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“Experiences are better than stuff. Experiences are dynamic,” says Dr. Laurie Santos. When we are faced with the question, “what will make us happy?”, these are the most common answers recorded in responses: money, a good job, a relationship, marriage, a promotion, a dream house, a college acceptance and degree, etc.
When we try to create something as fluid as happiness into a black and white frame of thinking, that’s when our minds, desires, and intuitions are led astray.
Research shows that those who are making six figures a year, let’s start with $100,000, normally aren’t as fully satisfied with their income as we’d think they’d be. Studies show that these folks are usually yearning to make at least $250,000, instead.
Think back to being a kid in the grocery store, standing eye-level with a box of Lucky Charms. Suddenly, this attractive exterior is far more appealing than the other plain boxes. However, when you open a box of Lucky Charms, there isn’t a rainbow bursting out of the cardboard walls. There isn’t a jolly Leprechaun who springs to life, conjuring up unicorns, stars, or rainbows in your kitchen (which, depending on your personality, could be either enchanting or terrifying.)
While you may experience temporary joy through your the vibrantly-adorned box, the final result is pretty underwhelming; especially considering all the hype the commercials build up to convince you to buy this particular product.
What if it isn’t the Mercedes Benz we’re after, but instead the idea that somehow, the possession of this object will draw in larger audiences and fulfilling emotions towards us that we’ve been craving?
There is only so much products and titles can offer us, and most of the time, the happiness rooted in them is temporary. There is a drastic difference between yearning to get into a college because it feels right to you, as opposed to feeling as though decision is the end all be all. If we continue to rely our happiness, futures, and well-beings on outside elements, we’ll never feel satisfied.
Many of our childhood values are linked to the sheer curiosity of life, a love of people, and a desire to learn. The most meaningful moments of our life today are built from these elements.
Focusing on the feeling first is where we will find the most authentic value in the experiences we choose embark on. Deciding for ourselves on where our best interests lie is how we will find those experiences that best align with what we genuinely need.