Revealed: the 5-point plan that’ll help you have better experiences

Revealed: the 5-point plan that’ll help you have better experiences

Most categories have their rating system. They’re direct, simple ways for other people and the industry to benchmark and tell others how good something is. Some examples:

  • The travel sector has many, including TripAdvisor.
  • Restaurants have them. Think of:
    1. The AA
    2. Michelin stars
    3. Zagat’s rating
  • Food, in general, has the Taste Awards.
  • Spas have them:
    • Treatwell is the market leader.
  • Retail items, like books and gadgets, have them:
    1. Goodreads’ out-of-five rating system
    2. Amazon’s out-of-5 star rating system

There are plenty more. But the Experience Economy, overall, doesn’t. And this bothers me, because I think a rating system would be really useful.

Who we compared to

So I’ve spent the past year working on a way to compare experiences, a way to help people work out if it’s the sort of experience that’s right for them, and how good it is compared to other experiences. The result is — yes, you’ve guessed it — an out-of-five stars Experience Rating.

Like Zagats and Treatwell, it’s made up out of more than one indicator, based on the components that matter most to an eating out or beauty experience.

Zagat’s is made up of:

  1. Food
  2. Decor
  3. Service
  4. Price

Treatwell’s rating comes from:

  1. Venue
  2. Ambience
  3. Cleanliness
  4. Staff
  5. Value

The 5 things that matter most to an experience

So what matters most to an experience? Inspired by the discoveries I made when I researched Stuffocation, and thanks to further reading, plus re-reading my notes and interview notes — I’ve worked out a system.

So, the result is based on the psychological research on what gives us happiness, and, therefore, what makes a great experience.

At this point, I’d like to thank the people whose work and thinking has inspired and informed this: Daniel Kahneman, Ryan Howell, Elizabeth Dunn, Michael Norton, Joe Pine, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Tim Kasser, and Tom Gilovich.

To begin with, I considered the the evidence on what makes us happy. This can be summed in the mnemonic “MARS”:

  • Mmastery
  • Aautonomy
  • Rrelatedness
  • Ssafety, security, status
  • … and experiences rather than stuff

And so the key elements of any experience, the way to benchmark any experience can be summed up in five categories. They can be summed up with the thought that an experience could be “out of this world”, and the mnemonic “From MARS”:

  1. Fromflow
    During the experience were you so immersed in it — so in the zone, in the moment, in flow — that you forgot everything else?
  2. Mmastery
    Did the experience challenge you? Did you get a sense of achievement from it?
  3. Aawesomeness
    Was it awesome? That is, did you enjoy it? Did it touch you — emotionally, psychologically, physically, spiritually?
  4. Rrelatedness
    Did the experience bring you closer to others — friends, family, community — or give you a stronger sense of your own identity?
  5. Sstory
    Was the experience different from daily life? Was it out of the ordinary? Did it give you a story you’d share?

To rate an experience, you rate it on each of the 5 scales, then our system will add them up and divide by 5… giving us both individual measures and an overall measure.

How can you use the 5-star Experience Rating system?

You can use this experience rating system to work out which of the things you’ve done, are doing and might do are giving you the best experience — and happiness. And we’ll be able to give every experience in the world a out-of-5 star rating… helping more people like you work out which experiences they should, shouldn’t, and really should be doing.

What do you think? I’ve spent a lot of time on this, and discussed it with a few people, but the light of day and the opinions of others are important. I’d love to hear what you think.

Please email me — james@stuffocation.org or tweet this @jameswallman and share your thoughts.

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