Bob Waldinger is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is also the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development and director of the program in Psychodynamic Therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is a practicing psychiatrist and a Zen master who teaches meditation around the world. His latest book is titled: The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness.
Some interesting insights from this episode:
- His TEDx talk in 2015 is still one of the most popular TED talks ever with over 44 million views and growing.
- When trying to optimize happiness, most of us try to strike a balance between eudaimonia, which refers to a state of wellbeing in which a person feels that their life has meaning and purpose, and hedonia, which is more about fleeting happiness.
- The essence of the findings from the study boils down to relationships. That relationships are more important to long term health and happiness than diet or exercise or anything else in our lives.
- Contrary to stereotypes, women are not any more likely to form relationships than men. They just have a different means of engaging with one another.
- About 50% of our wellbeing set point is determined by genetics, 10% is based on our current life circumstance, and 40% is within our control.
- “Excellence is being as fully and deeply engaged in something as I can be in something I care about.”