What makes a good life?
TedTalk by Robert Waldinger, posted December 2015
What keeps us healthy and happy as we go thru life?
There was a recent survey of millennials and over 80% said that a major life goal for them was to get rich, and another 50% said that another major life goal was to become famous.
And we are constantly told to lean into to work, to push harder and achieve more. We are given the impression that these are the things we need to go after in order to have a good life.
The Harvard study of adult development may be the the longest study of adult life that has ever been done. The clearest message that we get from this 75 year old study is this…
Good relationships keep us happier and healthier, PERIOD!
So the second big lesson that we learned is that it is not just the number of friends you have and it is not whether or not you are in a committed relationship, but it is the quality of your close relationships that matter.
The third big lesson that we learned about relationships and our health is that good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains.
Relationships are messy and are complicated. And the hard work of tending to family and friends is not sexy or glamorous, it’s also life long, it never ends.
Just like the millennials in that recent survey, many of our men when they were starting out as young adults really believed that fame and wealth and high achievement is what they need to go after to have a good life.
But over and over, over these 75 years our study has shown that the people that faired the best were the people who leaned into relationships with family, with friends, with community.
I’d like to close with a quote from Mark Twain:
“There isn’t time. So brief is life for bickerings, appologies, heart burnings callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.”
The good life is built with good relationships.