The pursuit and purchase of physical possessions will never fully satisfy our desire for happiness. It may result in temporary fulfillment, but the happiness found in buying a new item rarely lasts.
We all feel richer on payday than we did the day before, but that instant gratification (that comes with out-of-this-world price tags, designer shoes and trendy clothes) is satisfying enough to be called addiction, or a bad habit. That guilt or the two voices over your shoulders is a sign that you know spending most or all of your paycheck on material items might not be the wisest choice.
It is important to remember the value of investing in once-in-a-lifetime experiences and precious memories with our loved ones over indulging on the next hot item, for, as they say, money cannot buy happiness.
Living means experiencing, not material objects
According to researchers from San Francisco State University, people understand that this life we get to live is about creating memories and not the glitz and glamour of trendy clothes and technology. But again, it is easy to get wrapped up in purchases that we will ultimately regret.
If we think about it, when we are 90 and on our deathbeds, will we cherish that new iPad or gold watch or the memories and moments we created with the people who made an impact on our lives?
Focus on your happiness, not what makes you attractive
In this day and time, many people make decisions based on society’s influences, making that fancy car and hip sunglasses not only more expensive than they need to be but also attractive and trendy to the world.
But who cares about what the world thinks? Are we willing to burn holes in our pockets in exchange for an Instagram post with 1,000 likes?
We are more valuable as a product of this society, than the human-made products that we desire (and never really need). I cannot say I do not like beautiful things, and it is fine to reward yourself, but our bigger investments should go toward making life unforgettable and worth living versus having that temporary satisfaction from things.
Dr. Thomas Gilovich is a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the link between money and happiness. He told Fast Company:
Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. 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.
Forget the fancy things and explore the world
Well, this part can be difficult, or it can be simple. There are always excuses on how exploring the world costs a lot of money, yet you can buy those pair of Jordan shoes and Louie Vuitton bags for the same money but less real value.
Drop the need for expensive things, and pick up your luggage to gain irreplaceable experiences. Business Insider found that CEOs around the world look for their employees to achieve several familiar things in their 20s, one being traveling and broadening one’s thinking.
If even the greats say so, maybe you should at least just try cutting the need for material things and instead, use that plastic card on a trip to a place you’ve never been. You might be surprised at how much more value you gain in your life.