My clients always tell me how much happier they feel after we have worked together. This in turn makes me happy both as an individual and as a business owner. It also is of great interest to me to learn what exactly it is that makes them happier. For some clients it is having more control over their space and time. For others it is being able to have friends and family visit once again. The reasons are as varied as the individuals that I work with.
Saturday's Wall Street Journal (3/18/06) had an interesting article on the study of happiness and how marketers are using it to get people to buy their stuff. I was intrigued by the findings of Stanford University Professor Brian Knutson. According to the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Knutson's has found that "people get more satisfaction and happiness from the anticipation of a purchase than from taking ownership of the item itself." This is very interesting to me, as I can see how it directly relates to many of my clients. In my words, it's not the stuff itself that makes you happy, but the idea of having the stuff.
Another professor at State University of New York, Dr. Michael Guiry, studies "recreational shoppers" or those who shop as a way to find self affirmation. I also believe that shopping is just something to do for entertainment in our culture. In Dr. Guiry's studies, he finds that people who shop mainly for necessities only tend to have higher self-esteem than those who buy things they do not need. This makes a lot of sense to me.
What does all this academic talk mean to me and my clients? In helping my clients improve their spaces, I utimately want to help them improve their lives too. This type of information can help me understand my clients better and maybe help you understand yourself better too!