Yes, there really is a single thing that accounts for healthier, happier, longer, more rewarding lives.
The objective evidence is compelling. Psychologists at Harvard University have been observing hundreds of people for 75 years – tracking them down at home and in their careers. (One participant ended up in the White House as president, others in prison – as guests.) It’s the longest, most comprehensive study of human thriving the world has ever seen.
The researchers recorded everything they could think of: their subjects’ height, weight, I.Q., their blood tests and brain scans, their success in their careers - even what parents, children and spouses had to say about them.
After 75 years, one single thing stood out above all others. It wasn’t wealth, nor prestige. And it wasn’t I.Q. nor even talent, nor determination. It wasn’t even being unusually tolerant, or a good communicator.
It was high-quality relationships.
The need to develop meaningful relationships is one of the three universal motivators. Researchers have calculated that isolation is about as risky as smoking 15 cigarettees a day.
At home, partners in high-quality relationships support each other through life’s troubles – but especially celebrate each other’s successes. Those partners take a long-term view of their relationships so they see disagreements and even some lapses in behaviour as part of a 'work in progress'.
Couldn't we bring the same qualities to our relationships at work?