What’s important in life?

Larson Lewis


When a young teenager is asked what they want in life they’ll give a variety of answers, many along the lines of being rich or famous. Ask older people and there are more realistic answers like family and a good relationship.

Why does the answer change?

People start to see what really matters in life and look at what they really want.

Tracking a person’s life from the early years all the way to the end can expose what makes people happy and what is important in their life.

A study, The Harvard Study of Adult Development, tracked 724 men over 75 years. As time went on many dropped out of the experiment and many died, but today there are still 60 men who have been a part of this for 75 years. When they started this they looked at two groups of people one of which were Harvard graduates who many of which went to fight in the war. The second group was boys from the worst parts of Boston, two groups who experienced life in two different ways.

Robert Waldinger, the fourth director of the study,  shared their research in a TED Talk. Waldinger is amazed at what they learned from personal, face-to-face interviews. Subjects would talk about what makes them happy and would record conversations they had with their wives.

Waldinger said, “The people with better relationships at 50 live better lives at age 80.”

The results show that the people who surround us have a greater impact than previously thought and that life is about more than money and fame. Good relationships can lead to healthier lives.