Time + Experiences + People = Smiles (Guest Author: Peter Mack, Vice President of Experience & Innovation at Tough Mudder)

Peter Mack has dedicated himself and his work to understanding how we crave, consume, and share experiences.  For over 15 years, Peter has studied, created, perfected, and delivered experiences.  Peter lives in New York City where he spends his time daydreaming of the mountains and planning journeys to interesting places and devising experiences for unique people.  Check out our about page for more info, for Pete's professional credentials, or to get in touch.

Peter Mack has dedicated himself and his work to understanding how we crave, consume, and share experiences. For over 15 years, Peter has studied, created, perfected, and delivered experiences. Peter lives in New York City where he spends his time daydreaming of the mountains and planning journeys to interesting places and devising experiences for unique people. Check out our about page for more info, for Pete’s professional credentials, or to get in touch.

Re-posted from http://www.theartofexperiencing.com:

Last week my face glimmered with an ear-to-ear grin.  In retrospect, I used my time well.  I went to a Tough Mudder– the intensely fun event which has given millions of people a challenging thrill and “a story to tell.”  I had drinks and dinner with old friends.  I experienced Queen of the Night at the Diamond Horseshoe, which the New York Times calls a spectacular experience of “Subterranean acts of sudden intimacy”.  And to top it off I spent the holiday weekend with family I don’t get to see frequently.  Why did I smile so much?  I had rich experiences, I made good use of my time, and I felt togetherness with friends and family.

You may already know that psychologists have proven that there’s no real relationship between more money and increased happiness.  However, personal happiness is directly connected to how people choose to spend their time.  Spending time wisely is proven to make people happier whereas spending money is not.

How can time make us happy?  57% of Americans say that paying for experiences makes them happier than buying things.   And satisfaction with experiential purchases increases over time, whereas satisfaction with “stuff” decreases over time.  Invest in what you love to do, not things you love to have.

What can you combine with good, experiential use of your time to make you even happier?  Social connection and time with friends or loved ones can bring you even more satisfaction.  Things that bring us together satisfy us most deeply.  Spending Money on others and giving to other makes us happy.  Psychological studies have proven this time after time, even among young children.  In one study, two-year olds were happier giving away goldfish crackers from their own stash, rather than receiving the crackers or giving away crackers from someone else’s pile.

Why did I smile so much last week?  What’s the magic equation?  [Time used wisely] + [Interesting experiences] + [People whom we love] = Big smiles.  It’s that simple.  Try it and let me know if you get the same resulting grin.

Sources:

Van Boven & Gilovich, 20303, ‘To do or to Have, that is the question’
Dunn et al., 2008, ‘Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness’
Kahneman et al., 2006, ‘Would You Be Happier If You Were Richer?  A Focusing Illusion’
Mogilner, 2010, ‘The Pursuit of Happiness.  Time, Money, and Social Connection’
Aknin et al., 2012, ‘Giving Leads to happiness in Young Children’

2 Comments
  • coylehospitality

    Great post, Peter. It made me ask “How is it that we experience things?” We first use our senses which affect us emotionally. I suppose that is why far and away my favorite way to spend time and money is dining out (or in) with friends and family. Taste is so raw and powerful, as is the shared experience of trying something new or turning someone onto a favorite dish. Add some good people/conversation to the mix (and of course wine) it creates pure and lasting joy.

  • Arthur Chang

    Hi Peter, my wife and I took the ‘Urban Dare’ this weekend, which is basically to a one-day Amazing Race throughout major cities in the US. While I’m sure it was not as physically challenging as Tough Mudder, we worked with each other to solve clues, tackle challenges, sprint across the city, and had an overall great time. Your magic equation perfectly captured why we enjoyed our experience so much. We invested in something meaningful, and this gift will just keep on giving over time as we share stories and strategize for the next event.

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