The Harvard Study of Adult Development has followed the lives of two generations of individuals from the same families for more than eighty years. And the results from that study were just published in the book, The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness by Robert Waldinger, MD and Marc Schulz, Phd.
The secret to happiness? It all boils down to the relationships – that “good relationships keep us happier, healthier, and help us live longer.”
All of this could have been said in an article; BUT the joy of reading this book is the stories, anecdotes, and correlational studies that bring this thesis to life.
Most importantly, you start to take stock of all the relationships you have in your life – the strong ties you have as well as the “weak” ties – and how you engage and direct your energy. It’s not the end result but the process – the journey.
The authors say at the end, recognize “that the good life is not a destination. It is the path itself, and the people who are walking it with you. As you walk, second by second you can decide to whom and to what you give your attention. Week by week you can prioritize your relationships and choose to be with the people who matter. Year by year you can find purpose and meaning through the lives that you enrich and the relationships you cultivate.
By developing your curiosity and reaching out to others – family, loved ones, coworkers, friends, acquaintances – even strangers – with one thoughtful question at a time, one moment of devoted, authentic attention at a time, you strengthen the foundation of a good life.
And that is priceless inspiration.