I grew up fully buying into the idea that if I worked really hard, shot to the top of my field, and amassed wealth and fame, I’d not only “have it all” but I’d be ultimately happy and healthy. And then I had my first major job after college working in a fancy corporate gig with all the trimmings. We all worked long hours, even those in upper management. Actually, especially those in management. My superiors spent limited time with their family, if they had one at all. It was a sacrifice they believed would ultimately be worth it, would lead them to ultimate success.
But we always have to ask ourselves why it is we seek “success” in the first place. We chase after money, fame, and glitter because we believe that these things will make us happy. But do they?
A Harvard study that’s been going on for decades has been seeking to answer this question: Who lives the longest, healthiest, and happiest lives?
Robert Waldiner, the current leader of this study, shares some of the results in a recent TEDx Talk. In a nut shell, he says, it’s the bonds we make with others that lead to health and happiness.
And what I learned in that first job is that although a tremendous amount of socializing happens in the work place, it’s rare that that socializing leads to real long-term bonds. In other words, when the proverbial manure hits the fan, are your workmates the ones who show up? How many of these people do you stay connected to years after you’ve left your position? Do you share your most intimate self there or stay on guard in the name of professionalism – do these guys ever see you in your pajamas?
So I leave you with one question: How much time are you investing in strengthening your bonds to your neighbors, friends, and family? To those who will cook you soup when you are sick and thus do see you in your pajamas?
Wishing you many little bonding joys!