Be honest. You’ve probably caught yourself wondering what the meaning of life is. You may have even gone as far as to Google it or read books about it.
In any case, it’s the question at the back of all our minds and one of the most difficult to answer.
In this article, we’re going to try and narrow down what the meaning of life is and how we can use this information to live a more meaningful experience on this planet.
Why are we obsessed with looking for the meaning of life?
In a word – purpose. We are birthed into this world knowing nothing and struggle to find our way through life until the end. But between the start and end of life, we want to know what our purpose is on this planet and how we can make our days count.
And the way we do this is by trying to work out what the meaning of life is. Why do we exist, and what can we do to make the best of our time? By answering the question, we believe we’ll find peace with who we are and the fact we have an expiration date.
So, it’s time for the big question.
What is the meaning of life?
I wish I could tell you there is a specific meaning of life, but the truth is there isn’t. It really depends on your outlook on life and the things you find important.
You can look at this in two ways. The first is pretty straightforward – the meaning of life lies in the development of the universe. Understand that, and you’ll understand why we exist.
But that’s not where we want to focus. So instead, we’re going to focus on the second approach to the meaning of life – ourselves and our lived experiences. Because you see, the meaning of life isn’t exactly universal; it’s a personal experience with unique factors.
For example, if you took a poll of 1000 people and asked them what matters most in life, they’ll come up with a range of answers – money, family, education, friends, work.
But when you delve deeper, you see a common theme.
And that is that the meaning of life is found through communication, curiosity, and enjoyment. So let’s take a closer look at these three components.
Communication is how we discover and understand those around us, and in doing so, ourselves. We often think of communication as just words, but it goes far deeper than this.
Communication is found in the way we look at each other, the subtle touches between lovers, the comfortable silences between friends, the carefree dancing on a fun night out. And every single interaction and communication is a chance to learn more about life.
You see, we’re limited to seeing the world through our own eyes. We all have a unique personality and set of morals that drive our behaviour and interactions in the world. So when you interact with other people, it’s a fascinating opportunity to see the world through someone else’s eyes. And when you develop meaningful communication, you’ll learn new ways to see and interact with the world around you.
In many areas of life, we’re told to accept the status quo. Maybe your boss tells you you have to do a project because they say so, or a parent tells you to go to bed right now because they say so, or your co-worker tells you not to question the office politics because they say so.
You see where I’m going here, right? Unfortunately, there are many circumstances in life when we are expected to accept things without question. And when we don’t ask questions, we don’t learn.
But there is something beautiful when you start asking (respectful) questions. You learn about new cultures. You discover more about history or science. You learn new skills. Curiosity opens doors for you that you never knew existed.
And so, if living a meaningful life is important to you, curiosity is one of the major focuses you should have.
Why would we have emotions if we shouldn’t use them, right?
When you find enjoyment in your life, you find the strength and energy to keep going. It’s the glue that holds together communication and curiosity to create the tri-factor of the meaning of life.
After all, if something feels horrible to do and isn’t adding anything to your life, why would you continue doing it?
And, of course, we all find enjoyment in different ways. Some people enjoy adrenaline-fuelled adventures, while others prefer a chill night in with loved ones. Whatever makes you happy, that’s the meaning of your life.
And if you’re not sure what that is yet, it’s up to you to get out there and find it!
Five ways you can live a more meaningful life
So now we have the core components that make up the meaning of life; how can you harness them to create a life that feels meaningful to you?
Connect with strangers
We’ve discussed how important communication is to learn more about the world around us. And if we only speak to the same two or three people we are closest to, we’ll never expand our personal “universe.”
That’s why it’s important to find opportunities to connect with new people whenever possible. And I think it’s fair to say that it’s much easier these days than it was fifty years ago thanks to the internet.
And I know it can be difficult as adults to connect with new people, so here are a few things you can do to help meet new people and expand your knowledge base:
- Join a class for a hobby you enjoy
- Download an app for meeting people
- Strike up conversations with people in your office that you haven’t talked to before (or through chat if you are currently working remotely)
- Talk to new people at a party
- Chat with the person behind you in the queue for the tills at the shop
- Ask your friends to introduce you to some of their friends
Whatever your circumstances, there are always ways to connect with strangers.
Find a good work-life balance
It’s no secret that our society has become extremely work-orientated. As a result, when it comes to a list of priorities, work tends to come top (even if not by choice).
Luckily, workplaces are finally getting hip to this idea and trialling initiatives such as the 4-day work week or offering paid sabbaticals.
But the majority of workplaces are nowhere near this and continue to place extreme stress on their employees. So now it’s up to you to take back control of that balance.
Place hard boundaries on your work hours and do not feel manipulated to do more than your fair share. Also, make sure you schedule time for socialising, exercise, and self-care.
Forget what you have been taught. Asking questions is a critical part of life.
So if you have a question? Ask it. Even if you think it’s not a big deal, it’s vital to feed your curiosity.
So ask people questions about themselves, ask Google questions about facts (try to stick to reputable sources for answers, though!) and when something asks you to do something that doesn’t feel right, question it!
Discover new places
Whatever your financial status, there are always ways to discover new places.
Whether it’s exploring the towns around your own or taking a holiday to a new country, there are plenty of opportunities to discover a new place.
When you do this, you feed your curiosity by finding out more about the place, communicating with the locals, and hopefully, enjoying a lovely trip.
There’s a famous saying:
“there’s no growth in the comfort zone, and there’s no comfort in the growth zone." If you want to learn more about life, you need to actually get out there and experience it.
Now, I realise it’s much easier said than done, especially if you suffer from mental illnesses like anxiety or depression. But when you push yourself to try new things, life will surprise you in exciting ways.
Start small and make it a habit to seek discomfort!
So there you have it! The meaning of life. Or, at the very least, how you can discover what the meaning of life is to you.
When we open our minds to the world around us, we learn to see it in a new way which in turn shapes who we are as people and gives us purpose in our lives.
So take our advice and look for opportunities to bring more communication, curiosity, and enjoyment into your life – you won’t be disappointed!
We’re interested to know what the meaning of life is to you. So let us know in the comments down below!