The Friendly Funeralista

Want to live forever? Be conscientious!

Posted on: March 8, 2011

There’s an old saying in the funeral business that funeral directors never retire from the profession, they die.  The good news for us undertakers is that we are clearly a group of people who will live long lives.  According to a new book, it is the conscientious not the  “happy-go-lucky” types who live the longest.  The book, entitled The Longevity Project, draws its conclusions from a study began in 1921 conducted by Stanford University psychologist Lewis Terman.  His study looked at 1500 boys and girls born around 1910.  The purpose of the study was to discover what social, psychological and physical traits are sources of leadership.  When Terman died in 1956, researchers continued collecting information about the then middle-aged participants.  Fast forward to 1990 when psychologist Howard Friedman, co-author of the Longevity Project, began collecting data on the surviving participants.  One of Friedman’s most consistent findings was that conscientious people lived a long time.  Another key finding: longevity is associated with social connectedness particularly if it involves helping others.  Two traits that are consistent among funeral directors are conscientiousness and the desire to help others.  If Dr. Friedman’s findings prove correct, us funeral folk will be around forever!

For more information on The Longevity Project visit:


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