Winning May Be EverythingWhen 524 nominees for the Nobel Prize were examined and compared to the actual winners from 1901 to 1950, the winners lived longer by 1.4 years. Why? It seems just having won and knowing you are on top gives you a boost of 1.8% to your life expectancy.
It’s All About StatusWhat seems to matter is how you view yourself in relation to your peers. If you think you are on top, you may have less stress than those who were nominated but “didn’t make it.” Status has been linked to longevity in other studies, but it gets complicated. Being the top ape means more stress (because the top ape must always defend itself from wannabes just below him). In humans, the Nobel is like being given “top ape” status permanently – no one can take it away once you get it.
Focus on PhysicsJust to make things more complicated, the researchers found that Nobel prize winners in physics lived almost a year longer than prize winners in chemistry. Could it be that in physics the Nobel is more prestigious or conveys more status? No one knows, but that is my guess.
Use ItYou can use this research to increase your own life expectancy (no, you don’t have to start working on your Nobel Prize research). Start by not comparing yourself to others. The more you look around and focus on others who have more and are higher in status, the more you might suffer the “nominee” effect. Instead, stop comparing yourself to others and focus on your own successes and happiness.
Source(s): Matthew D. Rablen & Andrew J. Oswald, 2007. "Mortality and Immortality," IZA Discussion Papers 2560, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
Matthew D. Rablen & Andrew J. Oswald, 2007. "Mortality and Immortality," IZA Discussion Papers 2560, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).