2 min read

The plain secret to a good life: how do we still miss it?

The plain secret to a good life: how do we still miss it?
Photo by Brandon Hoogenboom / Unsplash

As I take a sip from my cold brew on a Saturday morning I decided to revisit a Ted Talk that I have watched numerous times.

I remember watching this a few years ago and not making much out of it, and then being frequently re-directed to the talk through different books, podcasts and shows.

The Ted talk is about the longest ongoing study about Happiness, conducted by Harvard University. It tracked the lives of 700+ men over 75+ years to try and figure out what makes a fulfilling, happy life.

You don't need to watch the 12-minute long Ted Talk to know the answer, I can give it to you right here:

The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.

You probably know this already, and so did I. So why is this fact so hard to accept?

Your relationship or your life

In a way, I think we are simply not wired to accept such a simple solution to such a grand problem. We want something bigger, flashier.

I would often ponder on questions like 'what do I actually want out of life?', 'what is the purpose of all this?' and 'how do I live a life that is fulfilling, happy, without regret?'.

The answer I had was usually along the blurry lines of 'fulfilling my potential, becoming the best self I can possibly be, doing big things, bringing tangible impact to the world...'.

But somehow it seems unbearable to accept that a good life might simply be a life with good and healthy relationships. They seem too simple as I overlook them to find bigger visions.

Your Relationships are always here, it is not quantifiable, and it changes over a long course of time. All these factors mean we often do not value it until something happened to it.

The conflict of life

So what do we do about it? To fully commit to a life dedicated to relationships? Honestly, I do not have the answer, especially as a driven ambitious 21-year-old.

If anything I seem to be neglecting my relationships to chase after my dreams: I am moving across the continent, away from my parents and family to start a new job. I will be living in a different city than my girlfriend. I chose a career path that will likely demand long hours, and stressful work which means I will likely be sacrificing time with those close to me.

But life is just like that, full of conflict.

No amount of time management and prioritisation can help you accomplish all that you want to accomplish. 90% of all your time spent with your parents is spent before you turn 18,  but you also want to build your own life and make a name for yourself in your 20s.

This might sound bleak. But I do think recognition is the first step to appreciating your current relationships and helps you build and maintain stronger relationships down the line.

As always, don't forget to appreciate people and things around you while you relentlessly chase after your goals.

Have a lovely week x

Jason 👊🤎