What makes a good life?

Robert Waldinger is the fourth director of a unique Harvard study, and he opens his TED talk asking this: “What keeps us healthy and happy as we go through life? If you were going to invest now in your future best self, where would you put your time and your energy?”

This Harvard Study of Adult Development has tracked the lives of 724 men over 75 years, asking about various aspects of their lives – making it one of the longest studies of adult life ever done.

“So what have we learned?” asks Waldinger.  “What are the lessons that come from the tens of thousands of pages of information that we’ve generated on these lives?” He acknowledges that the lessons had little to do with wealth or fame or working harder and harder. The clear lesson, in fact, is that good relationships keep us healthier and happier.

Waldinger cites three significant lessons about relationships emerging from the study: first, connections are good for us and loneliness kills; second, it is the quality, not quantity of your close relationships that matter; and, thirdly, good relationships don’t protect just our bodies, but also our minds.

You can imagine that there are many more fascinating facts behind this rather truncated summary.  Should you wish to find out more about the study and its findings, please do visit the Ted Talk site to watch Waldinger’s full commentary – I am convinced that you will derive much value from watching here:

Waldinger concludes with American author, Mark Twain’s, reflection on his life: “There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.”

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