IPhone, Beats by Dr. Dre, Louis Vuitton, Xbox, Bentley ... Many people want to buy the newest gadget, the fastest car and the most expensive watch – but what are these things really worth?
For some people, these items give them status. They’re cool because they have a cool car, or they’re better at the newest Xbox game. Lots of people say that buying new things makes them happy. They like having new, pretty, impressive things. The problem is that people don’t stay happy and the feeling you get when you buy something new fades. There’s a new IPhone. You stop liking your car. Your friend had Beats in a different colour and they’re so much nicer! Things get old, outdated and tatty, and someone else always has something better.
So, what can you buy and stay happy with? The research suggests that the best thing to spend your extra money on is doing things like travelling, learning to cook, speaking a language, skiing or surfing. What about going to the theatre, eating at a Michelin star restaurant or climbing a mountain.
In the long term, people are happier with money they spend on activities than on things. You don’t remember what shoes you wore, but you remember running the marathon! When you do new things or things you enjoy, you gain life experience and memories. You can share adventures with people and tell stories. It’s always fun when you meet someone who has done the same thing as you and you can swap stories. You have an instant connection with this person and can have an amazing time comparing the things you’ve done. Even if you don’t enjoy the experience, you can learn something and often a little while later you see the positives of it. At the very least, it’s a story to tell – maybe even a funny one.
So forget about designer clothes and fancy gadgets – a new skill or adventure lasts longer!
Would you rather buy things or do something? What is your favourite life experience so far? What life experience would you like to have in the future?