I recently finished reading “59 seconds” by Richard Wiseman. In it he describes ideas that can be implemented in 59 seconds or less to improve people’s lives or well being, including how to be more creative or how to make better decisions.
Richard is a Professor in Psychology so he should know what he’s talking about. He backs up all of his ideas and assertions with scientific studies and many ideas are contrary to popular “mind myths”. For example, brainstorming in groups does not produce more creative ideas than working alone, apparently.
Experiences trump possessions.
The chapter I was particularly interested in was on Happiness. We’re all searching for ways to be happier, right? In one section he asks the question: Are you happier when you spend money on material things or spend money on experiences?
It seems spending money on holidays, eating out or going to a concert give you much more long term happiness than buying the latest phone or a new car? Why? Because memorable experiences tend to get edited over time; you forget about all the bad things that happened on your holiday and just recall the blissful moments. On the other hand, your new phone or car becomes old over time, loses its appeal or even breaks.
Most of the time we experience things with friends or family which also increases our happiness. Even talking about the experience years afterwards can bring back positive feelings. However, material things can sometimes leave you feeling isolated from friends and family because they are jealous of what you have.
The upshot? If you want to be happier, spend more money on DOING things, not on BUYING things.
Family Photography is an experience
I’m building this photography business around the idea that it should, first and foremost, be a wonderful experience for everyone from start to finish. Which is why I have put a lot of emphasis and spent a lot of time on the service I provide. Everything from having a pre-session consultation to personal delivery of your prints and products. The studio now has a relaxed, homely feel to it since the renovations last year. There is a dedicated viewing room, a kitchen where people can have a drink during breaks, a changing room and two bathrooms.
I probably spend more time thinking about how to better my service than I do improving my photography skills.
Finally, Prof. Wiseman also discusses in his book how giving to other people (even non financial acts of kindness) can have a long-lasting impact on your happiness. That is what I get out of it…..I give clients a wonderful experience and beautiful photos of their loved ones they will cherish for a lifetime….and that makes me HAPPY!