Home » Why Experience Is Better Than Stuff
Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness—
It’s written into the fabric of our nation. But why are people not happy when we have so much stuff to be happy about? Why does that new phone or car or pair of shoes not satisfy as deeply or as long as we might wish? It’s because all the stuff of our lives is external while our experiences, and our memories of them, are internal and literally a part of how we think. Dr. Thomas Gilovich, psychology professor at Cornell University has found the following to be true:
“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Gilovich. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”fastco
A friend and mentor of mine has said to me that “everything that has ever happened to you has prepared you for where you’re at right now,” which is an encouraging way to think about my experiences and what I’ve learned both good and bad. Those things that make me feel happiest are the times I’ve shared laughter with friends, accomplished a goal with my co-workers, or even come through a struggle or hardship with the support or my community.
“We consume experiences directly with other people,” says Gilovich. “And after they’re gone, they’re part of the stories that we tell to one another.” fastco
It’s those stories and the relational fabric that they create that really provides happiness. I think we all know that when we’re old and wise and reflecting on our lives we’re not going to regret the times we spent with loved ones. We’re not going to say, “you know, I really wish I would have had a bigger house. That really would have made life so much better for me.” What we are going to say is, “I’m so glad I spent time with my kids.” Or, “That trip I took to Italy with my wife sure was worth it!”
The things that really bring happiness are those things we do together with other people.
We all have a limited amount of time and money to spend each day, month and year. Mount Hermon Adventures is all about providing places, spaces, and opportunities where people’s lives are transformed. Will you join us for an experience that lasts a lifetime?