Researchers have linked being stubborn, controlling and having a strong work ethic with staying sharp through your 90s.
The stubborn survive – and thrive.
New research links some Type A personality traits, like having a strong work ethic and being stubborn, with good mental health well into your 90s and beyond.
Scientists at the University of Rome La Sapienza and University of California San Diego School of Medicine surveyed 29 Italians aged 90 to 101, living in rural southern villages between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains, whose mental health was even better than their younger relatives aged 51 to 75. And researchers found that these sharp nonagenarians shared personality traits such as being stubborn, hard working and positive, along with having strong ties to their family, land and religion.
And as a result, these venerable residents cared less about how others judged them, and instead embraced a sense of purpose, which the study attributed to their resilience and longevity.
“This group tended to be domineering, stubborn and needed a sense of control, which can be a desirable trait as they are true to their convictions and care less about what others think,” said lead author Anna Scelzo from the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Chiavarese in a statement. “This tendency to control the environment suggests notable grit that is balanced by a need to adapt to changing circumstances.”
This backs a 2015 study that followed more than 700 kids from 9 through to age 40, which found that the most stubborn children – the ones who broke the rules and defied their parents the most – earned the highest salaries when they grew up. They also did better in school.
Having a stronger will suggests you’ll stand up for yourself and focus on the task at hand, versus getting distracted by peer pressure. Or you’ll dig in your heels when negotiating for a raise or vying for a promotion.
Just beware of your persistence becoming obstinance. You still need to work with others. The Longevity Project, which studied more than 1,500 children from the 1920s over eight decades until their deaths, found that those who lived longest were not only conscientious hard workers who advanced in their careers and took on more responsibility — but they also had social support from friends, family and colleagues, like the long-lived Italians in the new report.
“Socioeconomic status is important, but what we found is it’s probably the persistence and the dependability and the good social ties that really are the things that promote your health,” wrote the Longevity Project authors.
© 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved