15 Ways to Live a Meaningful Life

If you’re a teacher, not only do you help other people learn, but you also learn many things about many topics too. Just 10% of U.S. adults under age 30 mention spirituality, faith or God when describing (in the open-ended question) what affects their sense of meaning. By contrast, three-in-ten adults ages 65 and older mention religion when describing what makes their life meaningful and fulfilling. Answering such a big question might be challenging for many people. Even among researchers, there is little consensus about the best way to measure what brings human beings satisfaction and fulfillment.

  • These are all cited as providing a great deal of meaning by much larger shares of respondents when they are reminded about them in the closed-ended question than when they are asked to express, in their own words, what makes their lives meaningful and fulfilling.
  • The first included an open-ended question asking Americans to describe in their own words what makes their lives feel meaningful, fulfilling or satisfying.
  • Aristotle’s solution is the Highest Good, which is desirable for its own sake.
  • Try to practice becoming mindful of the great things you have on a regular basis and being aware of your feelings.
  • Devote your time to a worthy cause, and reflect on how your actions are making a real difference in someone’s life.
  • Sharing your passions with a group of like-minded individuals also helps further develop harmonious passions, which, in turn, can generate a sense of meaningfulness .

Sarte and Camus while emphasising the personal confrontation with a nauseating and absurd world, still wrote books about tgat, apparently seeking some measure of universalising of their framing of the problem, and their methods in response. @VolkerSiegel, No, I meant it must argued to have universal validity. Of course, not all may agree that it is indeed universally valid, but if people simply following their whims can be taken as meaning of their lives, then I don’t see where the boundary lies for purpose in the philosophical sense. I maintain that it doesn’t make sense to simply “create your own meaning in life”. I have come across this view, which is generally held by most humanists, pretty often, and it doesn’t seem to make much sense to me. Dvaita Vedanta and other bhakti schools have a dualist interpretation.

Origins and ultimate fate of the universe

A serious concern for any extreme God-based view is the existence of apparent counterexamples. Even religiously inclined philosophers have found this hard to deny these days (Quinn 2000, 58; Audi 2005; Mawson 2016, 5; Williams 2020, 132–34). The thought is that meaning is well represented by a bipolar scale, where there is a dimension of not merely positive conditions, but also negative ones. Gratuitous cruelty or destructiveness are prima facie candidates for actions that not merely fail to add meaning, but also subtract from any meaning one’s life might have had. Supposing, then, that talk of “meaning in life” connotes something good for its own sake that can come in degrees and that is not analytically equivalent to happiness or rightness, what else does it involve?

However, there are nihilist perspectives that question this supposition. According to nihilism , what would make a life meaningful in principle cannot obtain for any of us. The core idea is that for a finite condition to be meaningful, it must obtain its meaning from another condition that has meaning. So, if one’s life is meaningful, it might be so in virtue of being married to a person, who is important. Being finite, the spouse must obtain his or her importance from elsewhere, perhaps from the sort of work he or she does. This work also must obtain its meaning by being related to something else that is meaningful, and so on. A regress on meaningful conditions is present, and the suggestion is that the regress can terminate only in something so all-encompassing that it need not go beyond itself to obtain meaning from anything else.

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And as we previously mentioned, finding a passion is one way to develop meaning. Vallerand provides an excellent summary of the role that motivation plays in developing passion and how passion leads to a meaningful life.

how to create meaning in life

Goal direction and mattering are both motivational components and synonymous with purpose and significance, respectively. The third component – one’s life making sense – is a cognitive component, akin to significance. Although ‘meaningfulness’ is often confounded with other constructs such as purpose, coherence, and happiness, some researchers argue that these constructs are not interchangeable, but instead form a complex relationship and exist separately.

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The French philosopher Albert Camus asserts that the absurdity of the human condition is that people search for external values and meaning in a world which has none and is indifferent to them. Kantianism is a philosophy based on the ethical, epistemological, and metaphysical works of Immanuel Kant. Kant is known for his deontological theory where there is a single moral obligation, the “Categorical Imperative”, derived from the concept of duty. Kantians believe all actions are performed in accordance with some underlying maxim or principle, and for actions to be ethical, they must adhere to the categorical imperative. The Epicurean meaning of life rejects immortality and mysticism; there is a soul, but it is as mortal as the body. There is no afterlife, yet, one need not fear death, because “Death is nothing to us; for that which is dissolved, is without sensation, and that which lacks sensation is nothing to us.”

how to create meaning in life

Philosophy is often unhelpful, offering abstract ideas such as Aristotle’s human function or Kant’s “highest good” that are hard to comprehend, let alone put into action. Michelle Shahbazyan is the Founder of The LA Life Coach, a concierge life, family, and career coaching service based in Los Angeles, California. She has over 10 years of experience with life coaching, consulting, motivational speaking, and matchmaking. She has a BA in Applied Psychology and an MS in Building Construction and Technology Management from Georgia Tech University, and a MA in Psychology with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy from Phillips Graduate University. From spraining your ankle to losing a loved one, life’s challenges can help you become a more compassionate person. For instance, if you’ve been through a breakup, you’ll be able to help a friend if their relationship ends. Do your best to let go of feelings of shame or regret when a goal doesn’t pan out the way you planned.

Reframing your mindset

Arguably, though, the systematic search for unity is too nascent to be able to draw a firm conclusion about whether it is available. Focusing on meaning in life, it is quite common to maintain that it is conceptually something good for its own sake or, relatedly, something that provides a basic reason for action . There are a few who have recently suggested otherwise, maintaining that there can be neutral or even undesirable https://ecosoberhouse.com/ kinds of meaning in a person’s life (e.g., Mawson 2016, 90, 193; Thomas 2018, 291, 294). However, these are outliers, with most analytic philosophers, and presumably laypeople, instead wanting to know when an individual’s life exhibits a certain kind of final value (or non-instrumental reason for action). From the vastness of the universe to the breadth of time, some things in life are beyond comprehension.

What does to bring about mean?

Definition of bring about

transitive verb. : to cause to take place : effect.

The absolute truths you suggest are concepts at best that in themselves will vary. Just because at this point in time, you believe in an absolute through, doesn’t mean it wont be invalidated like the previous examples. Producing good art does not feel like a choice from among options, it feels like an expression of something internal, which is one way of identifying power. There are many ways of interpreting ‘making your own meaning in life’. Psychedelicists simplify the framing into Choose your delusion. Sartre’s account is actually quite similar to Heidegger’s in this respect since for Heidegger the meaning of our lives is that we die. Thus, the challenge is that we need to accept that and still live.

2. Soul-centered Views

However, our conflicts about taste are not arbitrary or random, they are grounded in the fact that the kinds of messages we benefit from being exposed to will vary depending upon what is tentative and under threat in our own lives. We get fussy because objects are, in their own ways, all hugely eloquent. Two chairs that perform much the same physical role can articulate entirely different visions of life. Yet it can be hugely helpful and very redemptive to catch up with these people, with a one-on-one dinner, a walk in the woods or the occasional email. These friends function as conduits to earlier versions of ourselves that are inaccessible day-to-day but contain hugely important insights. In the company of an old friend, we can take stock of the journey we have travelled.

how to create meaning in life

Motivation is useful for activities that are considered dull (e.g., washing the dishes), whereas passion is the driving force for activities that have significance for us.

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To obtain focus, it tends to discuss books, influential essays, and more recent works, and it leaves aside contributions from other philosophical traditions and from non-philosophical fields (e.g., psychology or literature). This survey’s central aim is to acquaint the reader with current analytic approaches to life’s meaning, sketching major debates and pointing out neglected topics that merit further consideration. If you can’t shake feelings of emptiness or doubts about finding meaning in life, think about talking to a counselor. Life can be tough, and there’s no reason to be ashamed or afraid to sort things out with someone who’s trained to help. When viewed in isolation, or up close, losing a loved one, being abused, or experiencing a serious illness can make life seem meaningless.

What do you call someone higher than you?

Superior. Anyone who is higher up than you in an organisation can be referred to as your superior.

Supposing there are two bearers of meaning in a life, important questions arise. A second argument for the view that life would be meaningless without a soul is that it is necessary for justice to be done, which, in turn, is necessary for a meaningful life. Life seems nonsensical when the wicked flourish and the righteous suffer, at least supposing there is no other world in which these injustices will be rectified, whether by God or a Karmic force. Something like how to create meaning in life this argument can be found in Ecclesiastes, and it continues to be defended (e.g., Davis 1987; Craig 1994). It is important to note that supernaturalism, a claim that God would confer meaning on a life, is logically distinct from theism, the claim that God exists. Although most who hold supernaturalism also hold theism, one could accept the former without the latter , committing one to the view that life is meaningless or at least lacks substantial meaning.