The 3 Keys to Longevity

The 3 Keys to Longevity

Living longer through purpose, optimism, and resiliency

Robert and I treated ourselves to the luxury of seven days at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. As their brochures say, “Canyon Ranch is dedicated to ‘revitalizing your spirit and leading a healthier, more fulfilled life.’” We can all use a little of that.

Canyon Ranch offers spa services, yoga and exercise classes, lectures, and delicious, healthy food. There was a lecture I read about that I especially wanted to attend called “Living Younger Longer” — something else we women could all use.

At 7:30 in the morning, I walked into the lecture room with my coffee and healthy bran-and-oat muffin and met the speaker, Michael Hewitt, a PhD, and expert in health-and-exercise physiology. In his talk, Michael explained that in a study done of people who are 100 years old or older, there were three traits that they attributed to a long life.

Those traits are:

  1. Purpose

    They have the sense of being of value—to themselves and others.

    A sense of purpose is the core reason why you want to reach whatever goals you have in mind. It is something bigger than you and bigger than the perceived outcome (which might be money, for instance). Your purpose drives you to keep going, no matter what.

    As a young woman in my mid-twenties, I felt I was on top of the world. I was a successful advertising executive, operating a top Honolulu magazine. But I wasn’t happy. I wanted more. I hadn’t found my purpose yet.

    During that time, I met Robert and we decided we wanted to start our own business teaching financial education. I sold everything I had, quit my job, moved to a new state, and dove into this exciting adventure with my husband. I knew this was my life’s purpose and I was all in.

    It was the toughest time of my life.

    Within two months we were flat broke. When we ran out of money, we were even homeless for a couple months, sleeping on couches and people’s floors. When we had a few bucks, we bought cheap tacos and quesadillas to fill our hungry stomachs.

    Being poor and homeless was hard. But even harder was the self-doubt that crept in during that time. Why did I quit my high-paying job for this? Why did I move away from my home to have no home at all? Was it all really worth it? But, when things were rough, I kept my purpose at the forefront of my mind. I knew my purpose was to reach financial independence and help other women do the same.

    So Robert and I kept at it, and little by little we grew in success. Today, we’re financially free with millions in investments and a thriving business. But we could just have easily quit when the going got hard.

    A quote I’ve been reflecting on lately is, “A woman’s spirit is that invisible power within that emerges when she is tested.”

    Certainly, those tough times with Robert were times of testing. And thankfully, when tested, my spirit came out — a fighting spirit that refused to quit. And that spirit is what helped me move from self-doubt to success.

    Often, we want to avoid pain and tough times. But the problem with this avoidance is that we never really learn anything about ourselves, how strong, determined, and resourceful we can be.

    As women, we should embrace challenges and tough times for what they are — opportunities to refocus on our purpose and show our spirit to the world.

    Today, if you’re going through a hard trial, I encourage you to dig deep, zero in on your purpose, and tap into your spirit — your invisible power that the world needs to see.

  2. Optimism

    They have a bright and positive outlook on life.

    Optimistic people tend to have a strong sense of well-being and confidence. It’s been said that pessimistic people tend to be more accurate, but optimistic people live longer. That certainly was true in this centenarian study.

    That is why my sister, Wendy, will probably live to be 150. She came home after a week-long trip and walked into her house to see a sheet of water cascading down the wall in her living room. Where most people would become frantic—yelling and running around—she calmly assessed the situation and said, “I guess we need to call a plumber.” And then added, “That wall needed to be painted anyway.”

    Another time, Wendy was visiting her daughter who works in Hanoi, Vietnam. Her first day there, she had a surprising medical emergency and was told that the Hanoi hospital was not equipped for what she needed and that she must fly to Bangkok. She and her daughter flew to Thailand and received the treatment there. It was an incredible ordeal. When she told me about it over the phone, it was clear that she never panicked or was ever distressed. She simply did what she needed to do.

    After she got out of the hospital, I asked her how she had managed it. She replied, “Well, I figured I had never been to Bangkok before, so we checked into the Four Seasons Hotel, had a martini, and the next day we toured the city. It was wonderful!”

    Yes, Wendy will live a long life.

  3. Resiliency

    They possess the ability to recover from a setback.

    Resiliency is how quickly you can deal with, and bounce back from, adversity. Of the three traits, this is the one that I believe determines which people will see success instead of failure.

    Donald Trump once told me that the determinant to whether a person will succeed in business depends upon how she responds in tough times. Does she curl up in the fetal position, resolved to a life of failure? Or does she dust herself off, smile wisely, and get back to work, smarter from the experience?

    Maya Angelou, a civil-rights activist, writer, and dancer, said it quite succinctly: “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out there and kick ass.”

    These three traits would benefit all of us in all areas of our life, including the journey to our financial dreams.

Original publish date: July 07, 2016