The Pursuit of Happiness Doesn't Have to Cost The World

Posted on 2017-03-12
By Hazel Garcia

From global to personal, there are a lot of things in our world that cause a lot of stress, discomfort and panic. As a means to fight that, we like to spend our money on things we hope will make us happy, but we often fall short in our attempts. Now we know why.

New research done by Cornell University after a 20-year study has revealed that the most satisfaction we can get from spending money is not on material things, but actually on experiences.

This breakthrough revelation seems contrary to our thinking, as we typically prefer purchasing items that will bring us satisfaction for a long time, instead of experiences that last anything from a few hours to a couple of weeks.

A lot of people would rather own a sports car than going on a luxury cruise with their family. And yet, such precious memories bring endless comfort every time we remember the experience (unless it was a horrifying one of course).

But even though the sports car will be fun to ride, the novelty will wear-off after your gaze turns to something fancier or the car starts giving you trouble.

The infographic below courtesy of personal finance website InvestmentZen highlights the benefits of spending on experiences over physical goods. This spending, however, should be done after more important aspects such as saving and investing have been covered.

Not convinced? Think about the best stories you have from anytime in your life. How often have you started by saying "I remember the time I bought...". Even for gadgets you felt were so amazing spent hours queuing to purchase, it will turn to scrap, but the experience of waiting all night with your friends will linger.

What the researchers at Cornell discovered is that the excitement of an experience begins the moment you start thinking of it and remains long after the place has gone out of business, or most of the places we visit get replaced by VR alternatives.

Check out the infographic below, and maybe you will find some new ideas here as to how we can better spend money while simultaneously making the world better. For more information, you can access the original infographic.

Stories On Courage

Posted on 2016-10-11
“When two paths open before you, take the harder one.”
--Nepalese proverb

All of us come to some huge crossroads in our lives where we encounter a harder path and an easier one. When evaluating the harder path we have three options:

  1. Say Yes
    Saying yes takes courage, takes guts, and some fights with your inner demons. If you feel in your gut that the harder path seems like the right one for you, take it. Do not worry about how you will face the challenges on the path when you make the decision. Jack Canfield said, “Our job is not to figure out the 'how.' The 'how' will show up out of the commitment and belief in the 'what’.”

    Chose the harder path when you are absolutely committed to it. When you know it is the right thing to do.

  2. Wait and Delay The Decision
    In certain circumstances, like if you are not 100-percent positive about what you want to do, it is wiser to wait. Look at all your options carefully; explore your thoughts and feelings about each option.
    • What do you want?
    • What do you need?
    • What can you do right now?

    Do not delay the decision more than a week. Some people say they want to do four, five, or six major things in their lives and they don’t want to rush into a decision. Relax, if you want to start five different businesses in your life, you can. The average life expectancy in America is 77 years for a man and almost 82 years for a woman. Let’s be optimistic and assume this best-case scenario. If you are 30 years old, you still have 10 years for each business. If you’re older, then proportionally less, but still you can achieve at least two or three goals.

    Don’t be like the donkey that cannot decide whether to drink or eat so he dies of hunger and thirst in the midst of indecision. If you have more hard paths and you cannot choose, then be courageous and rely on the answer to the third question: “What can I do right now?” Or, be brave and choose the hardest of the hard ones.

  3. Say no
    This answer is good in only one case: if you are absolutely positive the hard path is not right for you at all. Choose no only if this answer is not about laziness or cowardice, but about pure disinterest, and only if yes would lead you to an unfulfilled life.

    However, in other cases, saying no can equal sloth, fright, weakness, and a lack of confidence.

    Let me tell you something demoralizing. You’re not that special. You’re not the first, nor the last trying to make a difficult choice. You’re not the first to say no either. There are nameless masses who have said no before you. But consider some of the most famous figures in history: Socrates, Alexander the Great, Galileo Galilei, Joan of Arc, Winston Churchill, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Marie Curie, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad. These are men and women who said yes to extremely difficult paths in life.

Great things are born only when you dare courageously. You might not win on the first attempt, but if you persist, you will become more courageous and closer to success.
If you feel that taking the big leap in your life to become more gutsy and daring needs a little more push, check out Catching Courage to get actionable advice and real-life examples how to take your courage to the next level.

Happy When It Rains

Posted on 2016-08-22

What do you think about raining? Most of the people hate it; they consider it a nuisance and better don’t even take a step outside. I think rain is the perfect condition nature created. Not only because it gives life but also because it gives happiness.

I can’t wait for it to rain. I have a raincoat, umbrella, my wellies and I go out to the city for a walk. I did it this morning because I woke up to a thunderstorm with the promise of rain, and the rain inspired me to write my first blog post.

It’s the end of August in continental Europe, trees start to get a sun-kissed orange and yellowish color, slowly falling down. The rain is not a warm July shower, but still not cold. It’s beautiful, refreshing, purifying and relaxing –, especially after the heat wave.

I think I can say nothing for people living in the UK to make them love the rain more, but maybe if you consider a bit the following, you will be more friendly with the rain causing you less headache and anger.

  • The air becomes fresher. It’s such a clean, wonderful feeling to go out and take a deep breath when it rains. If you live in a house with garden for extra scent intoxication, mow your lawn right before it starts raining. Fresh grass and rain have an invaluable fragrance together.
  • Walking in the rain makes you more confident. Especially if you hate the rain. Sounds weird, but it’s true. Going out in the rain to walk a bit against your better judgment increases your self- respect and confidence: “I hate it, but I could overcome it. And now here I am, standing in the rain. I’m strong.” Just like taking a cold shower to wake up – all your senses tell you not to do it, but if you do it, you’ll feel so much better – body and mind.
  • Rain is romantic. Who didn’t ever dream of her significant other to run towards her in the rain, confess love and passionately kiss her? Yeah, super cheesy, but cheese is good sometimes. Come on, tough guys, just admit it. Next time you have to walk in the rain just let your fantasy free a bit and picture all kind of romantic scenarios. You’ll see, you’ll reach your destination in no time. You’ll even desire to stay a bit more outside.
  • Rain is relaxing. Did you ever try to study, sleep or read with the windows opened when it rains? If not, you missed out a great attention booster. Raining has a refreshing, but monotonic sound, which blends in the environment but still stimulates your brain. I would gladly work outside in the rain, too. I hope Apple soon invents the waterproof version of their computer. If you live in a place where it hardly ever rains, check out this awesome app to generate “artificial” rain:
  • Rain is fun! I’m pretty sure you considered it so as a kid. Jumping in the puddles, watching your parents cream and protect themselves from you being an evil mud-monster… How much laughter you had! And who says you can’t do it now? The society? Is it not worthy behavior for a grown up? Ok, then imagine the two following scenarios: if you’re a lady who would you enjoy walking more with – a man who is excited, smiley and happy, teasing you with the raindrops and letting the fresh water fall upon his cheeks or a grumpy, swearing “adult” who keeps complaining every step he takes? If you’re a man, would you like to see a lady made of sugar, covering herself and hysterically begging for a cab, or a playful woman, who jumps in a bigger puddle or even takes her shoes off and enjoys what nature has to offer at the moment? Right?
  • Rain is cozy. If it’s freezing outside when it rains, for example in winter even, I think about it twice to go out. It’s not romantic, relaxing or fun to catch a cold in the winter. But rain has a solution even on the hostile days. A slightly opened window (for the sake of the sound), a warm fireplace (or candles), a cup of tea or cocoa and a great read or movie or cuddling with your significant other and the rainy day can end up being better than any sweaty summer day.

Maybe I’m a bit biased regarding rainy days, but honestly, isn’t it better to see the day in a brighter perspective, even if the sky is overcast? The day will pass anyway, whether you enjoy it, whether not – and it will never come back.

If you still couldn't find a reason to smile when it rains, just watch this ... um lady enjoying it.