What is a meaningful life?
A meaningful life could be pursuing your passion. Pursuing your dream. Living deliberately and intentionally.
Or, developing relationships with people and not things. Living life to the fullest. Matching external actions with internal values. Pursuing the work that we would do if money was not a concern.
In addition, it is helping others and being of service. It is leaving our world in a better place than when we got here.
At the foundation of living a meaningful life is freedom.
Freedom to do the work that matters to us. Freedom to focus on a new hobby, to develop greater health, to build our relationships with our family, friends, and community. The freedom to break free from habits that are holding us back, and keeping us stuck in our same old routines and patterns. Finally, freedom to find the quiet amidst the chaos by being mindful and responding, rather than reacting, to stressful situations.
We trade our time for stuff and it turns out, the stuff, doesn’t make us as happy as we thought.
Although we are often told otherwise, the point is not to always be buying something new. We are often give the message: work more to earn more so we can buy more, and then we will be happy.
Except, most of us are not happy. Eventually we are left with the stark realization that we have traded our most precious commodity, our time, for stuff.
And stuff, we have found, just doesn’t make us happy. Most things really do not add much long term value to our lives.
The secret to a meaningful life.
Is there are secret to a meaningful life? If it is not accumulating stuff or physical things, then what might it be?
- Work that matters to us
- Contributions to society
It is something completely unique and specific to each and every one of us. My vision of a meaningful life is going to sleep every night next to my beautiful wife, knowing that everything I did today completely aligned with my internal values – that my work was meaningful to me. And that I was working towards my dream.
How do you know if you are living a meaningful life? You know it. Just like if you aren’t living a meaningful life – you can probably feel that too.
But you have to be honest with yourself. You have to take time within your day, or your week, to reflect. First of all, does your work bring you joy and happiness? Are you giving the necessary attention and focus to the important relationships in your life? Are you giving back or contributing to your community, or society at large, in a meaningful way? And are you acting true to your internal values?
I would love it if you shared something that you are doing today that adds meaning to your life.