The Life Purpose Equation: How to Find Your Purpose and Create Meaning For Yourself

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.

What brought it about meaning?

To bring something about means to cause it to happen.

The sixth-century Chinese sage Lao Tzu—who is said to have dictated the Tao Te Ching before escaping civilization for solitude in the mountains—believed the universe supplies our value. In the following paragraphs, I have discussed some exercises and tips around how to build more meaning in life through values, strengths, purpose, goals, significance, and sense of belonging and serving. Given the positive impact that meaning has on our lives, we might wonder whether it is possible to develop and foster meaning.

Religious perspectives

Devotion and subservience to God were largely replaced by notions of inalienable natural rights and the potentialities of reason, and universal ideals of love and compassion gave way to civic notions of freedom, equality, and citizenship. The meaning of life changed as well, focusing less on humankind’s relationship to God and more on the relationship between individuals and their society.

While that may sound coy, many philosophers offer similar responses, although few as pithy. Philosopher Richard Taylor proposes that efforts and accomplishments aren’t what make life matter, writing in the 1970 book Good and Evil, “the day was sufficient to itself, and so was the life.” In other words, because we live, life matters. Let’s talk about burnout—that physical-emotional feeling that you can’t carry on with your job for one more Zoom call without losing your mind—and how leaders can prevent it. While I do not discount the value of this selfless work, the truth is that we can give meaning to our life through our own power to define what is important to us.

Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

If you’re in the early stages of developing a new hobby, it might help to express what you enjoy about the hobby. Consider writing a journal entry about what you enjoyed or tell your partner/friends/family members about your new hobby. In fact, many older adults live incredibly long, busy lives, and their positive psychological profiles act as a buttress against illness, loneliness, and depression. There is vast evidence that centenarians have very positive attitudes and psychological traits and few negative personality traits. We may lose our parents, our partners, face layoffs, or develop an illness. The stereotypical concept of an older adult is of someone who is frail and requires care; however, older age is not synonymous with a less meaningful or valuable life. Experimental laboratory studies have demonstrated a temporal relationship between positive mood and sense of meaning.

how to create meaning in life

Furthermore, in a relative world no one could ever give judgment or justify any action, because what is right or wrong is decided by the individual. Taoists believe all things were originally from Taiji and Tao, and the meaning in life for the adherents is to realize the temporal nature of the existence.

Mental Health

In Japanese culture, to find meaning and purpose in life is to find one’sikigai. We have a fantastic and in-depth exercise called Identifying Your Ikigai, which takes you through a series of steps to assess and help how to create meaning in life you find your fulfilling meaning in life. These findings also tie in with the negative impact of ostracism on the sense of meaning . If you feel like you don’t belong, then you have a lower sense of meaningfulness.

how to create meaning in life

In contrast to error-theoretic arguments for nihilism, there are rationales for it accepting that objective values exist but denying that our lives can ever exhibit or promote them so as to obtain meaning. One version of this approach maintains that, for our lives to matter, we must be in a position to add objective value to the world, which we are not since the objective value of the world is already infinite . The key premises for this view are that every bit of space-time have some positive value, that these values can be added up, and that space is infinite. If the physical world at present contains an infinite degree of value, nothing we do can make a difference in terms of meaning, for infinity plus any amount of value remains infinity. One way to question this argument, beyond doubting the value of space-time or stars, is to suggest that, even if one cannot add to the value of the universe, meaning plausibly comes from being thesource of certain values.

Abrahamic religions

There exists, to use Henry Sidgwick’s influential phrase, the “point of view of the universe,” that is, the standpoint that considers a human being’s life in relation to all times and all places. When one takes up this most external standpoint and views one’s puny impact on the world, little of one’s life appears to matter. What one does in a certain society on Earth over 75 years or so just does not amount to much, when considering the billions of temporal years and billions of light-years that make up space-time. If everyone can create „meaning“ based on personal preference not some philosophical idea it will amount to contradiction.

how to create meaning in life