Believe me, I wouldn't ask you to choose one over another if you could afford both. This article is not directed at the likes of Ambani, Mahindra or Gandhi, but the quintessential aam aadmi and aurat.
Most of us save money month after month in order to pursue our passion whether it is travelling across Europe or buying a Ferrari. We want both, but only have enough resources for one indulgence. For instance, my college friend, Gaurav, was torn between ordering a Macbook pro or taking a trip to South East Asia.
Nine out of ten times, we choose the gadget, car or house over experiences like travel, concerts, dance classes etcetera. The reason is fairly obvious: the possessions lasts longer and serves the utility purpose whereas the trips and concerts have an expiry date. It is what every middle class parent drills into the head of their children.
What if I told you that abundance of psychology research confirms exactly the opposite.
Thomas DeLeire, an associate professor of public affairs, population, health and economics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, published research examining nine major categories of consumption. He and Ariel Kalil of the University of Chicago discovered that the only category to be positively related to happiness was leisure: vacations, entertainment, sports and equipment like golf clubs and fishing poles.
When we build friendships with strangers in faraway lands we learn to trust. When we are exposed to different ways of leading a life, we shed our dogmas. Some of us realise that money or fame or professional success are not the only drivers in the world.
The first few days of using a product are indeed wonderful and exciting. When we click a picture of the shiny product and its sleek packing and put it up on Facebook, we get plenty of love and likes. Within a week, though, the enthusiasm dies down. And a few months later, it is just another gadget staring blankly at you.
Soon enough, there is another big conference by Tim Cook and a newer version of the Macbook or Iphone pops up. It is only a matter of time before the previous gadget starts to receive step-motherly treatment. Its happiness quotient is lower than the stocks of Kingfisher Airlines.
Experiences, on the other hand, are like wine that gets better with age. We are excited weeks before the travel date or the Swedish House Mafia concert, completely in the moment on the day of the action and brimming with happy memories when we return. The beauty of experiences are the they become sweet over time.
Even a bad experience becomes a good story,” writes Dr. Hamblin, reporting on research by Matthew Killingsworth, Thomas Gilovich and Amit Kumar. “When it rains through a beach vacation, as Kumar put it, ‘People will say, well, you know, we stayed in and we played board games and it was a great family bonding experience or something.’
Even if it was negative in the moment, it becomes positive over a period of time. That’s a lot harder to do with material purchases because they’re right there in front of you.”
I would go further to state that experiences have the potential to transform us. When we build friendships with strangers in faraway lands we learn to trust. When we are exposed to different ways of leading a life, we shed our dogmas. Some of us realise that money or fame or professional success are not the only drivers in the world. The CFO of Google, Patrick Pitchette, is a case in point. He left one of the most coveted jobs in the world to spend time with his wife and travel across Asia.
It would be silly to say what works for him will work for you. The answers vary from person to person. My friend choose to buy a Macbook and he is perfectly happy. It is entirely your choice, choose well.