What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness | Robert Waldinger

  • Published on Jan 25, 2016
  • What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it's fame and money, you're not alone - but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you're mistaken. As the director of 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.
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Comments • 6 519

  • Nurul Rafika
    Nurul Rafika 16 minutes ago


  • Thomas Sagayo
    Thomas Sagayo 50 minutes ago

    Thank you Dr Waldinger. Very reliable study that I exactly copy your messages to my youtube video

  • Eric Print
    Eric Print 2 hours ago

    watching this whole video felt like four minutes to me, good video

  • chester kingsman
    chester kingsman 9 hours ago

    I love his voice.

  • Chandler Minh
    Chandler Minh 9 hours ago

    *"Loneliness kills you"*
    Then how am I still alive?

  • Hannah Hanlon
    Hannah Hanlon Day ago

    What a speech! Maybe one of the best I've heard on TED. Bravo.

  • issaac zala
    issaac zala Day ago

    Good life is built with good relationship...

  • Anirudh Kumar
    Anirudh Kumar Day ago

    I don't have anyone I can count on.....
    I don't fear death, I hope I die in my 40's

  • Roma Colombini
    Roma Colombini 2 days ago

    min 11:21 , what about me? im a mess I don't have any healthy relationship, not even with my family. thanks for coming to my ted talk

  • Rukhsana Akhter
    Rukhsana Akhter 2 days ago

    I just want to be solvent not rich.

  • Fereshteh Hatami
    Fereshteh Hatami 3 days ago +1

    Most important relationship of a man is his relationship of him and his creature

  • Błażej Kapciuch
    Błażej Kapciuch 3 days ago

    Liar! Single or single motherhood is the best!

  • Tony Is Alive
    Tony Is Alive 4 days ago

    I would like to tell you something.
    This reason concerns: Why we cannot live as we want.
    We must work for the system, study, do everything for the sake of the system
    Why is our happiness in pieces of paper ??!?
    After all, people simply cannot see the world in any other way. They just live like everyone else.
    And why do we even need to study in schools? Maybe everything is simple, the system just hides everything from us.
    For example, why do people live only 70-80 years? Maybe the whole thing is not to pay huge money to centenarians? All people live only as the system wants us to do, well, I don’t argue with this if people lived as they wanted, wouldn’t work, would consume all land resources, then we would die out
    I mean, you have to conclude yourself and change your view of the world and start living as you like

  • Dr. Shariful Halim
    Dr. Shariful Halim 4 days ago

    Wow!!! What a simple explanation! He is a great teacher. Wish to meet him one day!

  • Liza Roocroft
    Liza Roocroft 5 days ago


  • Tony Tran
    Tony Tran 6 days ago

    'Why do you creeps keep studying us uninteresting people?'. That's a stupid question. You don't eat if you don't work, and for those MDs they can't get laid if they don't have their liscense. No hot chick wanna bang a bunch of boring hookworms.

  • Greg Lecuyer
    Greg Lecuyer 7 days ago

    Almost all the advice I got fom family a friends was not in my best interest so solitary is best for me.

  • Nice to mole you
    Nice to mole you 7 days ago

    I feel lonely. Yeah I got my family but mainly feels like it’s forced because I have to live with them. I don’t really feel like I can ever emotionally bond with anybody. I tried to talk to people but they just never want to listen. Well, I guess I’ll die earlier then for being lonely.

  • 조명주
    조명주 8 days ago

    There are many poor people in the world . It ' s just that there are no instiutions that have made them rich .

  • Ihsan kamalmaz
    Ihsan kamalmaz 8 days ago

    With this soulful voice it's glamorous.

  • sejun oh
    sejun oh 9 days ago

    한국인 손!

  • fajr omar
    fajr omar 9 days ago

    Just am getting annoyed by loud laughing and clapping.
    Plz keep calm no reason for noise

  • Huy nguyen kim nhat
    Huy nguyen kim nhat 10 days ago

    Idk if this applies for today. I feel like if you really believe it, you can be happy living in solitude with your anime waifu for the rest of your life. Seriously

  • Nusiba Abdalmuttlib
    Nusiba Abdalmuttlib 10 days ago


  • Abo Al Abed
    Abo Al Abed 11 days ago

    The Muslim Quran is life


  • Deziah Saint
    Deziah Saint 11 days ago +1

    its literally just be happy and avoid loneliness

  • basab goswami
    basab goswami 12 days ago

    Suggesting that ninety years is too short a life,is the biggest joke.

  • Earth+
    Earth+ 12 days ago +1

    In my opinion, recipe for happiness differ from person to person. Good relationships can be a big component of it, but certainly not the only component. Each person needs to figure out what makes them happy.

  • harry meynarez
    harry meynarez 12 days ago

    Money can’t buy everything because the rest is too expensive!

  • Tobi-Wan
    Tobi-Wan 15 days ago

    The answer: 6:10

  • ClareViewPhotography
    ClareViewPhotography 16 days ago +22

    Welp....you lost me at the “men only” thing. Good info for the gentlemen in the thread, but I feel women have different needs. I may be wrong, but give me a study to prove it.

    • Anirudh Kumar
      Anirudh Kumar Day ago

      Rather than being a man hating Feminazi, you should try to understand what is being said.
      Here's how: Just ask yourself 'How can I apply this in my life?' & suddenly you'll realize how useful this talk is.
      P.S. Stop being such a Misandrist

    • Ruben Franco
      Ruben Franco Day ago

      We all tought the same, that's because we're living different times now.

    • Huma Onyango
      Huma Onyango 8 days ago +1

      Maybe they should look at race too, and sexual orientation!
      Its information. You can generate some too. And share with us.

    • Lieke Lalieu
      Lieke Lalieu 9 days ago

      Maybe it says something about the era the research started. The 30s were less emancipated. And later on they included women as well.
      Without research you cannot compare but you have to start somewhere...

    • Mary Katherine McNaught
      Mary Katherine McNaught 13 days ago +1

      ClareViewPhotography I was thinking the same thing

  • Nancy
    Nancy 16 days ago +5

    There are many many people who are happier without people LOL. Those are the people I look to.

  • AarBear Grizzly
    AarBear Grizzly 16 days ago

    Blacks kmow tbis experience.......we worked for your families.....for four hundred years.....you murdered us.....stole from us and lied to us......you studied us!We made.....everything look easy and happy.....while singing along the journey....but you couldn't possibly know what happiness is because you had it alot Frasier.....your happiness has been others nightmares.......see if your happiness is REAL!!#

  • fungicyd
    fungicyd 18 days ago +5

    This brings me down, as I'm lonely :(

  • Monica Elaine Solis
    Monica Elaine Solis 18 days ago

    Community is key! Find your TRIBE people and set boundaries for those people in your life that are not SAFE!

  • Job Gonzales
    Job Gonzales 18 days ago +15

    I’m a senior in high school and with college applications I feel as if I’m staring to understand my struggles and my perception of the way I view life.
    I thought I had it hard in life until I noticed that I was like everyone else. I would here these stories from friends about going here and there and doing this and that while I stayed at home. I never talked about friends which when I wanted to leave the house my parents would be hesitant and lean towards no because they felt unsafe of me leaving. When I asked for anything I didn’t get right away but if I listen and did well then I would build up this expectation for my parents which made me seem like the smart and most well behaved kid in my family. Eventually I got tired of being expected to do so much I lowered my expectations and gave little effort. I struggled and never being an open and talkative person I struggled. I didn’t like to make mistakes and being judge so if I stayed quiet then I won’t mess up. And if I don’t mess up then I don’t get judged. But then I didn’t learn because I stayed quiet. But recently I started to be more open and stopped worrying about being judged because life moves on and I can’t control every second or predict the future. I can only sail along and change my course every now and then. My family has its ups and downs like everyone else but in the end they are still supportive and will sacrifice everything so that me and my siblings can have a better future. Right now I’m still figuring out why was I trying so hard. Was it because I wanted my parents to be happy or was it because I wanted to be able to get all these cool toys and electronics?
    Some people won’t read this, some will but this is pretty much a place I can express my feelings and feel relieved. To understand how things really work, understand them as they come apart.

    • Job Gonzales
      Job Gonzales 15 days ago +2

      Otto Thank you.

    • Otto
      Otto 15 days ago +2

      I've had very high expectations from my family as well. Due to siblings that are relatively successful. Eventually I realised I'm not living life the way I want to and I think that's the most important realisation in that kind of environment.
      Consider advice but decide things for yourself. Also don't stick do much to "I'm just like other people" while true in some aspects you'll see after highschool how untrue it is in many. Develop and improve aspects of yourself that you/people often associate you with, start thinking about where you wanna be in 10 years whether it sounds realistic or not having a bad plan is better than having none either way. If you don't stand out in a crowd of people no stranger cares about, you'll never get to choose who you deal with in life.

  • Amiriam Watson
    Amiriam Watson 19 days ago

    This was a good series I had to watch this for my psychology class

  • Soohyun Kim
    Soohyun Kim 19 days ago

    I have tried to start my new life after moving to London for university at 19. I’d been financially getting support, but none of emotional. I was constantly making mistakes, wrong choices and at the end I became more indecisive and had to come back home after my visa expired. I have lost all my friends back in town, wasn’t building new healthy relationships, now I’m like a 24 years old with a mindset of a baby. I need to build everything from the bottom again, but I’m hesitating if this is my ambition to refuse my fortune... I’m really afraid and scared. I feel badly alone. I’ve always wanted friends. Most of them in my teen was superficial, it is partly my fault that I didn’t know how to open up myself. I’m afraid if I’m sociopathic or something :( I want relationships, not bad ones.. but I don’t know how ..

  • Sabid Mia
    Sabid Mia 19 days ago

    The study must be going on !

  • rahul choudhary
    rahul choudhary 19 days ago

    And the fact is that an individual needs a relationship when he or shee feels incompleteness within please understand this u r alone a complete piece of life u dont need any kind of relation or support in ur life if u want to live happy .relationships just make u more emotional fool and they make u more depend on others

  • Sreekar Krothapalli
    Sreekar Krothapalli 20 days ago

    I call it BS Study. If you can’t be happy spending time with yourself, no kind of good relationship can fix it. Period.
    It’s a shallow study and didn’t dig deep into human psyche.

  • Jude Mentz-Gibbons
    Jude Mentz-Gibbons 20 days ago

    A study of 724 "men" of what makes for a happy life - not one woman? He lost me there

  • Kimberley 123
    Kimberley 123 20 days ago

    Amazing video! ... just what I was looking for. 😊

  • Ismat Ara
    Ismat Ara 20 days ago


  • Kristin & Co.
    Kristin & Co. 21 day ago

    My only qualm is that the study is focused on men. What about women? Are these factors different for us? I understand why it's only men. When the study was started it was during a time when women weren't considered much outside of "home life."

  • keerthana Padmanabhan Angan

    Great talk👏👏

  • Ai Fan
    Ai Fan 21 day ago +1

    I'm alone, but I'm not lonely. 😊

    • Sabid Mia
      Sabid Mia 19 days ago

      Reminded me of Jean Paul satre : if you're lonely when you're alone ,you are in bad company

  • Diana Silva
    Diana Silva 21 day ago +1

    No wonder this is a men's world...

    • Sabid Mia
      Sabid Mia 19 days ago

      I agree with you despite being a man

  • chitra kamath
    chitra kamath 22 days ago


  • cruisepaige
    cruisepaige 22 days ago +24

    Very important: “more isolated THAN THEY WANT TO BE.” Isolation itself is not the issue.

    • Your Name
      Your Name 2 days ago

      I fn love to be alone probably 75% of the time. Introvert. Single.

    • cruisepaige
      cruisepaige 15 days ago

      Lee Lorenz One person’s isolation is another person’s tranquility.

    • Lee Lorenz
      Lee Lorenz 21 day ago

      Isolation is a killer, both emotionally and physically. Even geniuses like Poe, van Gogh and Kafka suffer.

    • Lee Lorenz
      Lee Lorenz 21 day ago

      Isolation is a killer, both emotionally and physically. Even geniuses, like E.A. Poe, van Gogh and Kafka suffer.

  • Sumiati 4687l
    Sumiati 4687l 23 days ago

    Anyone here kno the accent? British or American?

  • Michelle
    Michelle 23 days ago

    720 men. All men. Yeah fucking great assholes.

  • Prabal Prabal
    Prabal Prabal 23 days ago

    Watch with 1.5 x speed.

  • Sasikala Koppada
    Sasikala Koppada 24 days ago +1

    My father earned a lots of money
    He spent all his age and energy running behind money.
    He thought he could give his children a good future by giving his assets to them.
    But at the end during his last days he remorsed for his failure as a father
    He planned and decided the future of his children
    He thought more money more happiness
    But he did not care about morality and ethics of life.
    A parent should not predict and plan the future of their children
    He can advice and guide them as his part, but always leave the future to the children to handle them selves.
    Only humans have special gifts from nature to think to express feelings
    But some how they turn their gifts into curse by greediness.

    • Anirudh Kumar
      Anirudh Kumar Day ago

      My father is the same. I guess that's just how old school Indian parents think.

  • RJC 72
    RJC 72 24 days ago

    I always thought what made a good life was winning your local peeing-for-distance contest. I might be wrong though.

  • MrGruffy 44
    MrGruffy 44 24 days ago

    The doctor refers to "relationships" as a given--either good relationships, or bad relationships. But there is a third choice. I'm 75 years old, and have NEVER been in a relationship. And my life has been great. I've had the freedom to do and believe as I desire. I've read many books, engaged in many hobbies, researched several areas of history, religion, health, civilizations and our pathetic excuse for "education" in the US. I've been driven my an intense desire to learn and do as much as I can. I can do what I want, when I want, how I want, and if I want, without being accountable to another, nor needing the approval of another. I would never trade my place with any other man. If marriage or relationships require effort, time, energy and sacrifice, why waste your life on them?

  • laurelrunlaurelrun
    laurelrunlaurelrun 25 days ago

    it feels like hardly anyone values building these relationships that are supposedly so beneficial. I'll keep trying though. For me, friendship and community are the best things in life. :-)

  • Sukey Pan
    Sukey Pan 25 days ago

    The problem with relationships is that you don’t always know you’re going to have a good one when it starts... I see many people interpreting this as try to have relationships in your life rather than spend too much time climbing the career ladder, but I see too many people who will accept less than they deserve for the sake of being in a relationship.

  • Linda Vilma Ole
    Linda Vilma Ole 25 days ago

    Is this study proves Aristotle's definition of what a good life is?

  • It’s Slimpoo
    It’s Slimpoo 26 days ago

    And what if I have no one I can trust and when I did trusted someone he let me down

    • Anirudh Kumar
      Anirudh Kumar Day ago

      That happens alot with me too. People just aren't worth it 😔

    • Krzysztof Chrul
      Krzysztof Chrul 24 days ago

      I would just go and die in my basement if I were you