We’ve built our business on storytelling; sharing the stories of ordinary people living extraordinary lives as a means of smashing the many demeaning ageist stereotypes. The goal of every story we produce is to inspire men and women of all ages to realize that age is not a disease; it’s an opportunity.
The stories that we love to produce the most are those that demonstrate that life into our 80s, 90s, and even 100s can be filled with passion and purpose. If it’s true that a good picture is worth a thousand words, than surely an inspiring video is worth a million views. Or in this case, 4 million views in 5 days.
That’s what happened with our video “A Master Class in Active Longevity,” which we first shared in the Growing Bolder Insider Newsletter one week ago. We posted the video on the Growing Bolder Facebook page at the same time and it didn’t take long to see that its message resonated with viewers. Within 4 and ½ days, it had over 4 million views, an overall reach of 9 million and was shared more than 55,000 times.
We didn’t spend a penny to “boost” or sponsor the post. Its reach was 100% free and organic. It found an audience on its own.
So why did it resonate? What were the takeaways? While the story was about a relay team at a swimming meet, it wasn’t really about swimming. In fact, it wasn’t really about sports. It was about five qualities necessary to enjoy a high quality of life into our 80s, 90s, and beyond.
Passion is what gets us up in the morning and keeps us engaged in life. The fabulous foursome featured in our story exude passion for life, thoroughly enjoying the quest for a world record in their 90s.
You’ve heard the saying; old age isn’t for sissies and to a large degree that’s true. Every one of the relay team members featured in our story had to overcome one setback after another on their way to the starting blocks. One member broke her neck just one year ago. Another was recently hospitalized with a cardiac condition. These are nothing more that ordinary men and women who fought their way through the innumerable physical and personal setbacks that plague anyone who lives into their 90s. They simply refused to get captured by the couch.
3: Vigorous Activity
It’s been proven that a moderate amount of vigorous exercise is the closest thing there is to a fountain of youth. It doesn’t have to be a lot of vigorous activity. In fact, too much is worse than not enough. And it doesn’t have to be swimming. Anything that gets your heart pumping, your blood flowing and your muscles moving will do. Explosive bursts of movement are hardwired into our DNA. It’s all about running from the lion. If you want to keep moving, you have to keep moving.
4: The Power of Intergenerational Social Interaction
Sure, all of the relay team members are in their 80s and 90s but a masters swimming meet includes men and women from 18 to 100. The practices, competitions and related events associated with any activity create social communities of shared interests in which age is not an issue. Intergenerational groups and communities benefit and inspire everyone. Numerous studies have proven that as we age, low social interaction is more harmful to our health than obesity, alcoholism or smoking. Many older people rarely leave their room. That’s the beginning of the end. Don’t let your world shrink as you age.
5: Optimism About Aging
We have all been brainwashed about what’s possible as we age. The constant bombardment of negative images and cues about aging have so thoroughly convinced us that aging is a time loss and limitation that we actually create that reality. We anticipate the negative benchmarks of aging with such conviction that we actually create them. Pessimism about aging and about our futures is a soul killer. We become afraid and risk averse; unwilling to take any chances and to say, “Yes!” to new opportunities. Never stop believing that life is worth living and that the rest of your life can be the best of your life.
Yes, it was a story about a group of older swimmers but more importantly, it was a story about hope, inspiration and possibility. The take away is not that you have to start swimming (although that’s never a bad thing!) but rather that you need passion, perseverance, vigorous activity, social connection and optimism if you want to enjoy the kind of meaningful longevity that’s possible for all.