Why Experiences Are More Valuable Than Material Possessions

We buy stuff to make us happy.  We buy stuff to keep up with the Joneses.  We buy stuff to have the latest technology gadgets.  But do these possessions bring you lasting happiness or do they make your life miserable? If you had a choice, would you spend money on possessions or experiences?

We Get Used to Our Possessions

When you buy a new car, or the latest iPhone, in a few weeks, you get used to it. It becomes a part of your life, and the novelty fades away.  In a couple of years, these possessions become old and obsolete.  Very soon, you will be looking to buy the next big thing that will bring excitement to your life.

We Are Our Experiences And We Remember Experiences Far Longer

We, humans, are a sum of our experiences.  We are connected by our stories, not what we own.  Experiences, like possessions, can be fleeting but we remember experiences for a long time but not the things we own.

Would you rather hear about someone’s $75,000 new Tesla or the African safari they went on?

Anticipation And Gratitude

When we are about to go on a vacation, we look forward to the trip. There is a sense of anticipation and sometimes uncertainty in planning the trip. This is very different from the anticipation when you are about to buy physical things.

Similarly, when we look back on the trip, we remember our experiences with gratitude even if the experience wasn’t a perfect one. Experiences are more memorable than things.  When you look back on your family vacation from 10 years ago, you have mostly good memories.

Social Connection

We share our experiences with friends and family.  We build deep relationships with people when we share an experience. One of my best friends had a difficult relationship at work with his colleague. They went to a volunteer event together, bonded well, and became best buddies.

Less Competition With Friends And Family

Experience is harder to compare than physical things.   You might occasionally compare your vacation to your friend’s vacation. But this comparison is better than comparing physical things because experiences can be unique and memorable even if they are not expensive or exotic. When you don’t compare yourself to others, you are much happier and satisfied.

Reduces Clutter In Your House

Buying physical things just takes space.  Most of us never get rid of physical things even if those things have become old and obsolete.  Experiences, on the other hand, reside in your memory or as photos on your phone.

Bottom Line

Next time, spend money on experiences instead of things.  There is no point in keeping up with your neighbors and friends by buying things that will eventually be obsolete. Fill your life with experiences. Take the vacation you have been wanting to go on for years. Go to a concert.  Your experiences are more valuable than things and will be memorable for a long time.

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