Chapter 2 went into greater detail on why the best childhood personality predictor of longevity was conscientiousness. Before reading this book, I had never thought that high conscientiousness might be a reason that certain individuals live longer than others. I would have assumed that people who live longer are generally happy people who eat healthy, exercise regularly, were born with good genes, and live in nice areas. I took the first self assessment, and I discovered that I am conscientious. My friend assessed me after I assessed myself and we both came up with the same score: 37. I was not surprised to learn that conscientiousness is also the best predictor of long life when measured in adulthood. This did not surprise me because conscientious people engage in less risky behaviors and overall, they make better decisions. What if a person is very conscientious but was born with bad genes? Is this an exception to the rule? It must be. While the reading states that conscientious individuals are less likely to get many different diseases, possessing certain disadvantageous biological traits definitely outweigh the benefits of being a conscientious person. I was not surprised to read that unconscientious children can slowly turn into conscientious adults. This fact did not surprise me because as you mature, you are more likely to make smarter decisions.
Chapter 3 discussed the role that sociability plays in longevity. I learned that being too social is not a good thing, and sociable children did not live longer than unsociable children. I was not surprised that scientists outlived the nonscientists. Working in finance for example is a lot more stressful and unstable than working in a laboratory and all of the extra stress is not good for ones health. I was surprised to learn that scientists generally had longer lasting marriages. This was surprising because I think of scientists as somewhat unsociable, awkward people. I also learned that there is a right level of sociability and that it is equally as important to like to be around others as it is for people to like to be around you. I am curious to learn more about why being cheerful is not a factor that contributes to longevity. I feel that it should be because optimistic people are by definition not as negative and therefore should experience less stress than non optimistic, cheerful people.