Following is the full text and summary of American psychiatrist Robert Waldinger’s talk titled “What Makes A Good Life? Lessons From the Longest Study On Happiness” at TED conference.
What keeps us healthy and happy as we go through life?
If you were going to invest now in your future best self, where would you put your time and your energy?
There was a recent survey of millennials asking them what their most important life goals were, and over 80% said that a major life goal for them was to get rich.
And another 50% of those same young adults said that another major life goal was to become famous.
And we’re constantly told to lean in to work, to push harder and achieve more. We’re given the impression that these are the things that we need to go after in order to have a good life.
Pictures of entire lives, of the choices that people make and how those choices work out for them, those pictures are almost impossible to get.
Most of what we know about human life we know from asking people to remember the past, and as we know, hindsight is anything but 20:20. We forget vast amounts of what happens to us in life, and sometimes memory is downright creative.
But what if we could watch entire lives as they unfold through time? What if we could study people from the time that they were teenagers all the way into old age to see what really keeps people happy and healthy?