What’s the key to true happiness?
British preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”
Happiness can be found both in life’s biggest gifts and life’s smallest treasures, in memories we may treasure forever, or in fleeting experiences that fill us with joy if only for a moment.
Would the elderly look at these statistics and laugh? Perhaps, for only they can be truly aware of what brings someone the most happiness over the course of a lifetime.
A Harvard study followed numerous participants for 75 years in order to pinpoint where happiness comes from, and this is what they found.
“Pictures of entire lives, of the choices that people make and how those choices work out for them, those pictures are almost impossible to get.”
The Harvard Study of Adult Development set out to understand human lives, health, and happiness like no other study had before. Through its various components, it has tracked the lives of specific Boston-based men over the course of 75 years, measuring the various factors that affect life satisfaction.
The Grant and Glueck Studies, respectively, shed an exceedingly rare light into the realm of long-term experiments and the human experience.
The former observed 268 Harvard sophomores from the classes of 1939-1944 who were in good mental and physical health, while the latter followed some 456 inner city boys from Boston, most of whom were disenfranchised but nondelinquent. All of the subjects were white American males.