Getting Over It

by Stephen Mills on May 2, 2010

Sports Car

Would you rather have something or would you rather get over wanting to have it?  That’s a deep question that I encountered somewhere and sometime during the past few months.  I wish I could remember where I read it, but the question stuck with me and its source did not.

If its a thing, the question is easy for me to answer.  I’d rather get over it.  I know there is a hedonic treadmill that will just keep moving each time I get one of those things.   It will soon no longer be enough.  Interestingly, I have found that simply posing the question to myself is one of the most powerful ways to get over it.  Getting over wanting things has been a long journey for me and I suspect that is true for many others.

With experiences, the question gets much more difficult to answer.   There is surely a hedonic treadmill with experience too, but I think it is different.  Tropical oceans and island beaches do not evoke the same thrill in me as they once did, but somehow I don’t believe I will ever get used to them the way I get used to my cars, my homes, or my electronic gadgets.  You are not stuck with experiences like you are stuck with things.  You have them and they are gone.  Life is an endless motion of experience.

There is an unlimited world of experience to be had out there and much of it can be had without locking yourself into the Golden Handcuffs.  I’m sure the most “enlightened” of us have found a way to get over the need for certain experiences in the same way I have gotten over the need for things.  Being an experience junkie is surely not the way to achieve peaceful well being, but I think there is a balance here.  Experiences are the stuff of life in a way things can never be.

Please consider asking yourself if you really want something or if you would rather get over it.  It’s not a trivial question.

What do YOU think?  Leave a comment and join the conversation.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Adam @Duty Free Living May 2, 2010 at 7:53 am

I think about these very questions often! And the only answer I can come up with is really crazy. It’s nothing to do with experiences or things… It’s either finding a “god” or devoting oneself entirely to a cause. Now, I’m not religious or inclined to devote my life to a cause, but it’s the only thing I can come up with that will endure the test of time, unlike things and/or experiences.
.-= Adam @Duty Free Living´s last blog ..Financial Freedom for the timid Lifestyle Designer =-.

Reply

Stephen Mills May 9, 2010 at 9:01 am

Hello Adam, I’m not into causes either. To me it’s things like deciding you will get more pleasure out of walking on a free public beach than having a expensive sedan. Thanks for commenting.

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Fearless Road May 3, 2010 at 1:02 am

There has been plenty of blog post’s on the topic of minimalism lately, and this post definitely ties in with the notion of choosing what you want wisely. Do you want items while paying the price with your time? or do you want to learn to get over these quick fix items and go for experiences instead.

Great post,
Dean
.-= Fearless Road´s last blog ..How to Write a Bucketlist – Identifying Your Dreams =-.

Reply

Stephen Mills May 9, 2010 at 9:03 am

Hello Dean. Thank you. I’m not a minimalist, but I find myself attracted to the idea for sure.

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Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com May 3, 2010 at 9:48 am

Really interesting point of view this one and something I’ve been considering a lot recently. I would rather get over a lot of my thing but I also have true desires that I really deeply want for several reasons.
.-= Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com´s last blog ..12 Mini Habits For Smoother Days =-.

Reply

Stephen Mills May 9, 2010 at 9:05 am

Hi Richard, I know the feeling well. It took my a long time to finally come to grips with the fact that wanting things was a hedonic treadmill that never stops. Thanks for commenting.

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Ryan May 5, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Good questions. I’ve read that a group of people in debt were polled. They were asked if they were happy with their purchases. Most people said they would return their items in exchange for zero debt (i.e. their purchases did not satisfy them). However, some of the people would not exchange anything for their debt. It turned out that the people who were the happiest with their purchases spent their money on experiences and not things. This is consistent with my attitude.

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Stephen Mills May 9, 2010 at 9:10 am

That’s a great summary Ryan. Debt is something for nothing proposition. Using debt to finance things that lose value is a terrible idea. I’m now much more interested in experiences than things.

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Zengirl @ Heart and Mind May 6, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Would I want something or getting over with it?
It depends in situation, good and happy experience are sure something I want and mistakes and bad experiences I would like to get over it, after learning from it.

Reply

Stephen Mills May 9, 2010 at 9:12 am

Hello Zengirl. What I’m suggesting is that you get over wanting things to start with. I put special emphasis on things and not experiences because experience is the basic component of a good life.

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