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Quality of Life Trajectory

This graphic is highly flexible and could represent an infinite number of factors that are associated with QOL (Quality of Life): physical health, emotional well-being, financial security, happiness and fulfillment…for the sake of this discussion, let’s keep it broad and general: Over-all Quality of Life.

Not many people believe that the black line accurately represents the future quality of their life over time.  This line’s trajectory would suggest that they would look, feel and function at the same level throughout their later years as they do today – and then eventually expire.

The orange line represents the most common assumptions around QOL.  This line implies a slow, steady decline over the decades ending in a considerably poor state before your eventual demise.

In my clinical experience, I’ve met many who believe that the red line more accurately represents their expectations.  Not very inspiring.

They believe that they are on a path that has been set – either by some genetic luck-of-the-draw or a penance for sins of the past. They also believe that they are doomed to a life that will be shorter and sicker than they wish; and there’s nothing that they can do about it.

The experts disagree.

As sited by Shawn Achor in The Happiness Advantage (our current Book of the Month); it turns out that researchers have come to one hugely compelling conclusion: we should all be more optimistic.

Optimism by definition means that we recognize that our choices influence and predict our outcomes.

Want to experience the blue line?  Make better choices.

Our behaviors will drive our experiences and shape our outcomes.  Studies show that there is a consistent set of beliefs and behaviors that are common among these outliers.  These behaviors are observable, definable and – most importantly – reproducible.

If you want to be successful, do what successful people do.

Ultimately, this can lead to one very exciting conclusion: If I wish to be extraordinary, I should do what extraordinary people do.

The green line is illusive.  It is hard to find, hard to walk and harder still to stay on.  But it’s there; waiting for you to enjoy.


Dr. Stephen Franson