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We’re amazed by the conversation, wish it could happen more often and yet are at a loss as to how to engineer a more regularly satisfying social life. Or we may go on a holiday with our family which, for once, works well, but we don’t drill into the experience and the next time around, end up on a break marred by the usual litany of arguments and dissatisfactions. At work, a specific project may play to our strengths, but we’re unable to decode quite why and are later moved to another department where we never again exert ourselves with comparable creativity.

A common example for many people of this “automatic pilot” mode is driving or walking the same route repeatedly, and barely noticing what they are passing. But this automatic pilot mode often shows up in the many routines of our days.

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Meaning can be found in your relationships with loved ones, in your career, your hobbies, within your community, and within yourself. It can be something small like taking care of your houseplants or something bigger like running your own business. Don’t allow life to drag you along for the ride, take charge by directing your life onto a path that aligns with you. That’s because each how to create meaning in life of us has a different hierarchy of values and priorities, and different ideas about what is most important. We’re all spectators and supporters of the same team. The rest of life is suspended; the CFO is cheering alongside the stay-at-home father; the timid individual’s favourite midfielder makes a glorious, fearless comeback; the corporate chieftain’s beloved team is crushed.

how to create meaning in life

Make sure to focus on relationships that make you feel like you ‘belong’ (Lambert et al., 2013), where you feel like you fit in with the members of that group, and where there is group identification. These questions are also repackaged in popular psychology and leadership self-help books, such as Find Your Why (Sinek, Mead, & Docker, 2017) and How to Find Your Passion and Purpose . At some stage of our time on Earth, we might wonder about the meaning of our life.

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Make your life more meaningful by working on your legacy. You don’t have to have a job that involves saving lives, and you don’t have to do something incredibly heroic, in order to have a meaningful life. You can help to make this world a better place–thereby making your life meaningful–in small ways. You can make your life more meaningful by striving to achieve goals that allow you to express who you are. If you find a deficit in a particular area of meaning, search for it in a productive way. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure out how to do it on your own—philosophical and religious traditions have been doing exactly that for millennia.

But then – in the pages of a story – we meet someone, perhaps she is very beautiful, tender, sensitive, young and dying; and we weep for her and all the cruelty and injustice of the world. Our emotional muscles are exercised and their strength rendered newly available for our lives. ‘Creativity’ is one of the most prestigious ideas of modern times and as a result, we often want to feel creative while lamenting that our lives don’t give us sufficient opportunities to be so. But this https://ecosoberhouse.com/ impression may come down to an unfairly inflated and unhelpfully skewed notion of what creativity actually involves. We are far too focused on creativity’s dramatic high points within a narrow, clichéd band of activities, like the writing of a prize-winning novel or the making a film that receives accolades at Cannes or Berlin. By this standard, almost no one can be creative and creativity must remain an elite and even freakish anomaly entirely disconnected from ordinary life.


Try to notice how those values might bring more meaning to your life today and your future. For example, if honesty is one of your core values, asking yourself what you might do to move in line with honesty and what different actions you can take in the future that are consistent with honesty can give you new directions. Values might sound really abstract to you but try to think about values as guiding principles and source of motivation for our behaviours.

“War, eco-anxiety, pandemics, and political polarization can all disrupt our sense of meaning,” he pointed out. For many, belief in a higher power also provides an underlying, primary cause for natural phenomena — an origin story — and thus a primordial meaning. There is no one else out there exactly like you, and when you hide your true personality, you deprive the world of a unique, unrepeatable individual. Compassion and empathy are the great connectors, so make sure they have a role in your life. Love the people in your life, and that love will not go unreciprocated.

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Making strangers happy is deeply enjoyable, and indeed a great deal easier than trying to make oneself or one’s immediate loved ones content. We should not let politics be kidnapped by people with an impoverished sense of what the collective good might be.

You could theoretically derive meaning from other endeavors, like relationships, volunteer work, travel, or creative activities, to name just a few. It may also be that the things you already do really are meaningful, and that you’re not valuing them sufficiently because you’re focused on a single factor for value. Those who do think meaning can be discerned, however, fall into four groups, according to Thaddeus Metz, writing in the Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy. Some are god-centered and believe only a deity can provide purpose. Others ascribe to a soul-centered view, thinking something of us must continue beyond our lives, an essence after physical existence, which gives life meaning.

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Together, these three components – coherence, purpose, and significance – result in feelings of meaningfulness. Knowing that meaningfulness is derived from three distinct fields, let’s look at ways in which we can find our meaning. Goal direction and mattering are both motivational components and synonymous with purpose and significance, respectively. The third component – one’s life making sense – is a cognitive component, akin to significance. However, the second variation of this question – how we find meaning in life – is psychological and of more interest to us. Here we will summarize the existing psychological research that examines this question and provide you with a starting point on your journey.

how to create meaning in life

A lack of selfishness can turn us, slowly, into highly disagreeable as well as ineffective people. We are at risk because we fail to distinguish between good and bad versions of selfishness. Bad selfishness, on the other hand, operates with no greater end in view and with no higher motive in mind. We’re not declining to help so as to marshal our resources to offer others a greater gift down the line; we just can’t be bothered. A sheep doesn’t know about our feelings of jealousy, it has no interest in our humiliation and bitterness around a colleague; it has never emailed. On a walk in the hills, it simply ambles towards the path we’re on and looks curiously at us, then takes a lazy mouthful of grass, chewing from the side of his mouth as though it were gum.

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