What is it that determines your happiness and health levels as you move through the different phases of your life? What if you could predict the factors that make you happiest and healthiest in life? Aren’t those a few of the questions that you ultimately want the answer in your lifetime?
Imagine the decisions and actions you would make when it is 100% possible to develop the best version of yourself.
Many of us as Leaders spend 50, 60, 70+ hours a week in the office. In fact, the biggest challenge that my clients face as leaders is to balance work and life. They are so committed to the company and their path to success that it comes first above everything else.
But at what cost?
It’s All about Human Needs
Decades ago in the 30 and 40’s, Abraham Maslow interviewed top achievers and the healthiest 1% of the college population in the US. In 1943, he wrote a paper called “A Theory of Human Motivation” where he introduced the idea of human needs and how they affect our motivation and ability to actualize our potential. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model was fully expressed in his 1954 book called “Motivation and Personality.”
The model works on the principle that when each human need is fulfilled, we move up and focus on fulfilling the next need. By moving out of the lower human needs and elevate to the higher ones, this process supports us in self-actualizing. The more self-actualized we become, the more we can attain peak experiences and be in the present moment that result to top performance.
These human needs are hardwired into our neurology and we all naturally look to fulfill them in our lives. One of the important factors that Maslow found in his research is that most people strive for money, fame, and other extrinsic motivations but these just doesn’t create the fulfillment they are looking for. Business leaders know this now.
Maslow found that Money is the lowest form of motivation for people in the workforce. Once our physical and safety needs are taken cared of, we are far more motivated by higher human needs such as Love, Belonging, Esteem, and the desire to be our best. Money is not the end game, there is something more.
So what is it exactly?
The 75-Year Old Study
The most comprehensive study done on adult development has been ongoing for the last 75 years. The participants of the study started when they were teens and continued until their death. This extremely rare look into the timeline of a human life is run by Harvard University and has studied 724 men over the course of their entire lives.
As of last year, only 60 of the original number remain alive in their 90’s and are still involved in the study.
This study is comprehensive. They not just interview the men, they also interview their wives, children, and their doctors. They also take blood samples, scan their brains, and even video tape them talking about their deepest concerns. Over the course of this study, they have found that great relationships are improve our mental, emotional, and physical aspects that grants us continued happiness and better health.
There are 3 clear learnings that came out of the study that I want to highlight:
1. When you are socially connected, it’s really good for you.
When you are more socially connected to friends, family, and community, you are happier, healthier, and live longer. Loneliness is toxic and it kills. The effect of isolation from other people includes decreased happiness and health levels during mid-life especially decreased brain function.
2. The quality of close relationships that you have determines your longevity.
Living in high conflict relationships is unhealthy. Living in warm relationships is protective. The predictor of people’s longevity into the 80’s is how satisfied they are in their relationships when they were 50 years old. Participants in the study who were satisfied with their relationships when they were 50 years old had better health when they reached 80 years old.
3. Good relationships protect proper brain function.
This is especially true when people really feel they can count on others in times of need. Memory stays sharper and longer. Couples can bicker a lot but the important factor is the need to know that they could really count on the other when the going got tough. This makes the difference to your brain function and health as you age.
The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness. – Abraham Maslow
So, where are you going to focus your time moving forward in your life?
Many of the people studied in their teens and 20’s wanted money, and fame. Yet, the people who are happiest in retirement are the ones that spent time to connect, be present, and serve their family, friends, and community. They focused on Maslow’s higher human needs.
How can you build quality meaningful relationships in your life? What do you need to stop doing start being?
Life can be short and in the end when you are on your death beds, you won’t be wishing that you had spent more time in the office.
“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” ~ Carl Jung
The Evolutionary Leader: 5 Steps to Develop People & Performance is a must-read guidebook for everyone. Leaders just like me and you, have the potential to evolve and transform the results that we attain at home, in the office, in our community, and on our planet.
Get your copy of The Evolutionary Leader and upgrade your Leadership Capability today.
“Timothy J. Carroll describes, in an easy to read way, how the human mind functions and how leaders make use of it. He reveals how to shift your performance and understanding of how you work as a human being. These steps are simple yet powerful and get dramatic results for the reader.” – H. Arne Maus, Main Developer & Senior Consultant, Identity Compass / Author of “Forget about Motivation”
“I had been waiting on the edge of my seat to read The Evolutionary Leader and I can put my signature on it and say that this will take my coaching to the next level. Thanks Timothy for leading me to the Path and being my guide when I was in need of it!” – Lee Baxter, Head Goalkeeper Coach, Supersport United FC, South African Premier League
“What an enlightening book Timothy J. Carroll has given us based on his practical experience as a world class athlete and consultant of leaders in multinational companies. If you don’t read any other book except The Evolutionary Leader this year, you won’t be disappointed. Thank you for the tools of change.” – Christer Sjostrom, when he was Senior Vice President, Nordic-Baltic Zone – Solutions and Services at Schneider Electric
© 2015 The Carroll Consultancy Group. All rights reserved.