Optimize Longevity! … feel a Pharrell Song Coming?

For two years now, I have been a follower and huge fan of the Stanford Center on Longevity and admired the collaborative model generated through the launch of their Design Challenge project. Here they are in year three with the Design Challenge 2015-16 and like the previous two, it scores highly for me because it fuses more than one element in support of the Stanford Center’s brand tag line “Redesigning Long Life”.

Design Challenge - StanfordAn elegant and intelligent concept, the Design Challenge is well marketed; a fusion of entrepreneurship, technology & innovation, inter-generational participation and the purpose – to make a better quality longer life, not only more possible, but also a little less scary and uncertain. I’m not inclined to say “more secure”. More optimistic – about the promise of longevity, of the possibility of making later life as active and relevant as any other stage in our life cycle.

On August 11th, the open call for submissions to the third Design Challenge was released. This year there are three tracks under the theme “Using Happiness to Optimize Longevity” – Mind. Mobility. Financial Security. There’s that word security again. Security is illusive at the best of times. However, if you read the subtext, the intent here is to “foster financial fitness”.

Speaking of things illusive, what is happiness? And how do these three tracks connect with happiness? Happiness is a state of well-being or satisfaction realized differently by each individual; and I suppose as it relates to your own longevity, you may optimize yours more happily as the Design Challenge invites, if you “delight the mind”, “discover the motion” and yes “foster financial fitness”.

Not to digress, there is such a thing as happiness theory. My friend Louisa Jewell is the Founder and President of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association and has a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania that offers in-depth study of the science of psychological well-being, led by renowned psychologist, Dr. Martin Seligman.

As the Design Challenge gets in gear, I will be talking with Louisa about her take on this connection with happiness and longevity. Prior to the judging phase this December, I will post a blog with her that discusses this notion of “using happiness”.

Meanwhile as some people suggest that the prospect of aging demographics is kind of a social or economic crisis waiting to happen, I can’t help but feel a Pharrell song coming on.
“Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah, Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold it back, yeah… Because I’m happy. Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth…”

“Happy”. Pharrell Williams

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