One of my favorite themes from the critically-acclaimed show Mad Men is that 1960’s advertising was based off the half-truth that you would be happier if you owned more material possesions.
At the beginning of the series, the show’s main adman, Don Draper, passionately believes in this notion. It helps him sell whatever he advertises and it’s also the concept he molds his life around. Not only does Don sell the lie of money, status, and material items being the keys to happiness, but he also lives it.
By the end of the series, though, Don realizes materialism can only bring him so much joy. Real happiness stems from living his life to the fullest, forging genuine relationships with his loved ones, and staying true to himself.
Mad Men taught people a powerful lesson about the pursuit of happiness, and today, psychologists and neuroscientists want to do the same.
Thomas Gilvich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, urges people to prioritize experiences over material possessions because that’s what actually leads to happiness.
To explain further, while you can attach material items like your new iPhone or car to your identity, these objects eventually lose their allure. Eventually, you’ll