How Can We Make The Harvard Grant Study Relevant — Now?

 In Blog

In 2012, the director of the Harvard Grant Study George Vaillant recorded his findings of a 75 year study in a book called Triumphs of Experience. The study began with 268 college sophomores who were selected in 1939 and followed for decades to study human development; most specifically what constitutes health and wellbeing over an entire lifetime. Seventy-five years later, Vaillant’s conclusions are hopefully basic and rather poetic. Though all the subjects were white men — the study started in the 1930’s after all — the conclusions seem general to all of humanity.

The significance of loving relationships seem the most powerful theme, from childhood to old age. The book’s life-story vignettes illustrate movingly how adult development and maturation is a lifelong process that strongly relates to the transformative power of receiving and giving love. Even when things were bad in a particular stage of life, it doesn’t mean things couldn’t improve significantly. They often did. What is true in one stage of a man’s life is not true in another. We are adaptable beings who flourish most when we let things go and connect deeply. What Vaillant returns to most insistently is the powerful correlation between the warmth of relationships and health and happiness especially in old age. “Happiness,” he concludes, “is love. Full stop.”

Yet, what if we could learn these things sooner? Before our 80’s and 90’s? To let things go, to know that all will be ok. To build a “gratifying” career (not necessarily lucrative or prestigious), another link to happiness according to the study. And most importantly, to freely give and receive love not just for others but for ourselves. What if we allowed ourselves to be happy before we were seemingly too tired or too wise or too experience to hold it off any longer? Maybe a particular maturation is necessary to achieve such happiness, health, and well being, but I gladly strive for all those things right now.


Wednesday’s Workout

A) Tire flip skill practice (10-15min)

B) 4 Rounds for quality (30:30)
Rope climbs
Hand-release pushups from plate
Squat snatches (60- 65%)
Arch rocks

And Coming Thursday

A) Press (15min)
Work up to heavy 5

B) “Grace”
For time
30 Squat clean and jerks (135/95)




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