A study from Harvard University could change this twilight zone. 75 years of research on 268 male college students may shed some light on what men consider important for a joyful life.
Author: Joe Martino
Have you seen the movie ‘ The Tree of Life ‘? This film follows the beginning, development and end of the characters’ lives. This scenario is very similar to the study by the research team, which also updated the state of affairs at regular intervals throughout the participants’ lives, even if they were past their 90s.
George Vaillant , the Harvard psychiatrist who supervised the study from 1972 to 2004, wrote a book about the research and its findings, describing, among other things, the importance of our youth, what we perceive as valuable as we age, the influence of money to life.
Of course, this study had some limitations due to the lack of women, so it is difficult to say how the characteristics described within this framework might apply to women.
Relationships are the most important thing.
According to Vaillant, the most important outcome of the research is perhaps the conclusion that for a man, relationships are the most important thing when we talk about finding joy in life.
Regardless of career, physical health, money, power and so on, it was perfectly clear that all the men who participated in the study without loving and supportive relationships were not happy.
Connecting with others and building all types of relationships is key. This research also contributes to confirming conclusions from other studies that socializing with others and having a support network is of great importance for longevity and a relaxed lifestyle.
“Joy connects… The more relationships you can establish in different social circles, the better.” – George Vaillant.
Love is also important.
Inseparable from relationships is treating each other lovingly and not pushing love aside when it comes to challenges in love.
While love should obviously be an important pleasure bringer in our lives, as we are loving beings at our core, the importance of love is not fully recognized by many.
Vaillant argues that there are two pillars of happiness: “One is love… The other is finding an attitude to life that doesn’t push love away.”
Career, money and power.
The Grant Research confirmed many previous conclusions of others that money and power are not associated with a happy life or feeling happier.
While some find temporary happiness in this, there is a tendency towards a constant hunt for more, only to see the importance of money and power diminish considerably in the overall picture of life.
“We found that in the late 1970s, satisfaction was not even suggestively associated with social background or with male income. To speak in terms of performance, the most important thing is that you are satisfied with your work.”
In terms of career advancement, the research found that a person’s connection to one’s job, as opposed to simply doing the job for financial gain, plays a major role in experiencing joy.
Those who pursued the traditional idea of success, of accumulating wealth and having a ‘good job’ did not do what they loved best and found little joy in their work compared to those who simply did what they liked and for what purpose. they felt attracted.
“Conclusion of the study, not in a medical but in a psychological sense: everything revolves around connection.”
Taking on the perspective of challenges = Joy!
Vaillant puts it comically bluntly: “The ability to turn lead into gold.”
This is about learning to navigate through the sea of challenges in life, to leave the one-sided thinking behind you and to open your heart to the whole. Then everything comes down to connection.
If we see our challenges as opportunities to grow and broaden our horizons, we can live and experience them with our heads held high.
If we see ourselves as victims who bottle everything up and don’t speak up or share challenges with others, we lose contact with the supportive social network around us.
Due to the lack of challenges we do not get to know ourselves well and we do not grow. In the end, we are left with an empty feeling because of the lack of experience in processing difficult emotions.
The relationship with mother.
Finally, another theory, which has been put forward many times, was discovered, which relates to a man’s relationship with his parents during his childhood.
www.businessinsider.com writes: “Men who developed a ‘warm’ bond with their mother during childhoodwere earning $87,000 more per year than men with less caring mothers. Men who hadn’t experienced a fun childhood with their mothers were at greater risk of developing dementia later in life.
Later in their working lives, relationships with mothers – not their fathers – in childhood were associated with effects at work. On the other hand, ‘warm’ relationships with fathers during childhood resulted in a lower percentage of anxiety in adults, increased holiday fun and increased feelings of ‘life satisfaction’ at age 75, while the warmth of the relationship with mother during the childhood had little influence on satisfaction at that age.
While there are clear benefits to a childhood with good parental connection, these findings illustrate the importance of experiences a person gains during their most influential years of childhood.
From this fact is also derived the idea that teaching (and/or treating) a child like a king is actually very restrictive, sometimes even harmful, depending on the pressure placed on the importance of one’s development and success. Especially if you look at the quality of education today.
Some very interesting results, given that total human connection, relationships and ‘free’ experiences create the most pleasure in life.
You wonder why we are so passionate about pursuing material possessions and persistently believe in the idea that it makes you happy.
It seems that the ego’s desire still dictates the decisions we make on a daily basis as human beings, when true satisfaction really lies beyond our egoistic greed.
I believe that we are irreversibly heading for a time when there is room for the deep inner desire to discover, know and experience true joy and peace, regardless of what is happening around us on a material level.
We look more and more for answers within that framework and take other paths that lead us away from external materialistic desires as the source of our joy in life.