This TEDTalk is worth every minute it takes to watch.
Below is a quick summary for those who don’t have 12 minutes to watch this fascinating video that explains the results of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, the longest study on happiness ever conducted.
- Connections with people are what impact health and happiness.
- The QUALITY of relationships counts. High quality relationships positively impact health and happiness. Low quality relationships can negatively impact health and happiness.
- Loneliness greatly impacts cognitive and physical health.
The BEST predictor of health was was NOT cholesterol levels or any of the other physiological measures collected over the 75 years that the study has taken place. Instead, researchers found that the men who had the most satisfying relationships at age 50 were more apt to be alive and healthier at age 80 than their peers who had less satisfying relationships at age 50. WOW.
These results are fascinating and even more exciting when coupled with the new research discussed in Shawn Achor’s not-yet-released book Big Potential. Achor, also a happiness researcher from Harvard, explains that most people believe that SUCCESS will make them happy and that success is derived from winning in a world that is based on a zero sum game. This means most people believe that there is only so much success out there in the world; I must compete against others to win; if I win, you must lose. Wrong. Achor presents research that explains how our individual success is actually interconnected with the success of those around us. When we help others succeed, we are more likely to succeed on a higher level.
Bottom line: not only your health and happiness but your ultimate success at work are dependent on your ability to grow and sustain relationships.