What's The Meaning of Life? It's Creating Your Own Meaning
If there is one fundamental truth to human life, it’s that all human beings want to be happy.
For a lot of us, answering the age-old question of ‘what is the meaning of life’ can lead us to the path we’d be happy to walk on.
But finding your purpose in life is subjective to each person; how you find it, what experiences you go through, right down to the emotions you experience during this journey will all be unique to your story.
There are those who will find happiness in material wealth and an extravagant lifestyle, and then there are those who will be utterly content living a humble life with little to no material possession.
But you could also find that someone who has all the material wealth doesn’t truly feel fulfilled, and gives it up for a simpler life, as illustrated in Robin Sharma’s The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, where the main character - Julian Mantle - gave up his life as a wealthy and famous lawyer to find his own fulfilling purpose in life.
The opposite can also be true; you could have someone who lived a very simple life, but then through lottery, inheritance, or sheer luck, they find themselves rolling in the dough.
Whether this is a good or bad impact on their life is also subjective.
See that’s the whole point, finding your purpose in life is a subjective process, formed out of your memories, thoughts, habits, emotional responses; everything.
You know what else is subjective? Your entire freaking reality!
How you view life has a direct correlation to how you think about life.
If you constantly watch the news, there’s a good chance you’re subscribing to the notion that life is pretty bad right now, what with the constant horrible events going on.
But the evidence says that we’re in the safest and most peaceful time of human existence.
See it’s not the news you’re watching, but the way it influences your thoughts that make you view the world with dark and grim glasses.
And it isn’t as if the news companies don’t know this - they do - but they also know tragedy sells more - gets more views and clicks - than light and happy news.
There are countless articles talking about why watching the news is bad for you, and funnily enough, some of these are written or published by the exact same news companies that are influencing that negative view you have of life!
Because you see so much tragedy on the news, that impacts how you view the world overall in a negative light.
Another way I can illustrate my point is to go back to my earlier example of the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari; Julian Mantle decides to leave behind his lavish life after he suffers a stroke in the middle of a courtroom.
This led him to reevaluate his life; his subjective experience of almost dying made him consider whether or not he’s happy on the path he’s on.
That’s another thing, your purpose can change, evolve, flip 180 degrees; it’s all a matter of how you think about life - how you think about the meaning of your life - and the events that go on within it.
Here’s another example, but on the positive side:
If you’re the type of person who regularly spends time in nature, chances are you’re happier than most people.
That’s because nature is beautiful, and there is a deep understanding within our minds of the relaxing and pleasurable aesthetic provided to us when you spend time in nature.
That isn’t even to get into all the other benefits of spending time in the natural world.
This proves my point; what you focus on becomes fuel for your view on life.
If you focus on the tragedy, you’ll be stuck with a subjective reality that life is horrible.
If you focus on the good, you’ll have a subjective reality that sees the positive in life.
One brings you down, one lifts you up.
One give you the drive and power to change yourself and your environment.
One keeps you locked, shackled and unmotivated to do anything impactful for yourself or anything around you.
We’re not saying to live in your own happy bubble, unaware of the atrocities of life.
We’re saying don’t live in a miserable bubble, unaware of the goodness and beauty in life.
The scientific term for this is experience-dependent neuroplasticity.
What Does This Tell Me About Finding My Purpose In Life?
Hopefully, it will explain a lot for you, give you more tools of understanding to improve your life.
It should help you understand that you already have meaning in your life; the subjective reality you’re choosing to live.
If you spend most of your time watching Netflix and eating junk food, that’s what you do. That’s the meaning you’ve given your subjective reality.
If you spend your time traveling the world, exploring different cultures, speaking to people of different mindsets, then that’s the meaning you've given your subjective reality.
What you choose to do is your story, whether that has a big or small impact on your or the world depends on what you decide your subjective reality should be.
Julius Caesar was a larger-than-life figure; he carefully planned out his appearances, he took great thought to formulate his words and actions.
He shaped his reality to be someone that everyone looks upon with awe and wonder.
Another example that will also give you a good reason to recognize that this is a wonderful time to be alive, is to remember that for most of human history the lives of women, people of color, the mentally disabled, and anyone who was different, was subject to the reality of those in power.
But throughout history there were those who refused to accept other’s forced reality; Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin was one such person.
In 1831 she left her husband and children to head to Paris; she wished to become an author.
Of course back then women only wrote as a hobby, not as a career choice. The only career available to women was that of marriage and baby making!
To no surprise, all the publishers she went to turned her down, that’s the way things were, unfortunately...
But Aurore was not willing to accept that reality, it was subjective after all, so she went about making her own reality, one that allowed her to become a famous author.
She created a new identity for herself - a male identity - and with the pseudonym, George Sand became a famous author and was involved with many of the greatest contemporaries of that time including composer Frédéric Chopin.
In today’s world, it’s unlikely you’d have to go as far as Aurore, but you can be inspired by her. She refused to accept the social norm - the widely accepted reality that said women can’t be authors in 1800’s France.
If she could do that in a time where women had so little rights in comparison to today, what is stopping you from changing your reality to find your purpose in life?
It's like we always say; You Are Not Helpless. You can get up and change your life for the better if you, and if you need help, that's okay!
There are people out there willing to help, we know that because we're some of those people.
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