“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”
There are so many things you can spend money on nowadays. We live in a world that is obsessed with consumption. Houses, cars, technology, etc. are all things that we are enticed into buying. We can’t go anywhere, including on our laptops, without encountering advertisements urging us to buy the latest trend or technological advancement.
But why do companies push their goods on you? What is the catch? How is it that they can bait their hooks so well into you, reel you in, and catch you where you feel that you MUST purchase their products?
Well, here it is... They offer you happiness as you consume their goods. We can all admit that buying a new house, car, iPhone, or hamburger from a fast food restaurant might satisfy you momentarily, but the satisfaction will not last. Experiences on the other hand, live on forever. If you spend money on long lasting experiences, as opposed to material stuff, you are going to have a much greater sense of joy and contentment in your life. I know because David and I for many years tried to fill our happiness void with stuff only to learn that stuff is temporary and experiences are the only thing that endures.
1. Experiences are Priceless
Material things have an expiration date but experiences live on. The house and car you buy are great things but over time the satisfaction you receive from them, more often than not, diminish. The high that you get when you first purchase something never lasts for very long.
However, experiences never lose their luster. You might have spent $150 on The Lion King Musical tickets, but that is an experience you will never forget. You can always go back to that moment in your mind and relive those wonderful feelings. Perhaps you will never forget a night out you had with your husband, having dinner, at the movies, or dancing. You will never forget when you were at the Super Bowl that took place in your home town or when you took that road trip through Europe and wound up staying the night in a castle on the countryside of France. These are life experiences that can NEVER be replaced no matter how many cars or gadgets you purchase.
Of course you need a place to live and a car to drive. There are certain things and technologies that we are required to have to live. But before you run out and buy the newest iPhone on the market, you should ask yourself if that $700 could be used to purchase a long lasting experience instead.
2. Experiences Aid in Discovering Purpose & Passion
If you are only spending money on material things then chances are you have not discovered your purpose or passion in life which serve as a compass to get you through life and satisfy your belonging.
I'm not saying that experiences should be expensive or grandiose, as well as your purpose and passions. However, your experiences should be in line with what you are passionate about. If you enjoy water sports, for example, and perhaps you feel that you should be a champion surfer then it makes sense for you to spend money to get to the best beaches to surf. Learn and experience as much as possible about surfing and about the biggest and best waves!
The experiences that matter the most will take a hold of your life and your purpose. And they will always be the best investments.
3. Experiences Changes Your world perspective
There is no better way to learn about world perspectives than traveling. Traveling is hands down one of the greatest ways to experience different cultures, societies and views. It is the best education that you will never receive in a classroom. While international travel is wonderful, and should be experienced you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to reap the benefits of travel. Simply taking a road trip or a weekend getaway to a new destination will give you a new experience. Or simply spending time in nature can be a refreshing experience.
One of my best memories was when I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude while sitting on a quiet beach watching a magical sunset. Or the time when I experienced a huge accomplishment of conquering my fears by hiking a huge mountain of boulders to the top where the most amazing view of the forest was my reward. Experiences like this won’t cost you a dime, but they have the potential of being life-changing while changing your perspective.
4. Experiences Teach Life Lessons
Experiences are worth the investment because they teach you life lessons that you can't get anywhere else. Traveling to new places teaches patience, tolerance, understanding, and organizational skills. A ticket to the theater or a musical will expose you to the performing arts. A museum or exhibit gives you knowledge of historical events. And at a sporting event you will learn about commitment and stamina it takes to be an athlete.
As humans, we hunger for experiences that are meaningful and significant. And these experiences will transform your life. They teach us how to be humble, virtuous, and compassionate. These lessons might not be so noticeable at first but believe me, they are main reason why we spend money on experiences.
5. Experiences Teach Gratitude
Experiences, that you find to be worthwhile and meaningful, will undoubtedly give you a deep feeling of gratitude, like I had mentioned previously when I experienced the sunset on the quiet beach. Experience gives you a sense of gratitude for being alive. And these feelings often lead to appreciation of even the smallest and mundane experiences. It could be that you will experience a paradigm shift, where ALL experiences are experiences to cherish.
To live gratefully is the best way for you to live happily. When you inundate your life with grateful experiences, you will be more grateful for life as a whole.
6. Experiences are Unforgettable
For many people the main reason for investing in experiences is that they are unforgettable whether you've had a good or bad experience. Just the experience itself sets your brain in motion. For example, last year when we were flying to our new home with heaps of luggage in tow, we found ourselves stranded in a place (Austria) that was not part of our plan. We spent double of what our budget was and it took us double as long to reach our destination. However, we took the negative and turned it into a positive and now we have a memory that will last a lifetime!
These memories can be very useful if you are going through a rough time. Having pleasant memories to reminisce on can be quite therapeutic. And they could perhaps serve as a reminder that, just maybe things aren’t as terrible as they seem.
7. Experiences are Exciting and Challenging
Experiences are exciting and challenging, just like my hike up those boulders that I previously mentioned. I am not a very sporty person. Hiking is not really my forte. But when my friend that I hadn't seen in over a year suggested it as a way to spend a sunny afternoon, I looked at it as a great time to spend together and as a challenge. And I have to say that after the first boulder was conquered the challenge became exciting! These kinds of experiences are unforgettable because of the difficult task you are forced to overcome. Accepting the challenge of climbing a mountain, trying a new Asian dish or learning a new language can be gratifying for anyone who goes for it and survives it.
Overcoming challenges are not only inspiring but gives us contentment in our lives. Whether or not you realize it, you need to be prompted to an certain degree in order to reach your full potential.
8. Experiences are Meaningful
In today’s economy most of us are looking for ways to cutback on spending, rather than to increase it. With that being said, we shouldn't to waste money on new experiences that aren’t meaningful to us. Therefore, getting the most bang from the buck is necessary. The goal is not to throw money away at every opportunity that comes your way but rather research and decide what experiences are most meaningful for you. And what experiences are important to your well-being.
So, go ahead and fill your life up with experiences. There are many that will cost you nothing, some are reasonably priced, and some will be expensive from a financial standpoint, but rich with enduring memories. And if you link these with your passions you will always find satisfaction. Spending your money on stuff is easy and limits your happiness. But investing in experiences will bring a lifetime of happiness that will never fade away. For David and I, once we were hit with the realization that “Less is More” and that fast cars, fancy houses and big TVs didn't contribute to our lack of joy, we set our sights on what did; travel and being with family. We began to reconfigure our lifestyle and downsize in every area, that has taken us several years to accomplish. We are now at our end goal and love spending money on experiences rather than stuff. I would encourage you to do the same!
Is there an experience that you recall that brought you great joy?
We would love to hear about it!
With Love and Blessings,
Robin and David
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