How is that in modern life we have more – but we are more miserable? Everything is bigger, better and more readily available and yet overall happiness continues its downwards spiral. How can we have come so far, only to find ourselves feeling so empty?
I have a theory that answers all of these questions and it is quite simple. People nowadays focus more on obtaining possessions then they do life experiences.
These people live in a work-spend-work state of mind, where their driving forces and motivation for doing anything is simply obtaining or buying new things.
You know that feeling right? When you buy something new, it feels great for awhile. It’s all new and exciting and then the feeling wears off…… it becomes old, 37 other people have the same thing, then you find yourself wanting to get rid of it, only to buy the next best thing and the cycle continues.
Even though you really wanted that thing for a long time, when the time came that you actually got it, you probably didn’t even celebrate at all. There was no accomplishment, no nothing, just empty feelings…. so this is what I’ve been working so long and hard for?
“Things” are sometimes needed in your life. You do need a car, you need new clothes, you may even think you need a new big screen T.V. I’m not trying to say you need to live without buying anything to be happy. I’m saying you should not make these things your goals or reasons to be happy.
The reason is simple. “Things” break, things get old, things wear out (or get thrown out!) and things get lost. Other people can also have the same things as you, so they are not unique or special to you.
I want you to consider what an experience is – an experience is something only you can have. It is your experience and even if two people do the exact same thing, their experiences will be different – completely different.
Case in point, if you and I go to Paris, we will have our own unique experiences. Anytime you recall your experiences in Paris, you will feel a surge of fantastic memories from your time in Paris. Those memories will never fade, they will stay with you for a lifetime. Now think about a thing you bought 6 months ago and see if you have the same feelings…
Right now, think of times when you did something amazing. Maybe it was from your childhood, I bet when you think about it right now, you will begin to feel good feelings. Even if this happened a long time ago, after all of this time, it still feels great just thinking about it.
Think of those parents who hardly spend any time with their kids when they are growing up. Sure, they care about them a lot and they buy lots of things to show their love but they don’t spend any quality time with them at all – they don’t share any experiences together. Then these people wonder why they are not closer to their kids as they grow up.
It took me a long time to realize this but the reason I am so close to my family and my parents is because we used to do a lot of things together when we were younger. We would go to the park all the time, we went to other cities together, we would go for a 2 week camping trip every year, our parents would always come and watch us play sport and cheer for us. These are all experiences that we remember and have shaped us into who we are today.
If you start to focus on getting new experiences or SHARING experiences in life as your driving force for doing whatever it is that you do, you will get a new lease on life.
Go to new places, expand your horizons, learn something new, do something you have always wanted to do, spend more time with friends, family and/or kids.
Don’t be motivated by money, or getting new things. Be motivated to experience life. For when your time finally comes, these experiences will be the “things” that matter most to you.