That crazy bet on a rank outsider has paid off. You can now trade in your old wheels for a new car that will boost your self esteem and make you the envy of your friends.

Or you and the family can have the holiday of a lifetime, no holds barred, no expense spared, a forever-after of fantastic memories. Like here in Sri Lanka, for example.

What to do?

No contest, according to Cornell University psychology professor Thomas Gilovich (pictured right). Happiness comes from great experiences, not stuff. He says:

“People often think spending money on an experience is not as wise an investment as spending it on a material possession.

“They think the experience will come and go in a flash, and they’ll be left with little compared to owning an item.

“But in reality we remember experiences long afterward, while we soon become used to our possessions.

“At the same time, we also enjoy the anticipation of having an experience more than the anticipation of owning a possession.”

His research is published in a paper entitled A wonderful life: experiential consumption and the pursuit of happiness, which includes this thought-provoking quote by Bo Derek: “Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.”

It’s summed up in a post on the Big Think website, which says: “In particular, Gilovich focused on the purchases people make, comparing how they felt spending money on material posessions versus experiential purchases. He found that people were ultimately much happier as a result of experiences.”

So now you know. Forget the new car, new shiny stuff, expensive baggage that just weighs you down. Time to hit the road and do something memorable… Welcome to Paradise!

Read the full Big Think post here.

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