There was a longitudinal study of the classes at Harvard in which Jack Kennedy was a student.  And in that study they picked the best and the brightest, the most mentally healthy of the students at Harvard.  And they followed them over their life.  And what they found is despite having all of the advantages, despite starting out on a really good foot, every single person had real challenges in his or her life to deal with. 

Taking on challenges is a critical life skill because no matter where we’re born or the kind of advantage or disadvantages we have in our lives, none of us can escape challenges.  None of us are immune from the tough things in life that we have to deal with. 

So it is such an important skill in small ways and large ways that, again, will help us cope with these things.  Not only cope with these things but be proactive in trying new things and in solving the problems that we have.  It’s so important in our lives enabling us to lead the lives that we want to lead. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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