Alex Witt | August 17, 2013
>>> a 75-yearlong harvard study claims to have found thechieving a full li fe. joining me now huffington post editor. it's fascinating. i loved it. you're looking at all these five steps. talk about what you found. 75 years.
>> it's pretty incredible. it's one of the most come prehence i studies ever conducted. they examined 268 male undergraduates from the classes of 1938 , 1939 and 1940 . they are all well into their 90s. they collected data at various intervals through their lives and found just really fascinating insights about what it means to live a fulfilling life. what are the predictors of happiness and how we change as we get older.
>> it's harvard from way back when so no women at all in the study?
>> no, just men.
>> let's talk about what they found. love is really all that matters. you expect that from men?
>> it's such a cliche to say that but this data proves that. you can have all the trappings of a successful life, money, power, good physical health but if you don't have strong relationships, it's almost impossible to be happy. those people who did have strong relationships and a lot of social support were the most satisfied with their live, the most fulfilled and from childhood to the end of life we're happiest.
>> you make the point it is about more than money and power in this study. part three is inspiring because it tells people no matter where you start you can achieve happiness. this was pretty amazing because a lot of theories thought by the age of 30, your character was set. that was the end of your growth. this study found up until you 90s you change dramatically and there was one participant that anticipated suicide. he ended up being one of the happiest people because he insisted on searching for love and that led him to great amount of satisfaction and fulfillment.
>> back to point number one. also talked about making connections.
>> i think connection across the board was the number one thing that predicted happiness. feeling connected to your work. feeling connected to your family and friends and the community that you live in is the biggest thing from childhood until the very end of life determined happiness.
>> also we all face challenges in our lives and yet they can help you put things in perspective and achieve happiness.
>> absolutely. the study's director says there's two pillars of happiness. one is love and the other is finding way to cope with life's collag challenges. a lot of great artist s have used their challenges to relate to people and it was through the things that caused them difficulty in life they were able to achieve that.
>> i was thinking about beethovan writing ode to joy and he was so unhappy. it's a must read article. i think it's inspiring for everybody. thank you very much.
>> thank you.