While most of us know this on a gut level, some interesting research by Gilovich at Cornell University, confirms that even though we think that buying a physical object will make us happy because it will last longer, it is really experiences like going to art exhibits, doing outdoors activities, learning a new skill, or traveling.
“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Gilovich. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences?”
I find this very interesting in terms of my own research on climate change adaptation and mitigation. Many people talk only about the need to adapt (respond), while others argue we need to both mitigate (prevent) and adapt. This research adds a whole new dimension to this argument. It also reminds me of the difference between growth and development--the former is adolescence and the latter, becoming an adult.
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