Study: Super-Ambitious Successful People Live Longer Than The Rest Of Us

Good news for people whose lives are already a 24-hour channel of good news: New research says that ambitious, successful people live longer than people with just average levels of personal drive. Oh, and they’re happier, too. Yes, once again, science has done the important work of reminding average people that they might as well just give up. “I guess you could say that those people got it all,” Timothy Judge, the Notre Dame professor who led the study, tells the Today Show. “Of course we don’t know what they did to claw their way to the top, but they took their aspirations and made good.” Good for them!

Judge and his co-author used data from a study following 1,500 California schoolchildren over the course of 70 years starting in 1922. The original researchers examined everything from hobbies to, and tracked things like education, marriages, and careers over the years. From this, they were able to see what happened to the kids who had high expectations for themselves and consequently achieved their goals: They were likelier than average study participants to still be alive in 1982, 60 years after the research began.

Heck, they were probably likelier to be attractive and happy, too. Here’s some other research from recent years that suggests that good things are not distributed equally in this world:

Beautiful people earn more than ugly people.

Tall people are happier than short people.

Happy people are healthier than unhappy people.

Beautiful people are smarter than ugly people.

Rich people are less likely than poor people to get divorced.

I can hear the “Correlation does not equal causation!” people warming up their outraged comments in the distance. But before I let them get to the buzz-killing work they do so well, there’s one interesting caveat to the new study: Researchers found that ambitious people who do not achieve their goals are significantly likelier to die younger. A whopping 46.7% of very ambitious people who hadn’t achieved their ambitions were dead by 1982, compared to 31.7% of ambitious people who had been successful.

You know that expression, “Aim for the moon, and even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”? Turns out you might just plummet back to Earth with a splat. But the folks who actually make it to the moon will lead long, happy lives up there in their special moon colony (Newt!) for the beautiful, healthy, and super-successful.

Share This Post: