How to Make Meaning in Your Life For A Life Worth Living
What makes a life worth living? Is it having an expensive car and a fat bank account? Is it having lots of romantic partners? If you get that big promotion and become the boss, does that make your life meaningful?
It should be obvious that the answer to these questions is “no”. Like happiness, everyone wants a life that is filled with meaning, a life worth living. What does that mean? It means you feel as if what you do has a purpose, or that you’re working towards a higher calling of some sort. If you feel that everything is pointless and nothing matters, it doesn’t matter how much money you have or how many girl- and boy- friends may be at your beck and call. It doesn’t matter that you’ve achieved a high status in your social groups. Without a core of meaning, all of these decorations ring hollow.
Yet so many people spend their lives obsessing over these material trappings, because they think that achievement or accumulation will give them a sense of meaning.
What Is a Life Worth Living?
The truth is a bit more complicated than this. Meaning is not something you discover out in the world like gold or diamonds. We humans are makers of meaning.
The famous master artist Michelangelo, a man so famous he had a ninja turtle named after him, once said that he doesn’t create his sculptures. The sculpture is already in the block of marble, he just chips away the unnecessary bits. Well, about this one thing, Michelangelo was wrong. He was simply exhibiting the unique human ability to look at a random universe and project a strong sense of meaning onto it.
So, the question is how can you see the sculpture in the block of marble that is your life? Here are some ways that will put you on the right path, the path to a life with meaning, a life worth living.
A Life Worth Living Tip No1. Be Mindful and Pay Attention
The most effective way to make meaning in your life is to pay attention! What does that mean? All it means is that you should take note of the things that make you feel alive. The things that give you energy. This is a big clue to whether you find something meaningful or not. Things that are inherently meaningful to you, fill you with energy and things that are meaningless to you, drain you. That’s why your job or menial household chores can leave you feeling empty.
A Life Worth Living Tip No2. Do Something for Someone Else
It’s not true for everyone, but most people can find meaning in helping others in some way. Volunteer at a charity, get involved with your children’s school events. Start a charity project at your job.
It doesn’t matter how you help other people, as long as you are actually involved. Don’t just send off a cheque and then forget about it. The meaning is to be found in the faces of the people you work with, and for that, you have to be present.
A Life Worth Living Tip No3. Push Your Boundaries
Ironically, most people look forward to the day they can retire and no longer have to do anything. The truth however, is that a meaningless life is often one lived within a comfort zone. Without challenges and engagement we quickly decline. We see it all the time in people who retire. Their psychological state and eventually physical health, take a sharp dip when the main thing they busied themselves with is suddenly gone. Planning a healthy retirement is one of the hardest things most people will ever do, but if you make a habit of always pushing against your boundaries throughout your life, you’ll find meaning in the experience.
A Life Worth Living – Take Your Meaning
The most important thing to remember is that no one will ever give you a purpose. If you’re waiting for your purpose in life, and the meaning of it all to just come to you, you’ll be waiting until the day you die. Meaning making is an act of will. It is action, not passivity. Every person has it in them to make their life worth living, or find and make their own personal meaning, and that includes you.