Create a collage with pictures (not a digital one) for your spouse.
  • Write an article about the stuff you learned in life.
  • Help the pregnant lady who also has a 2-year old with her stroller.
  • Call your friend and ask if you can help with something.
  • Build a standing desk.
  • Start a business and hire an employee and treat them well.

That’s just some stuff I like to do. You can make up your own useful activities.

You see? It’s not anything big. But when you do little useful things every day, it adds up to a life that is well lived. A life that mattered.

The last thing I want is to be on my deathbed and realize there’s zero evidence that I ever existed.

Recently I read Not Fade Away by Laurence Shames and Peter Barton. It’s about Peter Barton, the founder of Liberty Media, who shares his thoughts about dying from cancer.

It’s a very powerful book and it will definitely bring tears to your eyes. In the book, he writes about how he lived his life and how he found his calling. He also went to business school, and this is what he thought of his fellow MBA candidates:

“Bottom line: they were extremely bright people who would never really do anything, would never add much to society, would leave no legacy behind. I found this terribly sad, in the way that wasted potential is always sad.”

You can say that about all of us. And after he realized that in his thirties, he founded a company that turned him into a multi-millionaire.

Another person who always makes himself useful is Casey Neistat. I’ve been following him for a year and a half now, and every time I watch his YouTube show, he’s doing something.

He also talks about how he always wants to do and create something. He even has a tattoo on his forearm that says “Do More.”

Most people would say, “why would you work more?” And then they turn on Netflix and watch back to back episodes of Daredevil.

A different mindset.

Being useful is a mindset. And like with any mindset, it starts with a decision. One day I woke up and thought to myself: What am I doing for this world? The answer was nothing.

And that same day I started writing. For you it can be painting, creating a product, helping elderly, or anything you feel like doing.

Don’t take it too seriously. Don’t overthink it. Just DO something that’s useful. Anything.

 

 

 

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Is Our Obsession with Multi Tasking Ruining Our Creativity? — ELLAVATE 7

We’ve got to find our own personal balance between our outside reality… the one that keeps our material world going and our other very true (and what I feel is our most important) reality. Our internal creative reality is that part of us that longs to do the things we are meant to do opposed to those things we have to do to survive in this made up society. We risk losing our creative selves when we focus too much of our time juggling the demands of what is outside of us.

via Is Our Obsession with Multi Tasking Ruining Our Creativity? — ELLAVATE 7

 

 

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