In last week’s Fridate, we talked a lot about our endeavor to live a Blue Zones lifestyle, one that maximizes our longevity so that we can live a longer and better life with our family. We’re going to dig deeper into the topic of hacking your longevity in this episode with a guest that I first learned about from Dan Buettner, author of the “Blue Zones” book that kickstarted the movement.
But Marta Zaraska, author of “Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100,” takes a slightly different approach to longevity: she decided to look at the “soft targets” of health, as opposed to the “hard targets” of health.
Hard targets are the lifestyle habits that most of us are already familiar with, like diet and exercise. They’re really easy to attach metrics to and track. Soft targets, on the other hand, are a little more difficult to quantify and systematize. Things like how people who are pessimistic or mistrustful are more likely to develop coronary heart disease, while people who are optimistic have an 11-15% longer lifespan than their counterparts.
So, soft targets are these intangible things that have a huge impact on our health and longevity, although Marta has done a great job of making them a little more tangible in her book. It’s easy to just focus on the hard targets because they’re easy to break down and solve like a problem, but Marta has convinced me to spend more time focusing on these soft targets — because this is where things can get truly transformative.