In 1938, a group of scientists at Harvard medical school decided to study the lives of 300 men from when they were children until they were old. They were searching for the answers to some of life’s most important questions: How do we grow and change? What do we value as time goes by? And what will make us happy and fulfilled?
This research project, known as the Grant Study, has drawn significant conclusions about what makes us truly happy. Some of these conclusions might surprise you, but others probably won’t.
Five Secrets to a Fulfilling Life
1) Love and relationships are what most matters
The study’s most significant finding is that the only thing that truly matters in life is relationships. You can have a successful career, money, and good health, but you wouldn’t be happy without supportive, loving relationships. Loving relationships is what you most need to be happy.
2) Money and power will not make you happy
Having money and power does not correlate with happiness. Though money and success are essential parts of life, they diminish in importance when viewed in the larger context of our lives. What matters more than money and power is being content with your work. It’s important that you do what you love or love what you do.
3) Your past regrets don’t determine your future happiness
One man named Godfrey Minot Camille, who went into the study feeling hopeless about the future after previously attempting suicide, was one of the happiest by the end of his life. How could this be? He never gave up hope. In his words, “I spent my life searching for love.”
4) Connection with others is crucial
As life goes on, our connections with others become more and more significant, resulting in greater longevity, lower stress levels, and improved overall mental and emotional well-being. “Connection is joy,” the study concluded. The more connected you feel to others, the happier your life will be.
5) Challenges and the lessons you learn from them matter
“The capacity to make gold out of sh!t,” has a significant effect on your level of happiness. Mother Teresa had a terrible childhood, yet she had a highly fulfilling life by caring about others. Beethoven coped with misery through his connection with music when he wrote Ode to Joy. How you creatively deal with your current challenges can bring you greater personal satisfaction and happiness.
Three Questions for You
No one is perfectly happy throughout their entire life. Regardless of how blessed or brilliant they were, practically all the men in the Grant Study faced tough times, setbacks, and tragedies.
The main reason they could live happier lives was because of the love and connections they developed and their ability to find creative solutions to their problems and life challenges.
As we approach the holiday season, let me ask you…
- Who do you love most and feel most connected to?
- What are the three most important relationships in your life?
- How are you being asked to grow as a result of your challenges?
These questions are important because your future happiness depends on them.
From my heart to yours,