Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team
We’ve all been there — payday rolls around and we dole out money for bills, groceries, gas and other necessities like any responsible adult. But when there’s an extra bit of cash? We splurge. A new pair of shoes, electronics we’ve had our eye on or even dinner at an upscale restaurant has quite the appeal.
It’s true, material goods can bring us some level of happiness, but imagine if you took the money you spend on things and invested it in experiences instead. Do you think you’d lead a more fulfilled life?
Megan Watt sure thinks so.
As an inspirational speaker, author, career coach and owner of Dream Catalyst Labs, Madison (Opens in a new tab), Megan offers this tidbit of insight:
“I believe that experiences are how we truly grow as people. Experiences push us to lengths that material goods can’t and, to me, that’s why we’re here — to continue to grow as human beings and to contribute something to this earth.”
Think about it, is your new shade of lipstick or brand new flat-screen TV life-changing? Probably not. What about traveling the world, helping a friend in need or volunteering at a homeless shelter? Now we’re getting somewhere.
“Most of my experiences are a lot more joyful and create long-lasting memories in ways material goods just don’t,” says Megan. “Experiences are what help to shape who we are. They’re how we find out what our interests are, what our strengths are and what our dreams are. And in order to pursue a dream, you must take action. Experiences can help with that.”
So, are you ready to start investing in your most fulfilling dreams? Here’s where to start:
Be okay with less. The less you buy and consume, the more you have to spend on experiences that really matter.
“When it comes to prioritizing experiences over things, the first step is being ok with less,” explains Megan. “Embrace the idea that if you’re an adventurous person, you’re going to be adventurous whether you have a lot of money or not. If you’re a giving person, you’re going to be a lot more giving when you spend less of your money on things. So work on this mindset of choosing joy and experiences over material goods.”
Have gratitude. What can you do to embrace a less materialistic lifestyle? Have gratitude!
“Absolutely be thankful for what you have,” says Megan. “If you live in a mindset of wanting more things and think you’ll be happier once you have the new house or new car, you could end up miserable. So I think it’s critical to shift your mindset to a place of gratitude.”
Know what matters. So many of us get caught up in our daily responsibilities that we fail to acknowledge what really matters in life. So it’s important to rethink your priorities on regular basis and realize that, even if your career is a big part of your dreams, it’s not the monetary side of things that matters — it’s how you get there and who supports you along the way.
“As a career coach I always say that, no matter what, your job will never love you back,” says Megan. “When you’ve had a hard day, it’s a friend or loved one that’s there to give you that hug.”
Keep this in mind whenever your workload gets to be too much — it’s the key to experiencing a fulfilled life.
Understand that money isn’t everything. Yes, we need money to pay bills and lead a comfortable life, but beyond the necessities, it truly doesn’t matter how much or how little you have.
“I’ve realized that while money allows you to do things, it doesn’t bring joy and happiness. It only brings us more of what we already have,” explains Megan. “Each day is a gift and you have to cherish it. If you’re only worrying about money, there’s so much you can miss out on.”
No matter what your dream or how you wish to make a difference, take time to experience life and keep your priorities in check. Go on that trip, start a charity, visit a sick friend — whatever you wish to experience, do so without hesitation. And remember Megan’s advice:
“If you come from a place of knowing that you matter, that you’re enough and that you appreciate what’s going well in life, you’ll have more joy and, at the end of the day, money can’t buy joy.”
Want more tips and motivation? Join the dream movement today — we’ve got just the resources to help support and guide you along any dream pursuit.