Updated: Jul 7
Lessons from the Harvard Study - Living Better Means Doing Small Stuff
WE are all indebted to this marvelous comic strip. Whether you read it daily or not it forces those who do into self examination - and does it in a humorous way. The readers of Calvin think and act and change in some ways. Eventually, one of them will be in contact with you. Like me.
Thinking about it does influence you. Because we are all connected in many ways, however flawed the connections are, and we recognize when another is being selfish. It's much harder to recognize our own selfishness sometimes.
As you look at the above, is there anyone reading this who denies feeling like Calvin at some point in their life travels?
This week we continue our pursuit of "the Good Life", an excellent book about the famous Harvard Study of Americans, begun in 1938. It's unique value is its longevity AND its diversity. There are many stories in it of Americans from many demographics, and it includes different generations of families. This gives us a unique starting point - you can see others like you in it at this stage in YOUR life, and start there to see what is making them "happy" or "unhappy" and compare what you find to your own formative values.
Further, the Book postulates that there is only one really important area to which we need pay a lot of attention - Relationships. Evaluating and improving them (or letting them slide), is always a lifelong process. The way you do it may change, and the people involved may change, but there are elements of the process that are relatively constant. Those are what you can focus on and actually change - if you WANT to change. Built into the change is lasting happiness and contentment.
Since you are always changing anyway: the first step is to accept that it is possible to control the direction of the change IF you want to.
Second, realize that being selfish like Calvin won't produce the change you want - what will is gratitude for where you are and the great things in your current position.
Third, pick a person and a relationship that you would like to improve. What could you change that is really not very threatening? Maybe it's just a little thing like you haven't contacted them lately for your regular coffee. Do it, and see what happens, and how you feel about it. Be curious about how you are feeling.
Fourth, buy and read (or reread) How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. The best way, if you can, is to read it with someone else, and compare notes. Be curious about what they think - amazingingly, they will think of you as much smarter and a more valued friend.
Who should you call right now? Do it!
Then What? Hopefully you will send me a note and let me know your story! That would make me happy!
Happy Days Ahead
Joe Grant, MBA
Certified Retirement Coach
Contact me for a Free 45 minute Consultation at https://yourvantagepoints.com