What makes us happy? A 75-Year Harvard Study Finds What It Takes To Live A Happy Life – Scott Stossel, The Atlantic

I gained an appreciation for the Grant Study a while ago but excited with the results of the study as it confirms what is already known by the folks at RDM. My interest was rekindled during my spring semester in my doctoral study a few months ago, it is quite a fascinating study and very captivating.

Real quick (here’s a condensed version)

The Question:
Is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation—for a good life?

The Grant Study:
For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grand parenthood, and old age. This study known as The Grant Study is one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. This study provides a remarkable insight into human condition as well as into the well known brilliance and mental complexity of the study’s longtime director, George Vaillant.

According to the article, "A 75-Year Harvard Study Finds What It Takes To Live A Happy Life" by Scott Stossel, The Atlantic
"The project, which began in 1938, has followed 268 Harvard undergraduate men for 75 years, measuring an astonishing range of psychological, anthropological, and physical traits—from personality type to IQ to drinking habits to family relationships to “hanging length of his scrotum”—in an effort to determine what factors contribute most strongly to human flourishing. Recently, George Vaillant, who directed the study for more than three decades, published Triumphs of Experience, a summation of the insights the study has yielded."

The Results:
Surprising, yet not too surprising honestly.

  1. Among them: “Alcoholism is a disorder of great destructive power.”
  2. Above a certain level, intelligence doesn’t matter.
  3. There was no significant difference in maximum income earned by men with IQs in the 110–115 range and men with IQs higher than 150.
  4. Aging liberals have more sex.
  5. Political ideology had no bearing on life satisfaction—but the most-conservative men ceased sexual relations at an average age of 68, while the most-liberal men had active sex lives into their 80s.
  6. Vaillant revisited the data he had been studying since the 1960s for his book, an experience that further convinced him that what matters most in life are relationships.

There you have it folks especially for you data centric, organizational development fact driven individuals – What matters most in life are RELATIONSHIPS!!!

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Image: The Atlantic / Flickr