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Last Updated on September 23, 2022

What Is the Meaning of Life? A Guide to Living a Meaningful Life

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What Is the Meaning of Life? A Guide to Living a Meaningful Life

What is life about? What is the meaning of life? Why do we exist?

Neither this article, nor any other one, can deliver a tangible solution to the curious case of life. And that’s okay!

The truth is, part of what makes the meaning of life so alluring is its engrossing diversity, mystery, and intangibility. However, it’s important to point out that the lack of a solid answer doesn’t mean it’s not worth looking for one.

The search for what life is about is a journey that each individual person must embark on for themselves. Fortunately, there are many different behaviors, ideals, and actions that humans have found over the centuries that can be excellent methods to draw us towards that final, inner conclusion of why we exist.

What is the Meaning of Life?

This age-old question is like a shadow that follows you in every stage of your life, and although some of the world’s brightest minds have answered this question, you may still be left wondering what the meaning of life truly is.

There is no right or wrong answer to what is life about – it simply is what you make of it.

Meaning is not only about transcending the self, but also about transcending the present moment. While happiness is an emotion felt in the here and now, it ultimately fades away, just as all emotions do. The amount of time people report feeling good or bad correlates with happiness, but not at all with meaning.

The Dimensions of Life Meaning

According to a study, you can find the meaning in your life by assessing three dimensions of your life:[1]

1. Purpose

This refers to the existence of your aims and goals. It is guided by the belief that you are in this world to do something.

Having purpose and meaning in life increases overall well-being and life satisfaction, improves mental and physical health, enhances resiliency, enhances self-esteem, and decreases the chances of depression.

If you need help reflecting, try writing down 5 things that you believe are the essence of how you want to live life. This can include things like “family time,” or “sing every day.” It could also include more complex ideas, like “honesty” and “simplicity.”

2. Coherence

This involves how events in your life fit together. It is assumed that life is full of surprises and all the things that happen in your life did not happen by chance.

Coherence suggests that you should have faith that in time, you will make sense of everything that has happened in your past.

3. Significance

Significance is the inherent value of your life. People live different lives. This point reassures you that your life matters, you are worth living, and you are living a meaningful life.

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You have significance and the world will not be the same if you didn’t exist.

Stop Going on a Wild Goose Chase

Ironically, the single-minded pursuit of happiness is leaving people less happy.

“It is the very pursuit of happiness, that thwarts happiness” – Viktor Frankl, famous Austrian neurologist and Holocaust survivor

Look at the statement “There is more to life than ______.”

Have you answered it meaningfully?

If you’ve read on this far, and are now wondering how to take that first step to figuring out how to live a meaningful life, fret not. Everything that you can do and accomplish in life are bound by the Life Multipliers.

Life Multipliers are the true essentials needed to achieve excellence. They’ll put you on a path that gives great meaning and satisfaction in life.

On it’s own, each skill is unique and can help you through different stages of life, or problems. But as a whole set, these 8 Life Multipliers will give you full transformation over any situation.

8 Life Multipliers to Help You Achieve

1. Self-Empowerment

This refers to sustainable motivation and confidence about what you want to achieve. It means being clear about your purpose and knowing how to stay motivated during adversity.

2. Self-Control

With self-control, you can consistently set clear goals and follow through your plan. It means knowing how to build constructive habits and routines that support your goals.

3. Renewable Vitality

A person with renewable vitality is physically fit and healthy. They exercise regularly, eat well, and know how to look after themselves.

4. Emotional Mastery

A person with emotional mastery can manage and change the way they feel and cope with situations. They are also able to reframe negativity into positive actions.

5. Conscious Communication

With conscious communication, you understand others’ ideas and are able to express and deliver your own thoughts and feelings clearly.

6. Smart Focus

With smart focus, you’re able to get things done in the most effective and efficient manner. You’ll know how to take control of your time and energy by working smart.

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Rather than chasing 3 or 4 goals and making very little progress on them, place all of your energy on one thing – focus. Not only will you alleviate some of the stress associated with trying to juggle so many tasks, but you will also be much more successful.

7. Learning and Adaptability

With learning and adaptability, you can quickly master any knowledge and skill. You’re also able to respond to change swiftly and never stop growing.

8. Constructive Thinking

With constructive thinking, you have a clear mind. You know how to utilize your brain power to solve problems and be creative.

9 Simple Ways to Find Out What Life is About

There are many different behaviors, ideals, and actions that humans have found over the centuries that can be excellent methods to draw us towards that final, inner conclusion of why we exist.

Here are a handful of ways to kickstart the adventure of finding out just what life is really about:

1. Love People

One of the best ways to find the meaning of life through love is to practice connecting with our families. From parents and siblings to a spouse and children, loving our family is a powerful way to grow in our knowledge and appreciation of what life has to offer.

A spouse, children, friends, life partners, and strong platonic relationships provide a unique and powerful feeling that is difficult to find anywhere else. Relationships can help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth, give you an opportunity to share positive experiences, provide emotional support and allow you to support others.[2]

2. Detox from Technology and Gain Perspective

Modern life is fraught with dangerously addicting distractions like social media, which can take up gobs of time without us even realizing it. Once you’ve managed to disconnect from those devices and social profiles, it’s important to take that time and energy and redirect it towards a healthier mindset.

Spend time meditating, praying, and even simply dwelling on an attitude of gratefulness. Find things that you’re thankful for and make an effort to express appreciation for what you have on a regular basis (you know, rather than envying others as we scroll through our Facebook feeds).

Check out this video to learn more:

3. Look for Meaningful Ways to Give Back

If you want to find out more about life, consider genuinely giving back to the world around you. Don’t just scrounge up your extra cash and give it to a cause someone else is passionate about.

Find out where your own passions are. What needs and hurts in the world get your heart racing and your mind searching for a solution?

Find those, then invest yourself. Give until it hurts. The results are exhilarating. This article can help you: How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life

4. Try a Hobby

Find a hobby that indulges your interests and simultaneously challenges your skills. Dive into a pursuit that has always intrigued or fascinated you, but you’ve never had the time to explore on your own.

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Practice a new instrument, go fly fishing, try painting, learn a language — the world’s your oyster! This list of 50 low-cost hobbies will inspire you.

According to science, when we take part in enjoyable hobbies, our brain releases chemical messengers called dopamine, which helps us feel happy and pleasure.[3]

5. Overcome Insecurities

Let’s start by stating the obvious: Everyone has insecurities.

Sometimes those insecurities are a bit difficult to pin down and see for what they truly are. One of the best ways to rise above the fears and anxieties of life is to work on your insecurities.

Try to practice mindfulness, look for thought patterns, analyze your behavior, and identify when you’re being influenced by insecurities.

The more you become aware of your own insecurities, the more you’ll be able to rise above them, prevent selfish behavior, and enable yourself to do things that would have been impossible before.

6. Never Stop Learning

Twelve years of structured school (not to mention a mini-career arc through college after that) can leave many of us feeling like we’re done with academics, school, and learning in general. But the truth is, learning should be a lifelong process.

This doesn’t mean you need to manufacture a desire to start reading textbooks in order to see what’s the meaning of life. It’s simply an encouragement to start to take an interest in the world around you.

Investigate, probe, and learn more about things that catch your interest, and your passion for learning will start to grow on its own before long.

7. Go Minimalist

If you take small steps like avoiding purchasing unnecessary new things, storing seasonal items, and generally decluttering, you can ease into a minimalist mindset without much trouble.

8. Travel

You saw this one coming, right? Those that seriously travel tend to gain a deeper perspective of life as a whole. The trick is, though, you can’t go into your travels as a fanny pack-touting tourist that’s only interested in “seeing the sights” and hitting up the pristine beaches.

Here’s a good litmus test for you: if you expect everyone to talk to you in your native language as you travel, you’re not in the right headspace.

If you take the time to travel, make sure to do so with the specific purpose of seeing the world outside of your own comfort zone.

How are other cultures different from your own? How do other geographic areas affect how people live? What does a developing or war-torn country truly look like? If you set out with this perspective, you’re much more likely to have your heart and mind open in ways you never could have expected.

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9. Try to Be More Aware

Finally, we have one last, gigantic call to action: Be more aware.

If a person can truly foster the ability to pay attention to everything around them, they develop the ability to break free from the self-centered mindset that all humans naturally slip into when we’re not paying attention.

Just to clarify, this isn’t a call not to pay attention to your own thoughts and needs. They’re important too. In fact, the Dalai Lama said,

“One must be compassionate to one’s self before external compassion.”

Whether it’s ourselves at first or others afterward, truly developing the ability to be aware of and empathize with the life that goes on in and around us is a critical part of understanding just why we’re all alive in the first place.

Final Thoughts

The complexities and nuances of a “good life” are so profound that they take an entire lifetime of exploration — both of ourselves and the world around us — to even begin to formulate an answer. And even then, we’ve typically only scratched the surface.

When you break it down, the meaning of life is so deep and valuable, it’s worth chasing, even if the end goal is only to catch a glimpse of the glory that keeps us all moving forward day after day.

TL;DR

Don't have time for the full article? Read this.

What Is the Meaning of Life? A Guide to Living a Meaningful Life

The search for what life is about is a journey that each individual person must embark on for themselves. You can find the meaning in your life by assessing three dimensions of your life: purpose, coherence, and significance.

The 8 Life Multipliers will give you full transformation over any situation; self-empowerment, self-control, renewable vitality, emotional mastery, conscious communication, smart focus, learning, and constructive thinking.

The more you become aware of your own insecurities, the more you’ll be able to rise above them, prevent selfish behavior, and enable yourself to do things that would have been impossible before.

When you break it down, the meaning of life is so deep and valuable, it’s worth chasing even if the end goal is only to catch a glimpse of the glory that keeps us all moving forward day after day.

One of the best ways to find the meaning of life through love is to practice connecting with our families. From parents and siblings to a spouse and children, loving our family is a powerful way to grow in our knowledge and appreciation of what life has to offer.

Featured photo credit: Donald Giannatti via unsplash.com

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Reference

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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