By Amanda Froelich
A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” — George Carlin
The quote above does an excellent job portraying the ironic lifestyle most Americans have adopted. In order to be “happy,” most people work upwards of 50 hours a week. The money they earn pays for expensive cars, lavish houses, and dazzling jewelry. But are they happy with more and more possessions? According to a 20-year study, the answer is “no.”
The research was led by Dr. Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University. Along with his team, Gilovich concluded that “things” don’t make people happy. Rather, experiences do. The professor or psychology says the problem with happiness is that it fades quickly. There are three critical reasons for this:
1) We grow accustomed to new possessions
What was once shiny, new and “must-have” is now the norm.
2) We will always compare to the Joneses
You might live 20 miles away from civilization. But when you venture back into town and see all of the new, extraordinary tech on the market, comparisons will be made. It’s comparison that prompts people to buy more things.
3) We keeping raising expectations
Chances are, the life you are living now was once the lifestyle you dreamt about when younger. But, now that you have secured comfort, a decent amount of luxury, and comparative freedom, you want more. As you buy new items, you form new expectations. This shapes your future shaping habits.
“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” said Gilovich. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”
The world is rapidly changing. People are waking up to the reality that they are more than their “ego” or identity. Furthermore, free-thinkers are beginning to ask “why?” when told how to think, behave, and act in order to fit into society. The truth is, our world is incredibly flawed. And, by departing from nature, mankind is destroying itself and the planet. As people learn simple life lessons, such as experiences (not things) provide happiness, Earth will undoubtedly become a very different place.
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