The Power of Experience vs Power of Stuff

The Power of Experience vs Power of Stuff
Stefan Ivanovic

Article by

Stefan Ivanovic

Feb 17, 2019

Science gives advantage to experience over stuff.

You buy a new thing. It brings you happiness for a day, two, ten. But after a while it just becomes a part of your everyday and it stops stirring any kind of emotion. That’s because we adapt to it.

According to the Cornell Professor Dr. Tomas Gilovich, the power of experience doesn’t fade away as quickly as power of stuff. It has to do with the fact that experiences make us break our everyday routine and try new things. They make us feel truly alive!

''An object will eventually become old or expired. Memories, however, stay engraved and bring us joy each time we remember the experience'', Dr. Gilovich says. 

Can you image the pain the fans of Queen feel? Not ever being able to see Freddy Mercury performing live? Actually, they feel so much pain they showed up in masses to see Bohemian Rhapsody, just to get the glimpse of the era they missed.

This translates to not piling up on your CDs and other music memorabilia, but actually pay for the ticket and see your favorite performer.

This kind of example translates to every sphere of life.

Spending your money on things that you never did before, or even repeating things that make you happy should be your primary focus of spending that extra cash.

Chances are you’ll never remember the beautiful dress that costed a fortune you wore on some office party or a wedding, but you’ll always remember that quick getaway weekend to the mountains.

That brings us to your social life. How has your new iPhone improved on your life when compared to the older model? Other than spending more time on it, probably, not very much. Experiences make us interact with people. And every new acquaintance brings value to your life one way or the other. You learn about people, cultures, food… There’s no way that a $1000 iPhone can be more valuable as $1000 2-person vacation in Spain. For a week!

Just think about all the phones you changed so far. You probably have no emotion towards those phones (unless it’s Nokia 3310 – it was the best!), but you do have emotions to most of the experiences that happened in between.

And it’s not the end experience itself. Let’s take that vacation to Spain. Going to the airport, flying, renting a car, driving to your hotel. Seeing so many things for the first time, and all the small and funny moments that happened in between. And you probably don’t remember browsing something on your phone.

Surely, there will always be people who will be able to stay at better hotels, or fly first-class, but how much attention do you want to pay on such people. They are doing their thing, you are doing yours and that’s the way it should be. If only they are doing something, and you are looking at it on their Instagram or Facebook profile, it will make you envious and unhappy. And is that really how you want to spend your life?

Do the best that you can!

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