Motivation against depression: buy experiences not goods

A friend’s recommendation led me to 59 Seconds: Think A Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman. The book seeks to help you achieve aims and ambitions in minutes rather than months by laying out all that can be done in such little time. While I found myself disagreeing with a few of his suggestions, his insinuation that happiness is bought through experiences rather than material goods has stuck with me.

“Buy Experiences Not Goods. Want to buy happiness? Then spend your hard-earned cash on experiences. Go out for a meal. Go to a concert, cinema or theatre. Go on holiday. Go and learn how to pole dance. Go paintballing. Go bungee jumping. In fact, get involved in anything that provides an opportunity to do things with others, and then tell even more people about it afterwards. When it comes to happiness, remember that it is experiences that represent really good value for money.”

I’ll put my hand up right now and admit that I’m materialistic. I just love buying things (not to the extent that I’m a shopaholic!), even though I know the happiness they bring is only temporary.

In spite of this, I do look to buy experiences. For example, back in October my favourite band in the whole world announced their world tour. Unfortunately Ireland wasn’t on their agenda. Rather than sulk, I decided to look into travelling abroad to see them. People do that all the time, don’t they? My cousin travelled to Scotland to see Bon Jovi, even though they had also played Ireland just days previously. My first choice of destination was Amsterdam, mostly because nearly everyone I knew seemed to be going there around that time, and I had loved it when I was there a few years back, so why not? The show was sadly sold out in Amsterdam, so I turned to possibly my favourite European city…


No, it wasn’t my first choice, but it certainly wasn’t a consolation prize. I had been to Berlin twice before and loved it. It was the first holiday my fiancé and I went on together and so it holds a sentimental value to us. And luckily, the show wasn’t sold out!

My fiancé, who is a bigger fan of Berlin than anyone, quickly agreed to join me and I booked the concert. Yes, I felt buyer’s remorse, and kind of felt a little silly going abroad to see a band I could see on television/online any day of the week. However, I kept going back to Wiseman’s book and assured myself that I was buying an experience and it was better than a new phone or DVD.

The concert took place last week which is why I haven’t updated much in the last week, and boy was it an experience! In spite of the freezing temperatures, I was in a city I loved, watching the band I loved with the man I loved.

It won’t cure my materialism, but I believe that buying experiences impacts my mental health in a positive way each time, even just a little bit.

PS. the band subsequently announced an Ireland date!


2 thoughts on “Motivation against depression: buy experiences not goods

  1. Nice concert story. Buying experiences does seem like sound advice. I am an introvert though so I would probably be happier spending cash on a video game than going to a packed concert… or learning how to pole dance (no one wants to see that haha.)

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