The Secret to Happiness, Good Health, Long Life,
Business Success and Winning Others to Christ
If I could tell you the number one secret to happiness, good health, and long life, would you be interested? What if I told you that same secret is the number one way to be successful in business? What if I ALSO told you that this same secret is the number one way to reach others for Christ? What am I talking about? Cultivating relationships with other people.
In 1938, Harvard began a study on how to lead happy and healthy lives. Nearly eighty years later, Robert Waldinger, current director of the study, disclosed the following, shocking discovery:
The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health. Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation… When we gathered together everything we knew about them [the research subjects] about at age 50, it wasn’t their middle-age cholesterol levels that predicted how they were going to grow old, it was how satisfied they were in their relationships. The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.1
Lonely people didn’t fare as well in the study, rarely living as long as their more relationship-rich counterparts. According to Waldinger, “Loneliness kills. It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.”2
Waldinger’s comments, revealed in the Harvard Gazette article “Good genes are nice, but joy is better,” is followed up by this statement from Liz Minea, author of the article:
Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives, the study revealed. Those ties protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes…the key to healthy aging is relationships, relationships, relationships.3
Shocking, no? Not really. In Matthew 22:35-40 a lawyer asked Jesus the question, “Which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus responded,
“…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (KJV)
With this response, Jesus stated that all the commandments in the Bible are about making sure we have close relationships with others – first with God, then with other people.
In Deuteronomy 5:33, we learn why these relationships are so important.
“You shall walk in all the way which the LORD your God has commanded you,
that you may live and that it may be well with you,
and that you may prolong your days in the land
which you will possess.” Deuteronomy 5:33 (KJV)
In this verse we see that maintaining healthy relationships – by obeying God’s commandments – will produce good health (“you may live”) and long life (“prolong your days”). But where is the happiness? The word “well” in Deuteronomy 5:33 is the Hebrew word “towb” (pronounced “tobe”). It means (wait for it)…..”happy, joyful, pleasant”.4
Obeying the Bible creates good relationships with God and man. This brings happiness, which brings good health, which brings long life.
Looks like the folks at Harvard finally figured out what God knew all along.
The ability to relate well to others doesn’t just produce happiness, good health, and long life. It also is fundamental to business success. You’ve probably heard the proverb that your “network is your net worth.” You’re also probably familiar with the late Zig Ziglar’s greatest quote, “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.” What about this one, “People do business with people they know and like.”? These quotes communicate an important truth: people must come before profits, and when you are good at relating to others, money follows.
To illustrate this, let’s examine two studies conducted approximately 100 years apart. In 2014, CareerBuilder.com commissioned a survey of 2,138 hiring managers and human resources professionals across industries and company sizes. Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed said that soft skills (such as personality, positive attitude, integrity – things that help you build relationships) were just as important as hard skills (skills that are learned to do a specific job, such as medical training). Sixteen percent of those surveyed said that soft skills were more important than hard skills.5
In 1916, Engineering Education published the results of a one-question survey given to 1,500 engineers. In response to the question, “What are the most important factors determining probable success or failure in engineering?”, the respondents mentioned personal qualities (read “soft skills”) seven times as frequently as they did knowledge of engineering and the technique of practice (read “hard skills”). A follow up survey of seven thousand engineers showed that 94.5 percent of respondents cited “Character” as the number one cause of engineering success and the number one reason for hiring and promoting engineers. “Technique” came in dead last out of six qualities rated by the respondents, and it came in last by an equally decisive majority.6
The conclusion? Then, now, and in the future, bosses (and clients, who are the bosses of business owners) want to do business with people who can get along with other people. Why? Because people do business with people they know and like, and the more capable you are of relating well to others, the more people you can do business with. The more people you do business with, the more valuable you are in the marketplace.
What does all of this have to do with influencing others to Christ? You can’t win other people to Christ unless you can build relationships with them in the first place. To share the Gospel with people, you must connect with people, and the better you are at connecting with people, the more opportunity you’ll have to witness to people. It’s just that simple.
All of these truths lead to one BIG question: What is the best way to build relationships with other people? The answer is to truly, consistently put the interests of others before your own interests. In Luke 14:26, Jesus said that in order to be in a right relationship with God you have to love God more than anyone or anything else, including yourself.7 In Philippians 2:2-3, Paul wrote that we ought to esteem others (love others) more highly than ourselves, for only by doing so can we live in harmony with others.8 These verses make perfect sense when you take into account the truth of Proverbs 13:10: pride is the root of contention.9 If you humble yourself before God and others – if you put God’s interests and others’ interests before your own – you will minimize the pride that will disrupt your relationships with God and others. This will produce harmony in your personal relationships and in your business relationships. As a source of harmony, others will respect you. When others respect you, they will listen to your witness when God prompts you to speak.
Want happiness? How about good health? A successful career? The ability to win others to Christ? You can gain all of these great rewards by making a conscience, consistent effort to cultivate rich relationships with other people.
Now, go cultivate!
Robbie Romeiser is Vice President of Spencer/Hines Properties (www.spencerhines.com), a commercial real estate firm based in Spartanburg, SC. He is also a real estate instructor with South Carolina’s oldest real estate school, The Wyatt Institute of Real Estate in Greenville, SC. (www.wyattinstitute.com). Robbie is the author of the daily devotional blog Today’s Quote From God (www.TodaysQuoteFromGod.com) and founder of Career Callings (www.CareerCallings.net), a ministry designed to help people find, prepare for, and pursue the work God has called them to do. To have Robbie speak at your church, business, professional association, or civic club, please email Robbie at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
1 Mineo, Liz. “Good genes are nice, but joy is better.” Harvard Gazette. 11 April 2017. 9 November 2017 <https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/04/over-nearly-80-years-harvard-study-has-been-showing-how-to-live-a-healthy-and-happy-life/>.
4 BlueLetterBible.org. 9 November 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/deu/5/33/ss1/s_158033 | https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=H2895&t=KJV>.
5 Grasz, Jennifer. “Overwhelming Majority of Companies Say Soft Skills Are Just as Important as Hard Skills, According to a New CareerBuilder Survey.” CareerBuilder. 10 April 2014. 9 November 2017 <http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?ed=12/31/2014&id=pr817&sd=4/10/2014>
6 Mann, Charles Riborg. “A Study of Engineering Education.” The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 1918. 9 November 2017 <http://www.nationalsoftskills.org/downloads/Mann-1918-Study_of_Engineering_Educ.pdf>. Pages 106-107.
7 BibleGateway.com. 9 November 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+14%3A26&version=KJV>
8 BibleGateway.com. 9 November 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Philippians%202%3A2-3&version=KJV;AMPC>9 BibleGateway.com. 9 November 2017. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+13%3A10&version=KJV>