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Study Shows Successful, Ambitious People Really Do Have It All


We might admiringly say that someone doing well has it all, but new research shows that successful, ambitious people live longer and are happier than their less-driven peers. This research began in 1922, when psychologist Lewis Terman of Stanford began studying over 1,500 high-intelligence children in California. Over the next 70 years, the participants were asked about their activity patterns, vocational histories, emotional development, home life and other data.

More recently, Timothy Judge of the University of Notre Dame and John D. Kammeyer-Mueller of the Warrington College of Business sorted through this mountain of data, hoping to draw correlations between ambition and death rates. Surprisingly, they discovered that ambitious people who achieved their life's goals lived longer than ambitious people who hadn't.

"I guess you could say that those people got it all," said Judge. "Of course, we don't know what they did to claw their way to the top, but they took their aspirations and made good."

The news isn't all good for those with strong drive when it comes to longevity, though. As a group, ambitious people tended to die younger than those who weren't as motivated. As MSNBC writes:

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Of those who scored among the top 10 percent on ambition more than 45 percent were dead by 1982, which was some 60 years into the study. The overall death rate for study participants at that point was 33 percent.

What do you think about the study's findings? Are you surprised that successful people live longer than unsuccessful people?

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(Photo credit: Mish Sukharev/Flickr)

Marissa Brassfield
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