Have you ever had this feeling that there has got to be more to life than what you have seen and experienced? I have. Several times. Frankly, I do not know of a human being that doesn’t have these kinds of feelings from time to time. Even for those who have discovered purpose, this search for meaning is never quenched.
In the previous article, we introduced the subject matter and stated that a life of meaning is central to everything we do. If we, for any reason, lack meaning in life, then sooner or later, disillusionment and dissatisfaction set in. Life is structured in such a way that there will be no fulfilment without meaning.
Of course, we can fill our days from morning to evening with myriads of activities to pass time. In fact, we have invented quite a bit to try and solve the problem of boredom. We are adept at ‘passing time’ even with the most meaningful of activities. However, where there is no meaning in life, these activities end up being useless in the grand scheme of things.
That being said, there has got to be something that we can do whenever those feelings of disillusionment come knocking on the doors of our hearts. These feelings do not discriminate on gender, race, religion, creed, or even financial status. Meaning is just that—meaning. You don’t get it by amassing stuff and by doing things. You get meaning in life by being effective, doing what your life was meant to do.
Before we can look at the several ways that we can inject meaning into our lives, how about we start by looking at what it looks like to have meaning? We have already indicated that some hints of lack of meaning in life include the following:
You just feel like there is more to life than what you have achieved, what you have seen and what you have. This is not about the things you have. It is about the impact you have created. The dissatisfaction easily indicates that there was no meaning in your life or there was a low level of it.
This is your heart feeling unsettled. Things might be OK on the outside but your heart is scanning for something, kind of like there is a void to feel. This feeling is highly spiritual than it is emotional or mental. The disquiet might be there even when you have paid all your bills and taken all the vacations you desire. It indicates a lack of meaning.
You are absolutely restless and unimpressed with the outcome of your life in terms of the direction that you took and the things that you are doing. This feeling comes at different levels, and can even be found in the hearts of those who have a purpose. That’s why a billionaire might feel like they have something missing in their lives. It is the voice of meaning calling on them.
This one is found in many young people at the crossroads of their lives. They are trying to juggle between a career and a life of meaning. Disillusionment is found especially when you have tried to fill your life with activities that give you temporary bliss. Once the stupor wears off, you feel so empty about your life. Unfortunately, in such situations, people feel like the answer is to engage in another timing-filling activity to kill the disillusionment. This is where addictions come in. Lack of meaning can result in severe addiction.
On the same token, it is easy to determine whether your life has a touch of meaning or not.
A life of meaning energizes you. The internal energy cannot even be quantified. You walk around with a spring in your step and full of enthusiasm and life. Every morning, you are grateful for another opportunity to go out there and make things happen. You look forward to the day.
You are totally immersed in work no matter what the nature of that work is because you find meaning in it. You easily skip meals because you are so committed to doing your work. In fact, you enjoy this kind of work even if it is repetitive. It is as if this work is your very life, that without it, you would be unfulfilled.
Productivity is not just about churning results, but about doing what matters. A life of meaning put in practice will see your numbers in productivity increase. Because you have meaning, you are committed to this work. You find easily that the results and the productivity spur you on. People start identifying you with your work and what you are doing.
A life of meaning means that you have projects that you are working on. You are not empty looking to be told what to do. Neither are you just busy for the sake of being busy. You are in fact kind of like a Self-Executive Officer in charge of several projects that are personal or for business.
You have learnt to turn the ideas that ooze out of your life of meaning into tangible projects that you can spend your life on, even if initially the projects are not paying us anything.
At the end of the day, a life of meaning is something that you and I can easily relate to. You don’t need a prophet to tell you whether you have meaning or not. You can easily gauge from the above internal feelings.