What Makes a Good Life?
I've been thinking about the topic of happiness for the past year or so. And within the same vein -- how relationships of all kinds contribute to our happiness. I was quite pleased to stumble on this recent TED Talk from Robert Waldinger, the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history.
If you think money and fame are what makes a good life, you're not alone. According to Waldinger, many young people believe these two things play significant roles in their lives. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger concluded that "good relationships keep us happier and healthier; period." In his talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study:
- Social connections are really good for us; loneliness kills
- The quality of close relationships is very important
- Good relationships protect our brains
When the study was kicked off many decades ago it was a very different time in society and, unfortunately, women were not as present in these sort of studies. I wish that were not the case but history is not perfect. The insights are still relevant even though the original research methodology is not contemporary.