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The meaning of life is that there is meaning.
Many will say—”life is too complex, too big, too random to have meaning”. I completely understand the rational and perspective behind such a statement. This person would propose that within the grand scope of the universe life is far too complex to have one specific meaning, and that with one ultimate answer there would no longer be any mystery. With such an answer life itself and its many pursuits would end.
Nonetheless, I’d like to propose a very different perspective on the actual meaning of such a question, and why this question is even asked at all.
In order to understand the meaning of such a heavy and complex question, you must first understand and accept that no one has the answer; yet, the answer lies within everyone and everything.
In today’s Western society, we seek and demand answers, cures, and solutions instantly. Technology has not aided us with this basic human need for a meaning in life. We search and search, but continue to come up empty-handed. The solution is actually quite simple: The meaning of life is that which you give it.
Your meaning may develop, or even change, but what’s important is that you always live with purpose. Rather than spending all your time checking off a to-do list, which is a very unconscious and unfulfilling way to live, spend some time examining the meaning you have pre-assigned to the many aspects of your life.
Some of us live for our careers, our children, our parents, our spouse, or our self-imposed mission. But, be certain that we all live for each other. A life without contribution is no life at all.
“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the
labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”
Meaning comes in many forms. It is always possible to find meaning, even in times of extreme suffering. Can you imagine trying to find meaning as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp?
Victor Frankl and many others had to find a way. A psychiatrist by profession, Frankl quickly realized that only approximately 1 out of 25 people would survive. Aside from the aspects they could obviously not control, those who lacked a meaning gave up and quickly died from disease, malnutrition, and the harsh/inhumane camp conditions. On the other hand, he observed a strong correlation between those that held onto their individual meaning and those that survived. Man’s Search for Meaning is a must read.
Action: Tomorrow morning when you are brushing your teeth, rather than running through a list of to-do’s for the day or worries for the future (which doesn’t yet even exist), ask yourself—”What is the meaning of my life and am I consciously living towards that purpose?” If you pause to reflect and really analyze the question you may be surprised your answer.
My meaning: My destiny is to consciously pave my own path and live in abundance, while experiencing all of life’s wonders and pleasures. I will constantly grow as a passionate student of life and thought leader, so that I can contribute to others and enable them to live a passionate, more fulfilled life.
What is your meaning? Feel free to share in the comments.