Recent years have seen intense discussion on happiness. One sub set of discussion revolves around Possession v/s Experience. Would a 3 Day Holiday in an Exotic Place gives more happiness than I Phone 5s purchased for less than half the Money. Many experiences are individual, while Holidays are collective experiences shared with your dear ones, so it may not be a useful indicator. Still, it talks lot about our likings and preferences, mostly we Indian settle for material possession as against experience. A gift is far more valuable than a dinner in an expensive restaurant. We are taught about virtue of using pencil to the last holdable part to enjoying every bite we take.
Things are now changing very fast. Youngsters/Upwardly mobile people have far more income than to worry about life style. It has now given a new dimension to whole spending experience. A good room in Five Star Hotel does give lot of pleasure and obviously give people something to boast about. Things are pretty different in other parts of the world. Recent survey by American Psychologist give precedent to Experience than Material Possession. The snippet of one such survey is reproduced below.
“Do experiences make people happier than material possessions? In two surveys, respondents from various demographic groups indicated that experiential purchases-those made with the primary intention of acquiring a life experience–made them happier than material purchases. In a follow-up laboratory experiment, participants experienced more positive feelings after pondering an experiential purchase than after pondering a material purchase. In another experiment, participants were more likely to anticipate that experiences would make them happier than material possessions after adopting a temporally distant, versus a temporally proximate, perspective. The discussion focuses on evidence that experiences make people happier because they are more open to positive reinterpretations, are a more meaningful part of one’s identity, and contribute more to successful social relationships.
We could draw our own conclusion. In my view; deep down inside, we value experience more than material possession. We value time spent with loved ones or friends more than anything else. Our old jacket with nostalgic feeling gives us more pleasure than a newly purchased suit, even though we are never going to wear the jacket ever. In such scenario, material possession acquires a new meaning of an experience. In life, things which are scared can not be replicated gives us more pleasure, unfortunately, we as a society; we provides far more importance to the material possession and in process, we loose the joy of experiences.