July 7, 2014

Cheat at life. Game the system

4 Life Lessons That Lead to Happiness, Success and Longevity  Eric Barker asks

What do you learn about what makes a good life? About what makes us all happy? What makes us thrive? What leads to success? And what doesn’t?  This isn’t just a thought experiment.  The Grant Study followed a group of 268 men for 75 years. The Terman Study started in 1921 with 1528 children and is still ongoing.  So when we look at these studies, what life lessons can we learn to make sure our own lives are more fulfilling, happy and successful?

1.  "Happiness is love,  Full Stop"

George Valliant on the Grant Study.  Having a large social network and nurturing relationships adds years to your life…."That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.” ….. From the Terman study :  Those with warm relationships made more money. . . Getting help from friends didn’t make you thrive. Giving help to friends is what led to a long life.

2) Being Laid-Back And Stress-Free… Will Kill You

People with low motivation actually die younger….People who are unpressured don’t thrive. The Terman Study found those who work hard are healthier and happier…..In fact a number of longitudinal studies agree on the quality most connected to a long and successful life: conscientiousness.

3) Be Optimistic… With A Little Bit Of Worrying

As a general rule, optimism increases life satisfaction….Happy people assume things will be okay — even when they won’t. Sometimes you need to face reality and address it.  The Grant Study confirms that being neurotic reduces life satisfaction. However, moderate worrying can extend your life….

4) There Is Always Hope.

Vaillant concludes that a loving childhood is one of the best predictors of mid and late-life riches: “We found that contentment in the late seventies was not even suggestively associated with parental social class or even the man’s own income. What it was significantly associated with was warmth of childhood environment, and it was very significantly associated with a man’s closeness to his father.”…..The Terman Study realized that “Parental divorce during childhood was the single strongest social predictor of early death.”

…. What both studies also show is that people can change, they can overcome and things missing in childhood can be gained later.
The Grant Study showed that happy marriages can repair the damage of difficult childhoods.

Barker concludes,  "Sometimes we feel cheated by life, now’s the chance to cheat at life. This is the closest thing we have to the answers to the test.  So game the system. Learn from the life stories of others and make sure your life story has a happy ending."

Posted by Jill Fallon at July 7, 2014 4:21 PM | Permalink