Experience Is The True Key To Happiness
The Long-Lasting Impact of Experience
We’ve been digging into the growing body of research on the importance of human experience and the links between experience, happiness, social cohesion and – what some economists call – The Experience Economy.
The related concepts of design, user experience, and guest services feed into the larger experiential picture but in this article we focus on the link between experience and happiness.
Related: The Gift of Experience
The Connection Between Experience And Happiness
A few years back, author James Hamblin published an article in The Atlantic that ties together some interesting ideas about the source of happiness in our lives. The article described some of the recent psychological research connecting true happiness to human experience.
According to the article, it’s not material possessions that make us happy… it’s our experiences.
For many readers this is no grand discovery. In fact, the connection between experience and happiness is the guiding principle here at The Duluth Experience. And without a doubt, it’s the central idea at the core of our company mission… connecting our guests to Duluth. We’ve built our company on the idea that experience is a major source of happiness in life and allows us to gain a more intimate understanding of the world.
The Atlantic article summarizes some interesting research on the source of happiness. The findings indicate that people who spend money on experiences tend to be much happier than those who spend their cash on material possessions. Anticipation, they suggest, drives happiness and the psychological benefits of spending money on experience accrues before the purchase has been made, during the experience, and afterwards.
In other words, happiness derived from experience has a much longer-lasting effect that the brief happiness created by the consumption of “things”.
According to the article, experiences tend to be more associated with identity, connection, and social cohesion. Looking back on purchases made, experiences make people happier than possessions and they provide a stronger social connection to others – those who have shared the experiences with you and those who have gained a sense of happiness from hearing about the experience. And don’t get me started on the happiness created when sharing stories of your epic adventures… that’s priceless.
These solid, exciting connections link to other memories in the brain and help connect our experiences together in a meaningful way. In the end these experiences help us gain a deeper understanding of the world and our place in it.
So the next time you’re looking for (and stressing over) the perfect gift for your friends and family… consider investing in an experience rather than another gadget. The experience will better your life and the lives of those who you include, make you all much happier, and connect you to the exciting and meaningful world around you.