The Key to a Fulfilling Life
By Rachel Linden
What is the key to happiness and a fulfilling life? That’s a question people have been mulling over for centuries. Who hasn’t asked that question in their own life? I know I ask it often when reflecting on my choices and life direction.
I recently ran across a fascinating and groundbreaking study by a group of Harvard researchers that attempts to answer this question. The Harvard Grant Study followed a group of 268 male Harvard college students for 75 years, comprehensively studying their lives – their jobs, choices, finances, marriages, and their overall satisfaction. The results were absolutely fascinating.
Happiness and fulfillment had very little to do with money, social status, or job advancement, the study found. It had almost everything to do with connection!
Having strong relationships was the biggest predictor by far of overall happiness and life satisfaction. Feeling connected and satisfied with your work also was important for overall happiness. So caring about other people, building strong relationships, and enjoying what you do for work were all strong indicators of a fulfilling life.
I’ve been reflecting on this study quite a bit in the past few months as I mull over my life direction and relationships. What am I putting my time and energy into? Am I making decisions that will lead to increased connection and ultimately to a happy and fulfilling life? The Harvard Grant study can give us a fascinating sneak peak into our own potential futures. Our choices in life to pursue connection will ultimately lead to happiness.