Tuesday, December 16, 2014

People are happier buying experiences rather than things

Here is a good probe by James Hamblin in The Atlantic into the understanding that people are happier buying experiences rather than things. In short:
  • Happiness comes from anticipation of the experience purchase, not just after it.
  • Waiting for a possession is more likely fraught with impatience than anticipation.
  • Experiences tend to makes us happier because we are less likely to measure the value of experiences by comparing them to experiences of others.
  • Experiential purchases tie more into identity, connection and social behavior.
  • We stop appreciating what is constantly in front of us, as opposed to the transient.
  • We don’t want to hear about other people’s possessions; experiences, yes.
  • Moods are better in a queue to buy an experience, versus material goods.
  • We tend to be more generous to others just after thinking about an experiential purchase, as opposed to a material purchase – also more likely to pursue social activities.
  • It’s suggested that the difference between imagining experiential versus material purchases lies in all the possibilities around the former.
What does it all tie back to? The unexpected and the imperfect, the evocative and the enchanting, the connecting and the inspiring – this is the magic of experience and you can’t put a price on it. If you could, it would be rising. The more embedded and automated that quality, service, distribution and performance become in the consumer society, the more the human factor matters.

Revolution begins with language, not just in political movements and at the organization-wide level with a company dream, but right down to the interpersonal level – at the desk, in the corridor, at the water cooler. Career-enhancing and life-changing moments often occur in everyday conversations where an impression is made, an opinion is formed or an idea is sparked.
At work, employees should demand the four success drivers every day in equal doses – responsibility, learning, recognition and joy. People rise up on these, and the organization rises with them. However the fab four have to be given, not just demanded, especially on the high-emotion fronts of recognition and joy. This is where language come to the fore.
So to a stellar piece of language advice in this article in INC by Jack Murphy Jr which shows how the smallest choice of words can make a huge difference. Five simple phases in this article are good examples of an EQ at work to make careers and shift worlds:
  1. “You’re welcome” (versus “No problem”).
  2. “Here’s what’s happening” (versus “I don’t have the full story”).
  3. “How can I help?” (versus “Sorry, I can’t help”).
  4. “I’ll find out” (versus “That’s not my job”).
  5. “I believe in you” (versus “It’s on your head”).
Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said: “I try to do the right thing at the right time. They may just be little things, but usually they make the difference between winning and losing.” It’s not just the doing, it’s the saying, as the article says.