Wealth, Health, Happiness Interview: Entering the Blue Zone With Nick Buettner
Did anyone get my Top Gun reference in the title? Alright, time to talk about living forever! I know what you are all thinking, “about time we got here,” right? Well, recently I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing the one and only Nick Buettner, co-founder of the Blue Zones Project.
Nick and his brother’s work is simple. They go around the world to pockets of the world where people live the longest (Blue Zones). Study them, interview them, research them to figure out why these certain mini-communities are living longer. Areas like Okinawa, Japan, and even a few in our country, where there are over 10 times as many centurions than other communities.
Once they conducted their research, they set out on a mission to institute these same Blue Zone principles right here in the United States. As of today, there are nearly 60 Blue Zone communities right here in the U.S. where people are drinking the fountain of youth. What I found very interesting is the communities where Nick and his brother did their research weren’t setting out to live forever. Rather, their goals were to live a well-rounded, happy life. Sound familiar?
What is the key to live forever?
How cool is this? You have been searching your entire life to figure out how to live forever, and in a few short minutes reading my random blog you will find the key to it all. Not bad for a Tuesday morning huh? Here is what Nick talked about last week as his big four focal points to living forever.
- Pro-Movement– Nick’s first principle of these Blue Zones is people were pro-movement. Now naturally they exercised like the rest of us, but it didn’t stop there. You see in these Blue Zones they were truly pro-movement. Kids walked to school. Adults ride their bikes to work. People are simply more active and as I sit here writing this strapped to this computer where I’ll be for the next 10 hours, they are on their feet moving around. These communities truly embrace a movement lifestyle.
- Pro-Purpose- This got heavy fast huh? In these Blue Zone communities, people had a purpose. They worked longer because they loved it. They had daily and weekly rituals that gave them purpose. For some that meant daily prayer, others it meant helping others. Didn’t matter the purpose, but Nick even talks about one doctor, in one of these zones, who retired when he was 100 years old! Simply put, these people had a reason to get out of bed each morning, do you?
- Pro-Diet- I know you were waiting for this one while you finished your pre-lunch Big Mac and fries. Staying on theme with others I have interviewed, these individuals that live forever simply eat better. Not necessarily vegans, but a term I have come to embrace in my own life: plant-based. These people have a diet focused on plants. Most of us, myself included, tend to have a slice of big old meat as the core to our meal with a few plants around them. Rather, construct your plate so that it is all plants or mostly plants and, if adding meat, make it a small portion. I’ve tried to adopt an eighty-twenty rule in my life. 80% of what I try to eat is plant-based, which allows me to splurge on the other 20%. I got the idea from my oldest and best bud Cali Matt. He turned me onto it after changing his life around and it helps me not lose my mind.
- Pro-Social- The last focal point to these Blue Zones is having a pro-social lifestyle. It is proven that social interactions help us live longer. They release much-needed chemicals in our bodies and brains. It makes sense when you think about it, being social creatures. We rely on our community, family, and friends to survive. It also helps to give us purpose, which we know helps.
The key to it all
These are the four we focused on in my interview with Nick, although there are really nine specific things Nick’s research compartmentalized these into called the power 9. What I thought was absolutely brilliant however was a comment Nick made. He said the key to it all is to make these habits your default environment. Although quite simple and on the surface not profound, I think it is truly genius. For example, fill your fridge with healthy choices so when you go to snack, you’ll grab an apple – not delicious Doritos! Have your kids walk to school or a friend’s house if possible. Sign-up for a class that gives you purpose or have a standing lunch date with someone important in your life.
You see the key to it all isn’t in knowing what to do, but making it as easy as possible that the Blue Zone thing to do is a natural choice. I SIMPLY LOVE THIS CONCEPT! After a while, you’ll adjust to these new norms as your default lifestyle helping you live to, well, forever.
Before I let you go
Since our mission at Diversified is to help bring true happiness to as many people as possible, I had to ask Nick one final question on the topic. What made these people so happy in his mind and research? Because let’s face it, if you are going to live forever, you might as well enjoy it.
Nick’s four keys to happiness are:
- Have something to do each day.
- Have something to look forward to each day.
- Find a way to give back each day.
- And in the words of the late great Freddie Mercury – find somebody to love!
Although my job just got much harder now that I’ll have to plan for all you financially to live, well, forever, it is for a noble cause. As always – stay wealthy, stay healthy, stay happy.
You can find Nick at his website or on LinkedIn.
Watch the entire interview on YouTube: