As I reflected on the happiness that I have experienced in my life so far, I came up with a list that I would like to share with you; the day I got married (twice), the day I gave birth to my gorgeous son, special magical moments with my friends & family, holidays, indulgent romantic getaways with my husband and VIP pre-concert party and front row seats at the George Michael concert (YES, I do love George!). I immediately realised that all of these moments had something in common…they were all experiences and not material possessions.
Not one of these experiences related to having some kind of material gain. Sure, some of them required an outlay of cash but it all came down to the experience. Last year at the age of 44, I bought my first ever brand new car….but it didn’t rate. It was a novelty to have a car that didn’t have mysterious rattles coming from the engine. The happiness was the first few days rocking out to my CD player rather than AM radio, but it certainly didn’t rate as a cherished memory.
Happiness is about DOING NOT HAVING
Happiness is about EXPERIENCES NOT POSSESSIONS
People tend to think that material things will make them happy. In fact, experiences do a lot more for our happiness than possessions
The first secret key to happiness is to make the most of our experiences, not things. We get more, and longer lasting satisfaction from doing rather than from having. We hear so many stories of people with untold wealth and the trappings to go with it, that are depressed and unhappy in their lives….this secret just must be true. I can see you smiling right now thinking that “I’d know how to be happy if a million dollars was miraculously deposited into my bank account” But, is that true? What would you change in your life to make you genuinely happy? Chances are the only thing that would change is a few zeros in your bank balance.
According to Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, authors of “Happy Money”, there are several reasons for this;
- We adapt less to experiences than to things; in other words we start taking our ‘things’ for granted, whereas our experiences remain cherished
- Experiences tend to be shared with others more than things, so they bring the benefits of social connection and interaction
- They lead to much a happier quality of life
So, forget the big house, the shiny new Mercedes. Go on holidays, have dinners with friends, embrace your family, go dancing…the options for creating these experiences are endless.