Over the past decade, an abundance of psychology research has shown that experiences bring people more happiness than do possessions.
Essentially, when you can’t live in a moment, they say, it’s best to live in anticipation of an experience. Experiential purchases like trips, concerts, movies, et cetera, tend to trump material purchases because the utility of buying anything really starts accruing before you buy it.
Waiting for an experience apparently elicits more happiness and excitement than waiting for a material good (and more “pleasantness” too—an eerie metric). By contrast, waiting for a possession is more likely fraught with impatience than anticipation.
A 8 year-old friend of junior pixels recently told him at school that our family doesn’t have many toys because we go on holidays all the time. I initially didn’t know what to think when I heard him recount this, but I am since proud of that fact.
I’ve found that focusing on having one good thing of each thing makes me happier and my life easier, plus it’s better for the environment.
Take a pen for example. It’s easy to have lots of various, cheap, disposable pens lying around and be constantly losing/finding them as you don’t really care about them as you’ve just picked them up at a conference and can easily get more.
But imagine if you had just one good pen. You’ll notice how suddenly you care about that pen. You won’t lose it as it’s your only pen, and it’ll be much more pleasant to have a good pen that you know will always work for you and is nice to write with.
The same applies to other things in your life:
- one good pair of shoes for walking;
- one good pair of sunglasses for seeing;
- one good razor for shaving;
- one good suitcase for travelling; and
- one good teapot for brewing.
It’s all too easy to continue to accumulate cheap, disposable crap in this day and age, and it can be sometimes hard to justify $30 or $50 on a pen (when you buy a box of cheap biros for a few dollars), but it’s definitely better in the long run 😊