2020 Resources – What Makes a Good Life?

Recommended TED talk: Lessons from the Longest Study on Human Happiness by Robert Waldinger

Robert Waldinger, a professor at Harvard Medical School is the Director of a study that has been tracking two groups of men (and now their partners and children) for 75 years. One group is comprised of Harvard graduates and the other from the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods and families of Boston at the time the study began. Throughout this period of time, researchers have interviewed the participants every one or 2 years, collected medical records, undertaken brain scans and tracked their life journey and stories.

This study has informed our understanding of what makes people happy and healthy through their lives. In this easy-to-listen-to 12-minute TED talk, Waldinger shares three factors that make a difference – all connected to a sense of belonging and having meaningful relationships. “The people who fared the best had leaned into relationships with family, friends, community” even when messy and complicated.

While this talk is not about leadership per se, it is still relevant to our work in a number of ways. Our personal well-being influences how we show up as leaders, so how are we tending to the relationships we have with family, friends, and community? How might we foster positive relationships in our teams and organizations to create a sense of belonging and connection amongst the people we work with? Given the vital importance of strong attachments and relationships to long-term physical, mental and emotional health, in what ways do we design, deliver and lead services to foster healthy connections for children, youth, and families?

We know this stuff, but a little reminder doesn’t hurt!