People often think that buying expensive cars, trendy clothes, and fancy gadgets can make their lives easier and happier. Sure, luxury products do make you happy, but that materialistic happiness is short lived.
For how long did you wear the pair of sneakers that you loved and bought last? I bet you were out shopping again for another pair in less than a few months.
Contrary to popular belief, being entangled in the never-ending cycle of consumerism doesn’t make you happy. It only makes you long for more. However, collecting moments and memories, instead of material things, can lead to a lifetime of happiness.
Here are six reasons why you should collect moments, not things.
1. You Can Collect Moments for Free
The biggest problem with collecting material things is that you can’t acquire them for free. Plus, comparisons of material items can quickly create feelings of unhappiness.
A friend of mine bought the latest smartphone. After spending more than $500 on it, he was happy only until he found that another friend had bought the same phone for less than $500. Apart from being unhappy, now he was also $500 poorer.
Moments and experiences, on the other hand, can be enjoyed free of cost. Sure, planning a family holiday or a surprise birthday party is going to cost some money. However, a lot of memories in our lives are created spontaneously and for free.
Think about the day your baby said “dada” for the first time, watching a marathon of GOT episodes with your best friends, admiring the sunset with your better half, spending some quality time with your loved ones, playing basketball with your kids, or talking for hours about your future plans with others.
Did any of these memories cost you money?
Just like these moments, most of the memories in your life are created without spending a penny. So, learn to live in the moment and enjoy every second of it.
2. Moments Define Your Personality
Our experiences and memories are the strongest factors that govern our behavior and shape our personality. People are born with different genetic predispositions.
However, it is environment, and memories that may bring out some of those characteristics while suppressing others. For example, coming from a financially weak background might make you practice gratitude for everything you have achieved so far.
In other words, experiences help you grow. Every experience you gain shapes who you are in one way or another.
Positive memories often encourage you to lead a fulfilling life, while negative ones enable you to learn from your mistakes. Even the simplest experience can shape your desires, beliefs, and goals.
May be that’s why memory loss can change your personality completely. So, instead of going after material things, start focusing on gathering memories and experiences to lead a happy life.
3. Bad Experiences Can Teach Valuable Life Lessons
Unfortunately, you can’t control all the memories and experiences in your life. As a result, you are bound to have a few bad experiences that may result in painful memories.
Nevertheless, in many ways, painful memories can teach you valuable lessons. You may not see the positive side right there and then, but it will become clear over time.
In fact, most bad experiences have a positive side. All you need to do is find that silver lining. Negative experiences can teach you resilience and may even bring out hidden capabilities that might change your life for the better.
So, the next time life throws a bad experience at you, analyze the valuable lesson you can learn from it instead of dwelling on it.
4. Memories Last Forever, Things May Not
Unlike material things, memories can last forever. Most material things perish, fade or break down eventually.
We live in a world where products have a limited shelf life. From clothes to electronics, new products with better features are continuously coming to stores, putting even the most recent purchase out of use sooner than you can imagine.
Take electronics, for example. Whether it is a mobile phone or a TV, new models are rapidly replacing old ones. The planned obsolescence is one of the reasons why buying material things can never lead to lifelong happiness.
Most memories, however, are embedded in your brain forever. Memories such as your first date, the first day in college, partying on New Year’s Eve with your friends, and running your first marathon will stay with you forever.
Every time you remember these experiences, they will bring a smile on your face. Honestly, a life without memories is no life at all. So, start investing your energy, time, and money in collecting wonderful memories.
5. Moments Are Shareable
Unlike material things, you can share moments effortlessly without any reservations. You can certainly share a laptop with your roommate occasionally or borrow someone’s bicycle for the day.
However, none of this is going to bring you closer together or share a common bond.
Talking about memories and experiences, on the other hand, can bring even strangers together. In fact, flashing a new car or showing off expensive gadgets can be off-putting. However, all of us love hearing about someone’s adventures and explorations.
Usually, when traveling, sharing previous experiences with fellow travelers helps you build a sense of trust and connect with new people. You don’t need to travel around the globe to collect memories worth sharing.
Most often, sharing a crazy moment in the office with colleagues or at the dinner table with family feels much better than eating alone in front of an expensive large-screen TV.
6. Each Moment Is Unique and Priceless
Most people fail to realize that each experience is unique. Unlike most material things, you can’t compare moments with each other. Even if you are going on the same trek, chances are you will meet new trekkers and make new friends.
But, the happiness arising from purchasing material things will fade away eventually. That’s why buying a second car may not be as exciting as buying the first one.
Similarly, each experience is priceless. Can you put a price tag on your child’s smile when he scores a goal in his first soccer game ever? All your efforts will mean nothing if you can’t appreciate even the smallest moments in your life.
One way to develop this perspective is to practice mindfulness. Pay more attention to the seemingly obvious aspects of your life to learn how priceless and unique each moment is.
In a market-driven world, people are living in the illusion that a fat bank account and the material things it can buy are the ultimate sources of happiness. Though spending your hard-earned money on material things can lead to instant gratification, everlasting happiness comes only from collecting moments.
Fortunately, anyone can lead this lifestyle regardless of their socio-economic background. Hopefully, the above reasons will help you understand the importance of such a lifestyle.