“Follow your bliss, not your material desires.”
We all want to be happy.
But what exactly is happiness? Can it be cultivated? And if so, how?
Somewhere along the way, you’ve likely heard of something called the Blue Zones — a term coined by this week’s guest in reference to five hidden slivers of the world that boast the highest per capita populations of centenarians – people who thrive to 100 and beyond. Unlikely locales where people not live inordinately long,
Places where people forgot to die.
Interestingly, in addition to outliving their fellow western world equals, the Blue Zoners also seemed resoundingly happier.
Dan Buettner wanted to know more. So he shifted focus from longevity and zeroed in on the elusive, ever-so-slippery nature of happiness itself.
Deploying his expertise and that of others, he used hard science to better define the emotional state we seek most. He scoured the planet in search of the cultures that most exemplify happiness. He examined the internal and external factors that most promote happiness. And he extrapolated the key lessons that can be best applied for us to all ultimately live better and more fulfilled.
The result of Dan’s quest is the subject of today’s conversation. It’s also the the cover story of this month’s issue of National Geographic, the topic he explored all last week on the TODAY Show and the focus of his new Amazon #1 bestselling book, The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons from the World’s Happiest People.
A true renaissance man, Dan is a National Geographic Fellow, a world adventurer with 3 endurance cycling world records to his name, a longevity expert, and a NY Times Bestselling author who has appeared on Oprah twice, as well as CNN, David Letterman, Good Morning America, Primetime Live, and the Today Show. He has delivered more than 500 keynotes over the last 10 years, including speeches for Bill Clinton’s Health Matters Initiative, Google Zeitgeist, and TEDMED. His TED Talk “How to live to be 100+” has been viewed over 3 million times.
Long-time listeners will remember well our initial conversation. RRP 139 (April 2015) explored Dan’s fascinating, adventurous backstory and what he learned studying centenarians. This conversation picks up where that one left off to delve deep into the very nature of happiness. It’s about the three pillars that compose it. And the extent to which your environment and lifestyle choices impact your ability to exude and maintain it.
It’s a conversation about what you can do to design your surroundings to stack the deck in favor of happiness. And it’s an exchange about the impact of Dan’s work on fundamentally improving health and happiness in cities and municipalities across the United States.
But ultimately, this is a powerful primer on how to cultivate greater awareness around the choices we all make daily around food, lifestyle habits, and the quality of our physical and interpersonal environments. And it’s about how improving these choices can lead to the one thing we all seek – true, lasting happiness.
I absolutely love this guy. A kindred spirit, he is truly is one of my favorite people. A man of grace and great integrity who is truly changing the world. A great mentor and role model — and an even better friend — I aspire to his level of service.
And this conversation is simply great.
For those visually inclined, the video version of the podcast is also viewable on YouTube.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.
Peace + Plants,
Listen, Watch & Subscribe
Let’s get clean water to those in need
Right now 663 million people currently live without clean water. I want to change that. So I partnered with charity: water to create a birthday fundraising campaign, 100% of which will be used to build clean water projects for those in need. As of October 22, 2017, we have raised over $42,000. THANK YOU! But we’re still a bit shy of my $51,000 goal. Even though I turned 51 a few days ago, it’s not too late to contribute. To learn more and donate, visit: my.charitywater.org/richroll
Thanks to this week’s sponsors
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Check out Dan’s latest book: The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons From the World’s Happiest People*
Background, Context & Reference
- Connect With Dan: Blue Zones Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
- Blue Zones: 9 Questions for Dan Buettner: Happiness Lessons From the Happiest Places in the World
- National Geographic: These Are the World’s Happiest Places by Dan Buettner
- TODAY: What’s the Secret To Happiness? Author Dan Buettner Reveals The Answer with Megyn Kelly (October 18, 2017)
- Parade: Does Where You Live Determine Your Happiness? Blue Zones Author Dan Buettner Says ‘Yes’ by Christine Copelan
- The New York Times: The Island Where People Forgot to Die, by Dan Buettner
- CNN: Uncovering Secrets to a Longer Life, by Dan Buettner
- CNN | THE WONDER LIST: Ikaria, The Greek Island where people live long and well
- TODAY Show: Wine, Beans and Family: Sardinia’s Secret to Living to 100 (April 7, 2014)
- TODAY Show: Living to 100 in Loma Linda (April 8, 2014)
- TED Talk: Dan Buettner: How to Live to 100+ (3+ million views)
- TED Med 2011: Dan Buettner at TEDMED 2011
- NBC News: Texas Mayor Hopes to Turn Cow Town into Long Living ‘Blue Zone’
- NPR News: Dan Buettner on the happiest places in the world
- Daily Mail UK: America’s top 25 happiest cities revealed by Ted Thornhill
- The Globe And Mail: Dan Buettner’s lessons from the happiest places on Earth by Wency Yeung
- Huffington Post: The Fountain of Youth by Samantha Boardman MD
- Parade: The Cheaters Guide to Living to 100, by Ginny Graves
- Gulfshore Life: A Day in the Life of Blue Zones’ Dan Buettner The founder of The Blue Zones Project breaks down his daily routine by Cayla Childs
Notable Books by Dan Buettner
- The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons From the World’s Happiest People*
- The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest*
- The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People*
- Thrive: Finding Happiness The Blue Zones Way*
Notable People Discussed
- Kathy Freston: self-help NY Times bestselling author of vegan books, contributor to The Huffington Post and wellness activist
- Gene Baur: founder of Farm Sanctuary, author, animal rights activist and podcast guest
- IN-Q: songwriter, award-winning spoken word poet from Los Angeles and podcast guest
- David McLain: Maine based National Geographic photographer and cinematographer
- Peter Miller: senior editor on National Geographic Magazine
- Cory Richards: Alpine climber and adventure photographer
- Pekka Puska: Finnish physician, docent and politician famous for the North Karelia Project in Finland and the “Genetic influence on human lifespan and longevity” report
- Marty Seligman: psychologist, educator, and author of self-help books
- Sonja Lyubomirsky: professor in the Dept. of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside and best-selling author
- Lee Kuan Yew: first Prime Minister of Singapore, governing for three decades
- Daniel Kahneman: psychologist notable for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, as well as behavioral economics, for which he was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
- Sir Angus Deaton: economist, awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare
- Adam Grant: best-selling author and professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
- David Zammit: photographer, cinematographer and cycling enthusiast
- Cynthia McFadden: TV journalist, senior legal and investigative correspondent for NBC News
- Jake Whitman: NBC News producer
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy
- RRP #139: How To Live To Be 100+ (And Why You Should Invest In Adventure)
- RRP #109: Kathy Freston On Letting Go Of Perfectionism & Why We Should “Lean In” To Positive Change
- RRP #93: Embracing A Sustainable Lifestyle Philosophy That Transcends Diet
- RRP #250: Jonathan Fields’ Buckets For Living A Good Life
- RRP #97: How A Panic Attack On National TV Led To Meditation As The Path To Happiness
- RRP #285: Louis Cole On Living The Life of Adventure
- RRP #83: How Endurance, Faith, Family & Service Equate To Success (Part 1)
- RRP #310: What’s Your North Star? Jon Gordon On The Primacy Of Vision & Why Positivity Is Paramount
SPECIAL THANKS to MOBY for this episode’s interstitial music: “Look Back In” via mobygratis.com. Thanks to Jason Camiolo for production, audio engineering and show notes; Shawn Patterson for graphics; and David Zammit for photography & videography. Theme music by Ana Leimma.
*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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