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Do Experiences Trump Possessions?

Studies Show Experiences Trump Possessions

They say “You can’t buy happiness,” and while that may be true, the cold hard facts reveal that what you’re buying significantly affects your level of satisfaction afterwards. Buying possessions, such as a flashy new car or that iPad you’ve been eyeing, start with an initial "happiness high" that quickly fades away. Buying experiences, on the other hand, results in a high level of satisfaction that just keeps on growing.

The effect of purchasing possessions vs. experiences was the center of a recent study done at Cornell University. Professor of psychology, Thomas Gilovich headed up the study with Travis J. Carter, Ph.D and the results were quite conclusive. The study, published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that people are less satisfied with material purchases because they are more likely to second guess what they could have bought.

Gilovich explains, “Your experiences are inherently less comparative, they're less subject to and less undermined by invidious social comparisons. There's a lot of work in the area of well-being and happiness showing that we adapt to most things, therefore, things like a new material purchase make us happy initially, but very quickly we adapt to it, and it doesn't bring us all that much joy. You could argue that adaptation is sort of an enemy of happiness. Other kinds of expenditures, such as experiential purchases, don't seem as subject to adaptation."

"Imagine you buy a flat panel TV. You come to my house, and I have a bigger, clearer picture than yours. You're bummed out," Gilovich continues. "But suppose you go on a vacation to the Caribbean. You find out I've done the same, and mine sounds better than yours. It might bother you a little bit, but not nearly to the same degree because you have your memories; it's your idiosyncratic connection to the Caribbean that makes it your vacation. That makes it less comparable to mine, hence your enjoyment isn't undermined as much."

The study concludes, “Our results suggest that if people get more enduring happiness from their experiences than their possessions, at a policy level, we might want to make available the resources that enable people to have experiences.

The Gents Place is dedicated to doing just that. We provide an experience to our clients, and not just in terms of getting a hair cut or a straight razor shave. At the Gents Place we pride ourselves in using products that are an experience in themselves, resulting in the highest level of satisfaction. Don’t doubt the power of a luxury experience combined with top of the line products – come to the Gents Place to get the best experience with the best products today.

Some of the Gents Place’s favorite experience-enhancing products are:

Marvis Mint toothpaste
Whiskey Stones
Assorted Shaving Products

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Ben Davis

About Ben Davis

A serial entrepreneur, Ben Davis is founder of The Gents Place and a leading investor in gentlemen's refinement and confidence.

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