We have been telling our parents for years now that it is okay to go out and spend an entire life savings on travelling the world, but now science is backing it up as well. The Cornell University have done some psychological research that shows that the key to happiness lies within experience as opposed to material possessions. Dr Thomas Gilovich led the study for over two decades and he has stated that the underlying value to each experience lies within its own adaptation. For example, you may be successful and you may buy something that makes you happy, but after a while, this feeling will wear off because you have adapted to your situation.
In other words, you become familiar to the things that you own and over time. On the other hand, the happiness that you feel from things that you have done goes up as time goes by, because the experience is part of you and it helps to shape your own identity as a person. So basically that new Xbox One that you wanted won’t feel as good in a couple of year’s time, but your trip to Asia for three months will still bring you happiness for the rest of your life.
Gilovich has also stated that instead of going out and buying a huge TV screen, you should spend your money on other experiences such as travel, outdoor activities or even visiting exhibitions. He has also stated that even though you may feel that your identity is connected to these possessions, it isn’t because they will always be separate to you whereas the experiences that you have in life will always be linked to your personality and your memories.