What keeps us healthy and happy?

What keeps us healthy and happy?

How to live well; what we can learn from the world’s longest study on happiness.

In 1938 the medical director at Harvard University, Arlie Bock, conceived of a project that he hoped would move medicine beyond the realm of treating sickness and into understanding how to live well. He persuaded a wealthy patron, W. T. Grant to fund a research programme, and in the early 1940’s started tracking two cohorts of young men: the first, undergraduates at Harvard, the second, young men coming from the some of the poorest areas locally in Boston. He had high hopes for his study, but tracking people over decades is complex and the study nearly ground to a halt many times.

Yet somehow it survived and it has steadily uncovered deep truths and insights into the human condition. In this TED talk, Robert Waldinger, the current director of the programme delivers the messages from 75 years of study with warmth and a calm wisdom. In an era of Big Data and immediate satisfaction, open yourself to what humanity has learned about itself by persevering and staying open-minded to the reality of how human lives unfold across the decades.

 

About the bass

About the bass

In this documentary-length video we track Randall Wyn Fulmer as he turns his fascination with the challenge of creating musical instruments into a full-time obsession. One that sees him go from amateur guitar-maker to one of the most sought-out craftsmen in the business.

It is a wonderful illustration of how his personal mix of character strengths (optimism, creativity, risk-taking, open-minded, ability to find solutions, practicality, perseverance) combine to enable him to create things of beauty and practicality. As he comments, creating a musical instrument is a double gain – the joy of making it and then the further joy of hearing great musicians playing it.

It is also an illustration of how his work has been about seeking out and staying true to his talents and interests, even though the ride has at times been really challenging. And of how leadership does not depend on having people to manage, but is really about finding a purpose and then connecting to it and the hard work that comes from it.