Chapter 1 Topics

1-B: Scientific Evidence on Happiness

hot tub z

My wife and I consider things that improve our quality of life to be wise investments, not extravagant indulgences.

I recently watched a wellness expert explain in a TED Talk how scientific research clearly shows that having lots of experiences and services brings more happiness than owning lots of possessions.  Most people would agree theoretically, but surprisingly few actually manage their finances accordingly.  However, it’s not always one versus the other.  In some cases, you’re paying not so much for the thing itself, as you are for the services and experiences it offers. 

I confess that my wife and I have lots of “toys”, but they have more to do with the joy of living than vanity and materialism. For instance, our boat, hot tub and paddleboards are not just “things” we acquired – they’re life-enhancing concepts that serve us well, lead to memorable experiences and bring us joy.  We have friends and family who are significantly wealthier than we are, but we certainly don’t envy their day-to-day lives.  What’s the point of having money if your everyday reality lacks fun and relaxation?

It’s normal to want nice things, but for the most part, owning a valuable item does little or nothing to significantly improve your ongoing happiness and well-being.  A hot tub, on the other hand, is not just “a thing to be had” – rather, it’s something that actually serves you, and the regular experience enriches your life!

Continue reading to find out how.