Actually no! I found the results from this 80-year long research study to be surprising:
Here are the top 3 attributes seen in people who live a long life:
1. Conscientiousness: “Doing what you say you are going to do.” Honesty really is a virtue! Being honest with yourself is definitely important as well. People who “walk their walk and talk their talk” have less strain on their Hearts. In Chinese medicine your Heart is also thought of as your spiritual center and your “head” or “mind.” Staying “true” gives you peace and a peaceful Heart will grant you happiness and less stress which leads to a long and happy life. The heart really is the “king of the organs.”
2. Taking responsibility for yourself. You are the main character in a great story. Things happen to this character. Good things happen and bad things happen. What you can take responsibility for is how this character (YOU) react to these things. Only YOU can decide if someone makes you mad or sad or glad. (Can you tell I’ve been reading a lot of Dr. Seuss lately?)
3. Productivity. Everything has a pattern of “start, change, and stop.” Some people excel more at the “starting” or the “changing” but it’s actually a rare person to really produce a good end “product.” I actually test this when I hire someone. I ask them what their greatest accomplishment in life has been thus far. The “starters” are the ones who identify their personality with what they have done in the past. For example, they would say “I am a good receptionist…” or “I have been a good mother…” The “changers” identify with the work itself. They say things like, “I am good at answering the phones…working really fast…putting needles in people….” But the best hires are the ones who are the “producers.” The ones who don’t stop until they have a good end product. They say things like “I am a good mother because my children are all in college and I was single and working 2 jobs to support all of us when they were growing up.” Or “at my last job, I beat the sales record 3 quarters in a row by 50%.”
Staying honest, responsible and hard-working bring about good morale which leads to happiness and reduced stress. Since stress is the precursor to many dis-eases, you are bound to stay healthier longer and enjoy life into old age!
Source: The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study, by Howard S. Friedman, PhD and Leslie R. Martin, PhD, 2011, New York, Hudson Street Press.