It’s exciting. It’s shiny. It’s novel. We’re so excited. Our brain is flipping out on a dopamine high, as it does for other rewarding, novel experiences.
And then…. it’s not.
The novelty wears off and we go back to feeling normal. It’s not a new car anymore. Or a new dress. Or a new pair of shoes. And it’s not fun anymore.
To get that high again we need something else new and exciting.
That will, unfortunately wear off equally fast.
The way to prolong our happiness is to spend our hard earned money on experiences. Research says that our happiness is about the same as when we buy a thing at the beginning, but as our happiness decreases over time with things, it increases over time with experiences.
Even having a negative experience increases our happiness over time. We get to tell the experience as a funny story, or share in the horror of it with someone else who was there – “OMG! Remember that party we went to? Worst party ever. I considered drowning myself in the punch at one point!”
Experiences shape who we are. They weave themselves in. They define how we see ourselves.
We may think that things define us – the car we drive, whether we wear designer clothes, but essentially they are separate from us and cannot have a lasting impact on ourselves and our happiness.
So think about the experiences you would like to have. And the way you would like to relate to them. Each and every one will be shaping the future you.