Archive for March, 2024


March 19th, 2024

Dan Buettner, a New York Times bestselling author, has spent two decades studying places in the world where longevity seems to be a given, and people simply forget to die. They live into their late 90’s and early 100’s as healthy, productive participants in their communities. The other thing he discovered was that the vast majority of them were happy people leading happy lives.  

In his first book, Dan found that only 10 percent of longevity is dictated by genes, and the centenarians did not live longer because of workout gyms, fad diets, supplements, or whatever. “Long life was not something they pursued. It was something that ensued” because of their environment, their support systems, and several other naturally connected things.   

They had a great sense of purpose to their lives, were nudged into physical movement about every 20 minutes because of where they lived, and were completely energized by being in what he described as “Like-tribes” in the right communities that helped keep them on the right track. They lived in interconnected, mutually supportive clusters of people allowing them to do the right thing long enough not to get disease            .

He also attempted to determine where the happiest places were in the world. What he found might throw some of you for a loop, but for many of us, it’s that not so common, “common sense” that our grandparents, parents, and friends have shared with us throughout our lives.

            Buettner worked with Google, Gallup, and the University of Pennsylvania and found some fun examples from about 50 billion Google searches regarding happiness. Generally, people who own dogs are happier than cat owners. (Sorry, Taylor) People who liked action movies or comedies seemed to be happier than those looking for romance movies.  

From his world observations, he found that gender equality is important. It makes men happier when women are treated equally. Education for both men and women was an important key to happiness because educated girls become educated mothers and produce better everything. Plus, countries where there is complete equality are where the happiest people live.  

They found that healthcare . . . not America’s sick care, but genuine health care which includes prevention and wellness is a great predictor of happiness. 

Mike Norton, a professor of business administration from Harvard asked these two questions on three continents: Do you think life is short and hard or long and easy? The people who selected long and easy were always happier, but they were also more civic-minded and generous. They were 40% happier, 30% more likely to vote, and 60% more likely to donate money. That’s a good psychographic profile to seek out for your next fundraising event. It will save you time if you ask those two questions and then only invite the generous, civic-minded, happy people.  

Happy people place their values on family, some type of belief system, face-to-face conversations, walking to the church, market, and friend’s homes, laughter, and seven hours of sleep a day. They also take all their vacation days and try new things.  

So, own a dog, socialize, stay married if you can, pick a job you love over money, give something back, and most importantly, choose where you live because that is the single most important happiness indicator. If you live in an unhappy place and move, you will be exponentially happier within a year. 

They also recommend meditation, financial security over consumption, big windows for lots of light, a front porch, and having a best friend at work. 

Dr. Carl Jung said, “Eat without gluttony, drink without drunkenness, love without jealousy, argue but don’t go to bed mad, and occasionally, with great discretion, misbehave.” 

Check off your happiness boxes and make some changes because it’s never too late, and they can make a tremendous difference. You can choose to be happy every day.