As many of us frantically try to finish our to-do lists before we begin holidays, it is worth considering what will matter most in the year ahead when the sun rises on January 1, 2018?
This is the customary time for thinking about what we will do differently. If you want to lead a long, healthy, fulfilling and prosperous life, scientific research has already shown us what our #1 priority should be.
Probably the most compelling wellbeing research I have encountered is the Harvard Grant Study. This study is part of the Study of Adult Development at Harvard Medical School. It is a 75-year longitudinal study of 268 physically- and mentally healthy Harvard college sophomores from the classes of 1939–1944. It has run in tandem with a study called “The Glueck Study,” which included a second cohort of 456 disadvantaged nondelinquent inner-city youths who grew up in Boston neighborhoods between 1940 and 1945. The subjects were all male and of American nationality.
The men continue to be studied to this day. The men were evaluated at least every two years by questionnaires, information from their doctors, and in many cases by personal interviews. Information was gathered about their mental and physical health, career enjoyment, retirement experience and marital quality. The goal of the study was to identify predictors of healthy aging.
This extraordinary study comes down to one compelling conclusion.
The best predictor of long, happy, healthy and prosperous life is HAVING WARM RELATIONSHIPS – see related TED video – Lessons from the longest study on Happiness.
In 2018, may you make time for those people that are good for you – for those that make you stronger – for those that are your scaffolding when times get a bit tough. These are the people I call your Green Zone Tribe.
As we approach 2018, I’d like to share with you the amazing words from Michael Josephson’s poem – What will matter – which reinforces the findings of the Harvard Grant Study. I’ve also taken the liberty of including a photo of some of the people that matter most to me 🙂
May you and your loved ones have a rejuvenating break and wonderful 2018.
What will matter
By Michael Josephson
Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear.
So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought but what you built, not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.