When Harvard researchers surveyed people and asked them what would make them happy, most answered money and fame, in that order. What people say makes them happy, and what really makes them happy doesn’t converge though.
Perhaps the longest running longitudinal study of its kind came to a different conclusion. It followed two groups of people from Boston since the 1930s: Harvard sophomore graduates (the elite) and poor kids from some of the harshest neighborhoods (the under-privileged). To this day, some participants, now in their 90s, are still involved in the study and report their mood and state of happiness. Now, psychiatrist Robert Waldinger — the fourth study director — shares three important lessons learned from the study, including the single most important factor to overall happiness.