Experiences or Stuff?

Is there any topic that you’re really interested in? I love reading about happiness, mindfulness and positivity stories. Did you know that you can set up Google Alerts that will monitor the web and will send you links to content related to your search terms?  I love this and thought I should share this with you. It’s like receiving a little knowledge gift in your inbox everyday. I used to receive knowledge management links when I worked in this field and loved seeing the latest and greatest news and research. Just type “google alerts” in your search bar and they’ll walk you through the simple setup.

I am preparing a program about the gift of happiness and looked through some of the research I’ve collected on the topic. One of the sections is about whether money can buy happiness. And of course, the answer is, it depends. I love this answer, by the way, for many questions, like when your kids ask you whether they can have x,y or z, you can buy yourself some time in deciding your reply by saying it depends.  I also like answering with a question and having them try to think for themselves. But that’s another topic.

So back to this money and happiness thing…they say after about $75,000, your needs are met and more money doesn’t necessarily bring more happiness.  Let’s say you have more money and your food and shelter needs are met, how should you spend that extra money to bring you happiness?

They say that spending money on experiences will bring you more long term happiness than spending money on stuff. When you spend money on something fun, you get the joy and anticipation of waiting for the event and then you get to enjoy the actual experience. And then afterwards you have the joy and excitement from the memory you’ve created and the stories you get to share. Plus, most people don’t compare their experiences or feel that someone else has a better experience than themselves, so there is a more complete sense of joy.

The other thing about material acquisitions is that we adapt to the thing quickly and then want the next thing and don’t stay satisfied for long. We also tend to compare what we buy with what others have bought and this sometimes leads to dissatisfaction.  For example, if I buy a new iPhone 5 and then my friend buys a new iPhone6+, I might feel like mine isn’t good enough, just from knowing that my friend has one that is better even though I was perfectly happy with my own until I compared myself to others even though I and you never, ever do that, right?  I might want to have the iPhone195 just to feel superior and that mine is the best. But you know the next iPhoneMillenium would be right around the corner and lead to my quick disillusionment. So stop with the stuff and the quick fix that needs another quick fix and spend your money on play and fun instead, and be sure to share that fun with someone.  Experiences, especially shared ones with loved ones, create memories and stories and that’s what gives life meaning.

Another guru says that the secret to the good life are good relationships. So see? I think we’re on to something.

Pick a loved one, a BFF or special someone and plan something for you both to experience together and it doesn’t have to be fancy. Enjoy the anticipation before you go, have fun together, share your story and live happily ever after.






Jessica Herrin, a wonderfully talented, well rounded woman and the founder of Stella and Dot, just celebrated her birthday after Thanksgiving. She posted a picture of a card that one of her daughters gave her that stood out to me. The card mentioned all the things her daughter loved about her.  I found this incredibly charming.

One of the adjectives she used to describe Jessica was accomplished, in addition to many other kind words such as loving, beautiful, witty, unique, forgiving, caring and strong to name a few.  The accomplished one really stood out to me and I wondered about it.

How did her young daughter realize how accomplished her mother really was? Is this something she heard people say about her? Is this something she says about herself? I liked all the other adjectives too, but this one shined. Her daughter sees her mother as accomplished and she admires her. This is a beautiful thing.

I love this.

Jessica Herrin is accomplished and has accomplished many wonderful things. She has built a successful company, has helped so many women build careers for themselves, given back to the community, and has a supportive husband, and loving and daughters. She is smart, kind, genuine and is also a Christian. She is definitely accomplished in many areas and her daughter admires her. This is a wonderful gift for both of them.

I looked up the definition of this word and it means highly trained or skilled. I next wondered if I was accomplished and how would I know and what would I be accomplished at?

Then later during the weekend, Jeff and I were talking and he described me as accomplished and I stood back thinking this was too weird as I mentioned I was wondering about this word and now he was using it to describe me, even though I never mentioned Jessica’s birthday card and my curiosity.  Weird.

So I wondered some more. How am I accomplished and what do I want to accomplish?

I feel that I am accomplished as a mother now that I have many years of experience and continue to practice daily.  I feel successful so far in my role as a parent, even though there is always more work to be done. I’m sure this is true for every profession. I feel accomplished in my marriage, now that I’ve been married for many years and still love and admire my life partner. This feels good to me.  I feel accomplished in my community and know that I have more to do and will never be done. So yes, I like this word and want to continue practicing this life practice that is my path and I want to continue adding to my list of accomplishments, whatever those might be.

I am getting ready to celebrate the accomplishments of my sisters who are graduating and becoming a teacher and a nurse this month. I am so excited for them and happy to see that their hard work and tenacity is paying off. They have accomplished so much and I am proud of them.

How are you accomplished? What are you highly trained and skilled at doing? Are you practicing what you love and sharing your strengths?  We all have gifts and talents. What are yours?  Celebrate wonderful you. xo  Namaste