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The good life

If you’re irritated with a person and you tell that person you’re irritated with them, and you tell someone else how much that person irritates you, are you likely become more irritated or less irritated with that person?

In the late 1930s  Harvard University in America started a study of Adult development involving  724 boys. One of the main intentions of the study was to see if there was any clear evidence for what helps towards having a “good life”.

The Study followed the entire lives of two very different groups of boys. One comprised of 268 of the “best and the brightest” Harvard College undergraduates and the other group were 456 disadvantaged boys recruited from Boston’s poorest neighbourhoods.

From the tens of thousands of pages of information generated from this study the most significant lessons learnt about living a ‘good life’ weren’t found in the importance of having wealth or fame or working harder. The clearest message was this: ‘Good relationships keep us mentally and physically happier and healthier’ … period. 

The biggest lesson revealed from this study was the quality of our social connections are the one single key to living what is experienced as a significant life. 

The study also highlighted good relationships didn’t  mean smooth sailing all the time.   In fact, those who had actively worked on their relationships were seen to experience deeper connections with  family, friends, and community. 

Another significant  finding was that doing well in our life and our relationships was more to do with how we treat other people than how we ourselves are treated. You Tube ‘The 30-day Kindness Challenge’ (well worth the watch) as a good example of  these findings.                                                                              

As I mentioned at the start, If you’re irritated with something about a person and you tell that person you’re irritated and you tell someone else how much that person irritates you, you are going to become ‘more irritated’ not less irritated with that person. 

The sobering truth is, complaining about a person doesn’t change the person we are complaining about, ‘it changes us’. We become more resentful, more bitter … more negative!  The opposite is also true. If we choose to look for the good in the person our attitude and outlook improves.

Here’s a challenge:  Pick one person you are willing to do a 30-day Kindness Challenge with. PS don’t tell that person.

By the way for this to work you have to be kind even when you don’t want to be!  Yes this challenge is hard … that’s why it’s called a challenge. 😊

  1. For 30 days say nothing negative to the person or about the person. 
  2. At least once a day for 30 days find one thing you can sincerely  praise the person for and tell them, and tell someone else. 
  3. At least once a day for 30 days do one act of kindness or generosity to that person. It needs to be an action that person would see as significant. 

We have the power to build people up or tear them down. It’s our choice in how we use that power.  This power has the potential to not only change them but us as well.