A 75 Year Study Reveals the Secret to HappinessThe Mindset Mentor
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- 14 Mar 2021
Harvard has been doing a study for over 75 years on the secret to happiness and in this episode, I will share that secret with you!
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Welcome to today's episode of the Mind Set Mentor podcast, I'm your host, Rob Dial, and if you have not yet done so, hit that. Subscribe once that you never miss another podcast episode. And if you want to receive motivational text messages from me directly to your cell phone, I send motivational text message videos. Go ahead and text you right now. One five one two five eight zero nine three zero five. Once again, one five one two five eight zero nine three zero five.
Today we're going to be talking about what the secret to happiness is and what it takes to live a really good life.
And this actually came from a video that I watched years ago. And it's a TED talk from a Harvard professor over a 75 year study that Harvard did to try to figure out what makes a really good life. And this is incredible story because there has never been a study that's been done like this. And I'm going to tell you why that is first off.
Well, the first thing you need to realize is that when you look at how people live their lives right now, if you look at millennials, there was a study that was done on millennials and they found out that 80 percent said their life goal is to become rich. Fifty percent of them said that their life goal is to become famous, so if you look at that, the reason why people go for rich and the reason why they go for famous, because they think that those things will make them happy, they think they're becoming rich, will make them happy, having a lot of money will make them happy.
Becoming famous will make you happy. And we all know if we're old enough, we've seen enough stories that those things don't make you happy. In a lot of cases, they actually do the opposite. Sometimes people go for being rich, they make the money, they realize it doesn't change your life, and then they don't know what to base their life off of in the exact same thing for famous as well. And you have to step back and ask yourself, like, do those things truly make people happy?
They don't. And if they do, what is the secret to happiness and how can we start to progress in the way of making ourselves happier? So the best part about this study that Harvard did is that they took teenage boys, literally teenage boys all the way into their 90s. And they they studied them and ask them questions, brought them in every two years from teenagers into their 90s.
It's the longest study of adult lives that has ever happened before. And they had 724 teenage boys that they studied from all walks of life, from the richest parts of town, all the way to the the poorest parts of town, all over Boston. Some of them became drug addicts. Some of them became successful. Some of them became CEOs. And one person in the study even became the president of the United States, which they don't know who it was.
But at least you have an idea.
All walks of life, all things that could happen to them in currently 60 of these men are still alive. So out of the seven hundred twenty four, 60 of them are still alive. And so what they decided to do was to continue the study and they continue to study with their wives. They can still continue the study every two years with their children. And now they've continued to study with their grandchildren. And over 2000 grandchildren are now part of the study as well.
So they're literally every two years checking in on these people to find out what is the secret to happiness. And so I'm going to tell you the secrets, happiness in this episode. That's what we're going to dive into.
So what were the lessons that were learned? Three lessons, three main takeaways that they learned by studying these guys for, you know, 60, 70 years, 75 years.
Number one, the number one thing that they found, they brought the most happiness to somebody's life was good.
Relationships make us happier and interestingly enough, make us healthier. You heard me right. The best relationships are people who had the best relationships in life, it made them happier, but not only happier, it also made them healthier. And so the thing that we're starting to find out, and it's a fact, there's tons of studies that especially now with all the stuff that happened with the pandemic, we know that loneliness kills.
I saw a study that said being lonely every single day is the equivalent of what it does to your body of having 15 cigarettes every single day.
Loneliness kills people that have people in their lives that are great relationships, not just relationships, but great relationships are going to dive into that are happier, healthier and live longer.
So if you take nothing else from them to say, make sure that you have deep relationships, you don't have to have tons of relationships but have deep relationships, the people that were the most well connected with their friends, with a significant other with their children lived longer than those who didn't.
And so the people who felt isolated said that they were less happier and their brain function actually stopped earlier than those who had great relationships. So not only did they feel better, but their brains actually work better as well. So that was one of the things that they found that was super, super important. The second thing they found is that it's not the number of friends that actually matter. You can have one, two really good friends, because I remember when I was younger, it's about having as many friends as possible.
I know about you, but as I get older, it's about less friends but deep quality relationships. So it's not just a number of friends, but it's that doesn't really matter is the number of committed relationships, quality relationships that somebody has and the depth of the relationships they have as well. They found that that people that were in high conflict relationships. So this is staying in a relationship with somebody, whether that's a friendship or whether that's, you know, somebody it's in your family.
But people that were in high conflict relationships were actually worse off than people who got a divorce. So people who got a divorce actually did better than people who stayed in a relationship.
There was a high conflict relationship with somebody and they didn't leave because they just thought they were stuck and they didn't do it because of the kids or whatever it is. And the one thing that was a very key indicator is at age 50, when they people study people, when they're at age 50, the thing that predicted future health more than anything else was the quality of the relationships that they were in.
So when they study people in their 50s and then they 30 years later became 80 year olds, the people that had quality relationships at 50 years old were the ones who live the longest and were the healthiest at 80 years old.
So look around you. Who is around you?
Is that people that are bringing you up, people that are making you feel better, people that are you know, you can have deep intellectual relationships with people that you can be vulnerable with and show who you truly are or are the people that are around you, people that make you feel worse, people that feel like they're taking energy from you, people that feel like, you know, being around them is an energy sucked. So I would say people are one of two things.
People either batteries or their vacuums. What I mean by batteries or vacuums, a battery is somebody who gives you energy. Being around them makes you feel better. Are they energized you? They push you to be better. That is someone who's a battery. The vacuums are people who suck the energy out of you like a vacuum.
You know, you can be around there for twenty minutes and you leave their house and you're like, shit, I feel so tired. Right?
So the people that are around you, are they batteries? Are they vacuums? If they're vacuums, they're going to not physically, like, come over and murder you, but they're going to kill you sooner if you have bad relationships.
So you got to think about that. You should be surrounding yourself with only people who are batteries and get rid of. Sorry, I'm just going to say the way it is, get rid of the people who are the vacuums and are sucking the energy from you.
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So the people who had the best relationships at 50 were the healthiest at 80 people that were in their 80s that are good relationships. When they felt physical pain. They this is interesting. When they were in their 80s and they had physical pain, they said it wasn't as bad because in fact they had quality people around them. But the people who are in their 80s that had bad physical pain said that it actually was worse when they were lonely. So the lonely people had worse pain in their bodies than people who didn't because are the people who had great relationships and weren't lonely.
So that's the second thing. And the third thing. Is that they've actually found that relationships, good quality relationships, protect our brains and they also protect our bodies. So people who are in good relationships where they feel like they can trust their spouse, they feel like they can trust their friends, they feel like they can trust the people around them and be vulnerable around them. In their 80s, it actually protected their brain and their memories stayed sharper.
The people who said that they didn't feel like they could trust the people around them in their 80s, their memory declined significantly.
And it's interesting because I think about just in in my family, my grandparents, my grandfather died when he was in his I think it was ninety five. My grandfather died. My grandmother died when she was 93. They were together for seventy one years and they were sharp. I mean, I was I was in hospice with my grandfather and he was sharp as hell and it was like he was sharp as hell. And then one night he died. I was like how in the hell that happened was crazy.
It was his body that gave out, but they were people who were always together. They have I mean, our family is super tight. They were always reading, but they were always sharp. And so one of the things that they find is that people who have quality relationships when they're in their 80s, their memory and their brains are actually protected and they stay sharper into longer age. But older age, which is kind of crazy if you think about it, people that were in bad relationships with people, they felt like they could not trust their memories decline a whole hell of a lot faster.
So what's the moral of the story? Good relationships, equal better health, good deep relationships, equal better health. You don't have to have a ton of people around you. You've just got to have some people around you and people who are the happiness happiest in their retirement were those who actively worked to replace those workmates that they had with the new playmate. So this is interesting as well.
One of the things that people really worry about with retiring is what are they going to do when they retire? And so when people retire, a lot of times the people they've realized that a lot of their friends are literally just from work, the people they hang out with in their workplace.
So what happened was the people who who live the longest also had new friends that they picked up along the way. So they were talking about how, you know, they they might have been a construction worker in a factory or whatever it was, and they might have been a manager there. And by the time they retired, then they started playing tennis and they got new friends that they played tennis with. And that kept them sharp vs. just being like, oh, my old friends are gone.
I don't know my work friends anymore and sitting around the house doing nothing.
So one of the things that was important as well that they mentioned inside the study is that they actually found that the people who did really well were the type of people who would reach out to people in their family they haven't spoken to in years. And so what they did was they went back and mended old relationships that weren't doing as well as they could have been doing. And so these people, they sat down with them every two years. They came to their house, they did blood samples, they did CAT scans, they did all of their body.
And they found that these people that live the longest, they were the healthiest, that felt the best, whose memory stayed the sharpest were people who literally worked on relationships and worried about the relationships being as good as they possibly could, other than the people who are like, well, I'm just going to, you know, sit by myself.
So if you're out there and you listen, it's you got to ask yourself a few things. You know, when you look at all of the people that you're surrounded with, all of the people that are around you, do you feel that you can have quality conversations with them?
Do you feel like you can trust them? Do you feel like you could be vulnerable with them? If you don't? No. One, maybe you should find people who you can be open, honest, involved with number to a lot of times that I've found with people who can't be open, honest and vulnerable with people around them, the reason why is because they can't be vulnerable with themselves. They don't know themselves intimately. And when you don't know yourself intimately, you can't share you know yourself intimately with other people around you as well.
And so listening to this, I always like to say that success leaves clues. You can hear that everywhere successfully, because if someone's a successful multimillionaire, they've probably left clues along the way as to how they've done it. There's steps to get there.
If you want to live a happy life, if you want to live a long life, why don't you look at people who have lived life before you and see, OK, if I don't build quality relationships, there is a pretty good chance that my brain, my body, my health, all of that stuff will decline at a faster level than if I don't know if I were to build all these. So then you go, OK, if that's the case, I'm looking around.
Maybe you do have a quality relationship, maybe you don't. But then you look and you say, OK, are there any relationships that I might need to trim out of my life? We had the snow pocalypse here in Austin and I have a Garvie that are outside in our landscape or came by and said we need to trim some of the agave because the snow kill them. Right. And if I leave those killed parts, the dead parts on the agave, it will eventually rot the rest of the agave.
Right. So the dead branch on the agave will kill the rest of it. If I don't take it off.
That's how you should think of your relationships. You should trim off some of the dead relationships from you. If you don't, those rotten relationships will tend to rot you and it will be a steeper decline in your health and your happiness in your brain if you don't.
So learn from people who have been there before, take advice from people who have been there before, figure out a way to make your conversations deeper, to find people that you can trust, to open yourself up to yourself and then of yourself up to other people. Because when you can be open, honest and vulnerable people around, you feel like you can trust them, they can trust you, you will tend to live longer and you will also be happier.
So take the advice from people before you work on your relationships. So that's what I got for you for today's episode. If you love this episode, please share it on your Instagram stories. Tag MINUT Rob Dyle Jr. RBD alj r. The only way that we grow is from you guys sharing this, so I greatly, greatly appreciate you for sharing it. We're always in the top one hundred and fifty in the entire world and we continue to grow.
And you guys share this. So I greatly appreciate you for doing so. And I believe the same way I leave you every single episode, make it your mission, make someone else's day better. I appreciate you and I hope that you have an amazing day.