LIFE – TO FIND MEANING, MAKE MEANING.
At some point, we look up at the stars, and it dawns on us, “wow. The universe is a magnificently massive place.” There are 285 galaxies for every single human being on Earth. And our Sun is only one of 100 billion stars in our galaxy. One light year equals 5.88 trillion miles, and the nearest major galaxy is 2.5 million light years away.
If we are nothing but specks of the expanding universe. What is the meaning of our lives? If you find yourself asking these questions, welcome. You have come to the right place.
Follow the steps below, and you will learn how to find meaning in life.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
B&K Mag. presents the seven tips for finding meaning in life:
Be Curious. Open Your Mind to Find Meaning
[dropcap]C[/dropcap]ongratulations! You are looking for the meaning in life. You are curious. And an inquisitive mind is necessary for comprehending life’s meaning. Don’t be afraid to follow interesting ideas. Keep asking questions and do some research. By trusting your curiosity, you will come across the wisdom needed to interpret life’s meaning.
Stay curious. Find meaning. And don’t forget to read.
Two Books To help you find meaning in life
Two of the most important books anyone can recommend you on the search for your life’s meaning are The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The first speaks to the dreamer in you – that creative element of curiosity. The Alchemist inspires you to believe in the beauty of your life’s journey. Coelho nudges you to believe there is power in the intentions of human beings. Read it. You’ll always remember that you are capable of anything.
But how can you enjoy the beauty of your life, if you don’t find meaning in your life?
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Is it enough f for you to know how to find the meaning of life? Or do you plan to act. Are you going to discover the purpose of your life? This second book is the manual which explains how to find meaning in your life. Frankl guides us through the reality of life and how to manage our difficulties. His lessons are crucial.
While you are trying to make meaning of your life, hardships will come. Welcome challenges, they will propel you. If you choose to find a reason why these difficulties may be happening to you. Force yourself to see the possible benefit that may be born from your tribulations. Always adopt an attitude of purpose.
“Nobody of us is spared suffering,” Frankl says. “At one time or another.”
If the Buddhists tell us that being alive means to suffer. Frankl reminds us that our suffering can make us who we ought to be. But we must work at it.
Identify what you are willing to suffer for (Purpose)
The meaning you live for will define you.
“Everybody, in the midst of suffering is given a chance to bare testimony of the human potential at its best. Which is to turn a personal tragedy into a human triumph,” Frankl states.
Want to find meaning in life? Examine your life. We’ll all go through difficulties, only some of us will give sense to our suffering.
As a survivor of the Holocaust, Frankl came face to face with all manner of cruelty. He triumphed with an understanding of life, his responsibility.
To survive the nazi’s, Frankl made meaning of his life. You can too. His reason for outlasting the hardship of the concentration camp was to tell his story. What will yours be?
Answer these questions, and you will begin to identify your purpose: What are you willing to be responsible for? What are you willing to sacrifice and suffer for?
Frankl didn’t let his pain go to waste. Instead, he learned from it and applied his experiences to his ambition, a book which only he could write. Man’s Search for Meaning laid the foundation for Frankl’s purpose – Logotherapy. His legacy.
To find meaning in your life, find what you are willing to suffer for, your purpose. Decide your legacy.
Be Present. The meaning of life is all around you
Want to arrive at the meaning of life? Then get out of your way. Slow down. Stop to smell the roses.
Frankl observed, made mental notes and revealed to us that no circumstance is greater than the man who is experiencing it. Good can always come from evil, no matter how dire things may first seem. Stop to reflect. Then appreciate the moment.
If you are present, you aren’t consumed by all the problems that may come in the future. You aren’t distracted by the regrets of the past. If you are present, you can see life for what it is.
Find a reason for how things happen, to you and others.
Predict how to make the best of all you observe. If you are present, you will begin to notice the story that your life is written out for you. Once you learn to understand the moment, you will understand how to connect the dots.
Frankl went on to invent a form of therapy called Logotherapy about which he stated, “Therapy means ‘healing.’ And Logos means ‘meaning.’ Thus Logotherapy is healing through meaning although this, of course, is an oversimplification.”
Heal your suffering by understanding which positives may come from it. Let go and diligently move towards your imagined future. Suffering is a lesson at the school of life.
“Believe me! The one great lesson to learn, from both types of camps and imprisonment, was that under equal circumstances, those prisoners have the highest chance of survival who were oriented towards the future.”
Give yourself something worth fighting for, something to live for.
“Perhaps some of you have read or come across the book, Man’s Search for Meaning,” Frankl assumes.
More of us should read the book. How is it not mandatory school reading yet?
Care About the World Around You (Compassion)
Fully grasping life won’t be easy. Finding the meaning of life is a journey to a destination of enlightenment. To experience its purpose, you ought to be kind to those around you.
From the very first page, Frankl teaches us how to be human. In the simplest of terms, he offers solutions to your most difficult challenges. Realize that just as you have your troubles, every individual you meet is facing an equally important dilemma. There is meaning in kindness and compassion. They build the character needed to find purpose in life.
Think about it, if it were easy to be respectful, decent and polite, well, then everyone would do it. The lucky few who truly understand the meaning of life are those who can connect with our responsibility to each other.
If the meaning of life is a destination of enlightenment. Then kindness and compassion is the road to meaning.
Change Your Attitude – Become a Person of Meaning
If this list were displayed in order of level of significance then ‘changing one’s attitude’ would be number one. Frankl reminds us, our attitude is our only true freedom.
Start today. Adjust your attitude. Do not sulk at your problems, start to figure them out. Make whatever meaning you want from your life. Choose to see a future you wish to exist.
“You know that I think that survivors only possible – or best guarantee – is by meaning orientations. I put it in context with Prison of War camps and so on.”
“Those who were oriented toward a meaning, toward a meaning to be fulfilled by then in the future, were most likely to survive,” Victor Frankl said.
“It is a finite freedom,” Frankl says. “A limited freedom. That is to say, a human being is never truly free from conditions. Be they of biological or psychological or sociological kind. But the ultimate freedom is always, and remains always, reserved for ourselves. That is the freedom to take a stand. To whatever conditions might confront us. How we react to the unchangeable conditions is up to ourselves.”
Attitude is everything.
“In other words, if we cannot change a situation. We always have the last freedom to change our attitude to that situation,” Frankl hammers home.
“Let me make clear that suffering has a meaning only and solely under the condition that you cannot remove the cause of suffering. What counts is the attitude that you adopt to an unchangeable fate. To an unchangeable situation. You may, and have to change your attitude.”
Think About the Bigger Picture (Your Contribution)
To find the meaning of life is to live life. Every single decision has a consequence. And time is the only resource you will never get back. Remember these two statements and make the best of your life. Think about what you want your life to say about your after you die. The meaning of your life is the legacy you leave to make this world a better place.
Let Go of Expectations – Meaning Will Come to You
Let go. Though you can determine it, life is out of your control. And to find the meaning of life, you have to let go of what you preconceive as its definition. Let go of how you imagine your eureka-life moment.
Trust that meaning will come into your life if your trust in a vision of a meaning to your life.
“The priority goes to actively changing a situation that causes suffering. But the superiority goes to the attitude you heroically adopt when you cannot change the situation. I hope you understand what I am trying to convey to you.”
“What I want to state is, although suicides may not be undertaken out of a feeling of meaninglessness. They might have been overcome if those individuals had had a vision of a meaning to their lives,” Frankl says.
“It is in your hands, this responsibility, what you will be in ten years. And how you will look back and reflect in ten years from now.”
So what is the meaning of life? Whatever you decide it is.
Life is always worth living so long as we can find a reason to keep moving forward. Your willingness to face whatever comes your way makes you stronger so long as you keep your eye on your future while critically engaging your present sufferings.
So from now on, live with a purpose and the right attitude. You will be bringing meaning to your life.