Strive for a Meaningful Life
It can be hard to understand what it means to live a purposeful life. In this read, I present what a meaningful life looks like and why it is a good life.
To have a complete view of my train of thought, I strongly advise reading the article below first. In that article, I present the argument as to why striving for happiness leads to a dead-end and living in satisfaction is a better way to live.
Now in this article, I seek to address the topic of striving for a meaningful life. When we consider life and all it has to offer, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the subject of meaning. The idea of living a purposeful life suggests that there is a reason for our existence. However, with all the potential reasons that it could be, it makes it hard to believe that we are here for only one of them.
Nevertheless, meaning is something we all pursue. No one is separate from this constant pursuit for meaning in our lives. Not even the materialist who believes that there is no purpose to anything, and the universe is a result of nothing but randomness. At the end of our lives, we seek to have meant something or done something meaningful.
In one way or another, we all desire to bring about some meaning to ourselves and others. After all, it lets us know that our lives were worth something. Even better, it brings us fulfilment knowing that we could make a difference in our society.
A meaningful life may not bring as much pleasure as pursuing a happy one. However, just like satisfaction, it can bring about a constant in your life that can lead to a life well-lived. Striving for meaning is not an easy endeavour, and it is a pursuit that may lead you to discomfort. But I can assure you that your why will bring about levels of joy that are matched with the heights of pleasure.
The Reason for Having a Reason
To understand the journey to a meaningful life, we must first understand what that means. Unfortunately, I have seen a rise in influential individuals telling people that they do not need a purpose for life. Recently, I read an article arguing it is possible to live a happy life without it and that people should avoid the question.
Since we have already dealt with this idea of a happy life, I will not bring it up again. But I would like to clarify that by simply avoiding the question, what is your purpose? You do not get rid of your impulse to find one.
We are all wired to have a reason for what we do. If not, the world would fall to pieces because nothing would be worth anything. Living a meaningful life means having an underlying reason behind the actions you take.
To make that definition come to life, here are a few examples:
- You are hungry (your reason), so you get up and make some food.
- You are thirsty (your reason), so you drink some water.
You can see how having a reason for doing things makes the action worthwhile. If you were not hungry, why would you make food? If you were not thirsty, why would you get up and drink some water? Therefore, actions are only valuable because they have a reason behind them.
An action with no reason behind it makes the action void. And this is the question that faces us on a deeper level. We need to live a meaningful life because our meaning is the reason behind our living. Without it, our living is void, and the actions we take make no difference.
So no, we can not avoid this question. And yes, there is a very good reason for having a reason. Without one, our lives become wasteful. There would be no need to self-reflect, have happy experiences, or do anything at all if we did not have a reason for doing so.
Therefore, whether conscious of it or not, everyone alive today has a reason to be alive. Their reason for living could be something they have defined or one that is unconscious. However, we have to think about what meaning’s in life bring us fulfilment?
Striving for a Meaningful Life
To strive for a meaningful life means to act coherently to the purpose you have defined for yourself. It means all your actions point towards a meaning of life you seek to have on your deathbed.
- What do you want to be remembered for?
- How do you wish to add value to others?
- Where do you believe you belong in society?
Are all questions of meaning? We can not physically quantify the value of a meaningful life, but we can know when someone has lived one.
One of the first indicators of a meaningful life is one that has values. Purposeful individuals are rooted in values. And these values do not exist just for their life, but for the lives of many after them. Defining your life by a set of values gives you a reason for the actions you make.
These values act as a stick in the ground and an immovable force in one’s life. These are things that no fact, authority or person in the individual’s life can change. They are the very things that they live by, and it is through the pursuit of these values they become better.
The second indicator of a meaningful life is one that has goals. These goals are linked to their values, and their striving towards them refines their character. The attainment of the goal is not where the meaning is found, but it is in the journey towards it. Through this journey, the person can portray their values and act in a way that highlights their best selves.
Why a Meaningful Life is a Better One
It is not too rare to have moments in life where our events seem to have no meaning at all. In moments of pain and suffering, it is often a courageous act to continue living. For life, whether we like it or not, will bring about periods of immense joy and suffering.
If we are not to be tossed and overcome by these tribulations, we must have constant hope in our lives. It is a hope that must be stronger than the suffering we face throughout life.
To have something to live for (a meaning), we can find something deeper in our sufferings. So that, when all things are gone, and we are alone, we still have a reason to live. That reason is what we must cling to when life brings about events that seem worthy enough to end our own lives.
Living a meaningful life may not bring the heights of pleasure that pursuing a happy one will, but it will give you an anchor. That anchor will keep your life steadfast and strong against the winds and rain of life. It is through this anchor we can find a meaning for life’s sufferings.
A meaningful life is a better one not because it brings about happiness but because it motivates us to keep on living. For this reason, we can have a deeper joy in our good times, and greater resilience in our times of distraught.
I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.