Have you ever wondered how your life would have panned out if you had made a different decision? If you had taken that job opportunity? Enrolled in that class? Gone on that overseas trip? or Married that person? Where would you be now?
Imagine for a moment, that you could follow a group of people from their youth and see how decisions they made resulted in the ultimate quality of life. I'd be curious, wouldn't you? Well Dr Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist, is the current director of a 75 year study by Harvard into Adult Development, looking at just that.
The study started in the 1930's and tracked the lives of two groups of men, sophomores at Harvard College and a group of boys from Boston's poorest neighbourhoods.
"When they entered the study, all of these teenagers were interviewed. They were given medical exams.We went to their homes and we interviewed their parents. And then these teenagers grew up into adults who entered all walks of life. They became factory workers and lawyers and bricklayers and doctors, one President of the United States. Some developed alcoholism. A few developed schizophrenia. Some climbed the social ladder from the bottom all the way to the very top, and some made that journey in the opposite direction."
In the video below Dr Waldinger tells the story, shares 3 lessons learned and gives some practical advice.
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by Lidija Balaz
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