If you were to picture yourself sitting in your rocking chair, in your twilight years, what would you imagine were the highlights of your life? Could they include your:
– Big detached house in the country?
– Fleet of fancy cars?
– CV chock full of high-flying jobs?
If so you might want to think again. Research conducted by Dr Gregory Bonn, a lecturer in psychology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia provides compelling evidence that ‘close and enduring relationships are considered central to life satisfaction’. According to the coverage in the Independent newspaper, material achievements are not too high on the list of Things That Make You Happy.
Interestingly the survey findings also indicate that ‘Having a worthwhile career was rated as more important to a good life than having a successful one’.
There is a segue from the Independent story to one on the BBC news website. It seems that the University of Chicago has researched the flip side of the ‘happy relationships equal happy life’ paradigm. Their findings suggest that loneliness can lead to physical as well as psychological harm.
If that is sound information then it is timely, especially for the so-called ‘leftover’ women in China. Their ambition and drive for early career success seems to have a downside. According to BBC coverage, if these women mis-time their career peak they risk being viewed as too old for marriage. The bad news is that over 25 may be ‘too old’!.
I wonder if these findings establish any useful goal setting principles? One’s purpose in life fuels goal setting, so perhaps it is important that some goals relate strongly to building and maintaining healthy relationships. These might take precedence over goals involving gathering material possessions.
That makes sense. When goal setting we think about what we want to Be, then to Do and last of all, to Have.
Maybe the attachments to the key people in one’s life are more powerful and lasting than the links to physical possessions.
- Can Happiness Be Genetic? (drvitelli.typepad.com)