top of page
  • Writer's picturePeak Benefit Solutions Team

How to Be Happy, Live Longer and Succeed in Business


Who's getting your Assets

When someone asks me about our company’s corporate structure or philosophy, I invariably describe it as a healthy mix of engaged partnerships supporting family businesses with an emphasis on strong relationships both internally and externally. My partners and I firmly believe these principles help our business thrive.

Imagine my delight when I learned that science is backing me up on this.

I recently read, The Good Life, authored by Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz, who are director and associate director, respectively, of the Harvard Study of Adult Development (HSAD), which began over 80 years ago and is still in progress.

The goal was simple and perhaps idealistic: Identify what makes a human life fulfilling and meaningful.

And the answer was simple. Relationships make us happy. And healthy.

A vigorous social network -- trusted friendships, cheerful colleagues, reliable communities – leads to contentment and longevity.

(We are all too keenly aware what the recent global pandemic proved: that loneliness is as damaging to our mental and physical health as we feared.)

Here’s an abbreviated synopsis of the study, results and my takeaways:

The Good Life Study: What Makes Us Happy

  • Initiated in 1938 for the purpose of discovering what makes us happy, Harvard researchers began a study tracking the lives of 724 men divided into two groups: the first were sophomores at Harvard, the second were boys from disadvantaged neighbourhoods and families in Boston. (Eventually the study included wives and descendants.)

  • Researchers revisited participants every two years with questions and challenges. One example was asking some members of the study to actively socialize in certain situations for a set period (say chatting with strangers on public transit or local shopkeepers), where the other members were told to refrain from engaging. The results showed clear indicators of increased fulfillment and happiness by those who connected with strangers. (Remember that old chestnut, “strangers are just good friends we haven’t met yet”?)

  • The study shows that the participants most satisfied with their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.

  • Eight decades in, the study is still tracking the lives, health and happiness of the original participants - a few of whom are still alive and well in their 90s - as well as their descendants, making it a record-setting multi-generational social study.

  • Waldinger and Shulz clearly state in the opening pages of the book: “Good relationships keep us healthier and happier. Period.”

My Personal Takeaways and a Checklist • Add “social fitness” to a good healthcare regime that includes eating well and getting enough sleep, fresh air and exercise.

• Keep relationships tuned up. Like any machines with moving parts, our social connections need to be kept in good running order.

• Increase social engagements with people beyond your family, social, and work circles. This study proves that actively listening and caring about those in our peripheral lives (imagine a friendly chat with your neighbourhood barista) improves our quality of life.

• Make plans for retirement that include engaging social networks. When people retire and feel a void, it’s rarely for the work itself but the daily relationships enjoyed. And a solitary hobby won’t erase that loneliness. As Waldinger says, replace your workmates with playmates.

• It's never too late to be happy. We will all endure failures and struggles, but having a variety of relationships within reach brings a network of support to help us enjoy a life with purpose, connection and meaning.

• Encourage connection between your employees and business partners. While we’ve learned that many tasks can be done by staff working from home and online, a recent Gallup study shows that employee happiness and job satisfaction increases when colleagues can bond through in-person and in-office interactions.

I highly recommend everyone read the book or listen to an audio recording. Watch the TED Talk from 2016 as 23 million other people have.

And then, maybe call up a friend and talk about it.


Resources: Gallup Workplace March 2, 2023 How Important Is Time in the Office? by Jim Harter


Alex Castillo


Terry Windrem brings more than 40 years experience in financial, succession and estate strategies to his partnership with Park Place Financial. After successfully building several companies, including Terry G. Windrem Insurance Agencies, the two companies merged in spring 2018 where Terry now joins Park Place Financial as President and CEO.

Terry works with clients to establish long-term relationships and built his successful business on the highest levels of trust, service, integrity and operational excellence. He is consistently recognized in the community and by his clients for helping business owners develop tax-deferred insurance strategies, investments, succession and estate plans. The Protectors Group and Peak Benefit Solutions have grown to be known leaders in Central Ontario.

Terry is continuously celebrated by both industry and the community and has received the National Quality Award from the Canadian Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors for over 35 years. He is an invited member ofThe Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting (CALU). As an active member of the greater Peterborough community, Terry is a founding member of Kawartha Family Business Group, a local organization dedicated to ensuring continuity of family businesses in the region. He is a current Lakefield College School Trustee and a former charter member of Kawartha Rotary. Terry served on the Peterborough Regional Health Care Foundation Board of Directors for nine years and in 2017 was bestowed the title of Governor Emeritus. He previously served as a Corporate Chair for Juvenile Diabetes and served on the Board of Directors for the United Way Peterborough and Trent Valley Literacy.

Terry is married to Janice and has two children.

Peak Benefit Solutions Inc. was established in 2008 and have helped more than 400 clients from entrepreneurs, manufacturing, professional services and public organizations with their comprehensive benefits planning. Every step of the way, we are with you.



bottom of page