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What are the Secrets to a Happy Life? | Greater Good

Stashed in: #love, #success, Children, Relationships, Empathy, Awesome, The Internet is my religion., Happiness, Happiness

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"In 2009, I delved into the Grant Study data to establish a Decathlon of Flourishing—a set of ten accomplishments that covered many different facets of success. Two of the items in the Decathlon had to do with economic success, four with mental and physical health, and four with social supports and relationships. Then I set out to see how these accomplishments correlated, or didn’t, with three gifts of nature and nurture—physical constitution, social and economic advantage, and a loving childhood.

The results were as clear-cut as they were startling.

We found that measures of family socioeconomic status had no significant correlation at all with later success in any of these areas. Alcoholism and depression in family histories proved irrelevant to flourishing at 80, as did longevity. The sociability and extraversion that were so highly valued in the initial process of selecting the men did not correlate with later flourishing either.In contrast with the weak and scattershot correlations among the biological and socioeconomic variables, a loving childhood—and other factors like empathic capacity and warm relationships as a young adult—predicted later success in all ten categories of the Decathlon. What’s more, success in relationships was very highly correlated with both economic success and strong mental and physical health, the other two broad areas of the Decathlon.

In short, it was a history of warm intimate relationships—and the ability to foster them in maturity—that predicted flourishing in all aspects of these men’s lives."

"A loving childhood" applies to which ages? 0-18? 0-12? 0-9? 0-5?

I believe the results, I'm just trying to assess the window in which the #1 factor is set in children.

"Only those who understand that happiness is only the cart; love is the horse. And perhaps those who recognize that our so-called defense mechanisms, our involuntary ways of coping with life, are very important indeed. Before age 30, Camille depended on narcissistic hypochondriasis to cope with his life and his feelings; after 50 he used empathic altruism and a pragmatic stoicism about taking what comes. The two pillars of happiness revealed by the 75-year-old Grant Study—and exemplified by Dr. Godfrey Minot Camille—are love and a mature coping style that does not push love away."

I *love* this: Happiness is the cart; love is the horse.

happiness is the cart love is the horse

It's amazing how much is set in our formative years -- years that are not under our control.

And there are predispositions.

"Why should such existential concerns occur disproportionately among gifted persons? Partially, it is because substantial thought and reflection must occur to even consider such notions, rather than simply focusing on superficial day-to-day aspects of life. Other more specific characteristics of gifted children are important predisposers as well.

Because gifted children are able to consider the possibilities of how things might be, they tend to be idealists. However, they are simultaneously able to see that the world is falling short of how it might be. Because they are intense, gifted children feel keenly the disappointment and frustration which occurs when ideals are not reached. 

So between our predisposed nature, and the nurture of, say, the first 5 years of our lives, the majority of our worldviews, proclivities, biases, and intuitions are set for the rest of our lives?

Well then I guess there is such a thing as fate, since we get no choice in the things that form our personality and our character. The only place we have free will is in HOW we react, not WHAT the reaction will be.

We can boost our EQ's and levels of conscientiousness with effort, but I wonder if even the will to improve is a DNA/early formative issue.  

And I wonder if we will develop the technology to modify DNA for the better soon.

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