The Wisdom of Centenarians

atkins-bookshelf-booksWith age comes wisdom. Steve Franklin, author and a professor at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, and Lynn Peters Adler, founder and director of the National Centenarian Awareness Project, joined forces to interview and survey more than 500 centenarians living in the United States. In that process, they captured more than 50,000 years of wisdom about life, health, family, and work, summarized in their fascinating book: Celebrate 100: Centenarians Secrets to Success in Business and Life. Franklin and Adler did not set out to publish a rigorous scientific study, which abound on the internet, but rather to gather and distill the stories and wisdom that these remarkable centenarians shared. Each participant was asked “What is your secret to living to be 100?” with no predetermined categories. As all 500 answers were recorded and evaluated, seven categories seemed to emerged. Below is the list of the secrets to living to be 100.

1. Postive Attitude: 50% described themselves as optimistic; the other half, realistic.
2. Healthy Eating: 78% responded that they had never been on a diet; the key was healthy eating in moderation.
3. Faith: the majority of centenarians have faith in God or a higher power; they stated that faith sustained them through good and difficult times.
4. Exercise and Activity: 70% have never been on any special exercise program; most claimed that exercise was part of their daily work activities (e.g., walking).
5. Clean Living: 75% have never smoked; none were excessive drinkers; none were drug-users or had serious criminal records.
6. Family: 65% grew up with 3 or more siblings; 60% had 2 or more children; most defined being rich as having a loving family and close family relationships. 
7. Genetics: Most, if not all, respondents acknowledged the role of good genetics contributing to their longevity.

Read related posts: Wisdom of a Grandmother
Wisdom of Tom Shadyac
Wisdom of Morrie Schwartz

For further reading: Celebrate 100: Centenarians Secrets to Success in Business and Life by Steve Franklin and Lynn Peters Adler (2013)

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