The life experience mindset
Experiences are the sum of your identity. Whether you’ve ridden an epic climb in the Dolomites, backpacked through Europe, learned how to play an instrument or adventured across the plains of Africa — those moments add to your identity in a way that cannot be matched by a material item.
Your identity is a path defined by what you do and why you do it. It has been proven that happiness from material purchases diminishes over time, yet the joy from stand-out life experiences are carried with you much longer and become an ingrained part of our identity.
Experiences define your true self
When you fail to take part in experiences it means failure to discover your true self, your purpose and your passions. Our hobbies say so much about who we are. When we pursue an activity we learn a lot about ourselves. Hobbies give us an insight into our likes and dislikes, our strengths and weaknesses, our fears and beliefs.
In order to be truly happy you need to know your values, your purpose and your passions. This awareness is your compass through life, guiding and influencing your decisions. If you know cycling is one of your greatest passions for example, then it makes sense for you to set aside money for a cycling adventure as opposed to fancy new wheels for your car. Knowing your passions will make it easier for you to focus your budget on what’s important.
Don’t miss out on opportunities to pursue your passions. These are the experiences that matter to you and ultimately they will help shape your life and create unforgettable memories.
Mountain life mindset
During my recent move from the Vancouver to Squamish, I found there was a significant contrast in lifestyle between the two. Vancouver with its hustle and bustle, seemed to always be in pursuit of collecting more material things in hopes to achieve happiness and as a way to show status or career success.
Squamish on the other hand, knows how to collect moments. They are living the life experience mindset in a big way. Squamishians take time to go on adventures; whether it’s riding bikes, skiing, climbing, fishing, kiteboarding or simply relaxing by the cafe’ with their kids. In fact, adventure is so important to some people that they even choose to live in a van in order to save pennies for climbing trips.
There are many benefits of big-city living, but I think high levels of happiness isn’t one of them. Trying to keep up with the “Joneses” is a fleeting sense of gratification and can actually make you feel worse. We need to remember that happiness isn’t measured by a substantial bank account, a portfolio of properties or the collection of luxury cars lined up in the driveway. At the end of the day, all of that is just STUFF, that you won’t take with you when you die. What will matter on your final days is your collection of memories.
Experiences will never lose their luster. If you spent $100 on race entry fee with your friends, that’s an experience you’ll never forget—you can always go back to that moment and conjure up pleasant memories. If you instead spent $100 on a new house appliance, the excitement will most likely fade and mean nothing after a few weeks.
Adopt the life experience mindset
Choose to spend your time and money on experiences.
Meaningful moments and adventures with friends will provide much longer lasting and more fulfilling happiness than the temporary thrill of a large purchase. Plus, it’s been proven that frequent social interaction leads to healthier lives with less stress, depression and feelings of isolation.
The life experience mindset doesn’t have to be about going on crazy exotic trips and doing extreme sports. It’s about experiencing new things, getting out of your comfort zone, finding new paths, challenging yourself, meeting new people and taking the time to savour every amazing moment.
I want to leave this world knowing I made the most of every moment and opportunity. I want to have explored the world and realized all of the adventures on my bucket list. I want to feel content that I didn’t let fear stop me, that I gave it my all and left nothing on the table.
“Someday is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you” — Tim Ferriss