The Secret to Longevity?

The Secret to Longevity?


Over the past few years, I have become a health podcast devotee. Whenever I can, I listen to the likes of Andrew Huberman and Peter Attia. Robin and I even listened to Attia’s tome on longevity, Outlive, on a road trip home from Oregon this summer. While Zone 2, VO2 Max, and weight training are undoubtedly helpful in increasing one’s lifespan and healthspan, earlier this week, I was moved to hear that one person’s impressive life story suggests that kindness, a core MTS value, is the secret to longevity.

On Monday afternoon, our middle school students and faculty heard Anita Frank share her life story as a Holocaust survivor. While her hour-long talk provided endless fodder for school-related blog posts, her closing message stuck with me more than anything else she shared. After speaking for more than an hour straight, Anita shared that she is 88 years old. She then asked our students the secret to a long, healthy life. While one student’s response of “eating your vegetables?” elicited a wry smile, Anita proclaimed, “Kindness!” It was one Dutch man’s kindness in the late 1930s that allowed her and her family to survive the Holocaust. Anita shared that even when faced with hate, she responds with kindness.

While our lower school students did not hear Anita’s full story, I am opening our monthly all-school Gather later this morning with a reminder of our first MTS value, Lead with Kindness. I will share that an 88-year-old spoke for over an hour with our middle school students with more vim and vigor than this 45-year-old can. The secret to her strength and long life? Kindness.

Yes, Attia and Huberman have academic research behind their longevity recommendations, and I will continue to exercise effectively and eat healthily. Anita, though, had a palpable energy that filled the MTS gym and a compelling life story that was far more moving. If I can be Anita at 88, I will have done something right. That is why I am going to Lead with Kindness.


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