At 105 years old, Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira is currently shooting his 60th film, O Velho do Restelo (The Old Man from the Restelo) in Europe.
Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden, who died in 2010 at age 99, authored more than ten books after he quit coaching. His most prolific work, when he produced his best selling books, took place between age 90 and 94.
Elliot Carter, at 103 years of age, is still actively composing music. Among his achievements, Carter has two Pulitzer prizes for his second and third string quartets in 1960 and 1973. He still wakes up each morning excited by the prospect of writing something new.
What has made these men so durable, achieving more at a stage in life most people never reach? Certainly genetics play a part: They were blessed with some fairly (or some might say unfairly) potent DNA. But if you interviewed those closest to them, you’ll discover an approach to life that values purpose, passion, and taking risks over playing it safe, according to author and researcher Nicholas Boothman.
Boothman shares some fascinating research from Germany’s Max Planck Institute which theorizes that, every sixteen years, the average life span increases by approximately one year, and there’s no biological or microevolutionary reason to believe this trend won’t continue. In fact, actuaries in Germany forecast that a child born in 2015 will live to be 105.
But they won’t — which, according to Boothman, can be reduced to what he calls “the top 10 facts of life” — a list of keys that explain why most people fall well short of living to their potential:
1) Your self talk can kill you.
2) Like all energy systems, humans come with only two settings: grow or decay. We only come alive when we grow and step out of our comfort zone.
3) The more control you have over your life, the longer you live.
4) People who blame others die sooner than those who take responsibility.
5) Lifestyle is the #1 cause of premature death.
6) Your horizons are obscured by your habits.
7) People who don’t actively socialize are three times more likely to die of medical illness than those who do.
8) Your postal code has more influence than your genetic code when it comes to your health and longevity.
9) Humans enjoy their happiest moments when they are looking forward to novel experiences where the outcome is uncertain.
10) People who live long, meaningful lives have equal measures of people, purpose, projects, and passion in their lives.
To put it simply, your self-talk, your lifestyle, where you live and your willingness to take risks will dictate the years in your life — and the life in your years — more than any other factors.
Which of these habits do you identify with the most? Which ones challenge you? Do you agree with all of them? Why or why not? I’d love to get your feedback.