You may be wondering ‘how to live a meaningful life?’ It might be a question that has bothered you over the years or something that recently came up. For all of us, this is something we have faced at one time or another.
With such an important question, it is strange that we have never taught about it. Do you remember having a class at school that taught you about ‘how to live a meaningful life?’ That is something we aren’t taught about, which explains why it is so difficult to think about and come up with the right answer.
Just because it isn’t something you have been taught doesn’t mean there isn’t an easy answer. The answer is simple and comes down to the three P’s.
The 3 P’s and How To live a meaningful life
The 3 P’s are Purpose, Passion and People. These three words are important. When contemplating how to live a meaningful life, it is essential to consider all these them simultaneously.
But how do you explore ideas like purpose and passion? They sound like ideas that you could spend hours researching and trying to make sense of. This is part of it; they are important questions, but knowing they are worth asking is part of discovering what is essential.
Above all, it is vital to keep your integrity; at times, it is easy to get hung up on doing what other people think is best, but only you know what is best.
You want to tell the world what makes you happy and matters; you can’t get what you want if you aren’t honest about what you want.
In the long term, living a meaningful life is about your legacy. Do you want to be remembered as someone afraid to live life? Do you want to write your own story, or do you want the story written for you? Keep in mind that you don’t need to make an enormous impact; sometimes, small things make all the difference to other people. It’s helpful to accept that even if you can’t change the world in a colossal way, small changes still matter.
The Power of Purpose
If you want to know the purpose of life, you need not look any further than biology. Our most apparent purpose is survival. Now looking at life that way may make it seem like life is brutish and boring. But instead, I’d suggest taking this at face value.
The only external purpose you need to worry about is staying alive. With that out of the way, you are free to choose whatever you want.
If the only real purpose of life is survival, worrying about purpose should go away as a concern. Now, this isn’t to say that there is no purpose to life; instead, it is to say that purpose is a choice. That’s right, I said it, the purpose of your life is up to you; it is a choice you must make. You get to decide what purpose is, what it means, and how you will make it a part of your life.
I’d suspect that some people would rather be told their purpose, but that isn’t how it works. As Spiderman’s Uncle Ben once said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” The key to this is that purpose is up to you, and it is your responsibility.
But at the same time, once you choose your goal, you must make it real; that is your responsibility.
As Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
Find Your Passion
Knowing that purpose is up to you means that your passions must lead the way. This means that if there is no purpose other than the one you choose, then you need to choose wisely. But making the right choice means that you need to follow your heart. As cheesy as that sounds, it is true and the key to a meaningful life.
Some questions to ask your self; What do you wake up looking forward to doing? What do you dream about? What do people tell you you are good at? What do you like doing or feel that you are good at doing?
One thing to keep in mind; is that focusing on something proves to you that it is something you want to do. In a way, your ability to focus helps you see where you need to go and how to get there.
Finding your passion is essential, but it is easier than you think.
We spend a lot of time worrying about what our passions are. But the answer comes from introspection rather than looking for things in the world. You already have a passion; you are already working on it or thinking about it.
What you need to do is take it seriously and put your focus and attention on it. Focus on what moves you, and you will do it without thinking.
Another thing to keep on mind once you’ve found your passion is to set goals. Your core passion might be your primary goal, but you need to break it down into smaller goals; this means setting yearly, monthly, weekly and even daily goals that contribute to your goals.
In general, plans help you focus, but they also make life more simple because you know what you must do.
We get hung up on passions because we believe it means something different from what it truly is. Your passion is what you are already doing; it isn’t about finding something new; it is about accepting what you already know.
Don’t Forget About People
Now that you have figured out what you need to do, you need to learn to work with people. Easier said than done, but still, something that is important.
Think about your life and how it revolves around the people around you. Last year, life was different from what it is today. In the past, you might have worked more closely with people at work. We are all now spending more time at home.
The world we find ourselves in tells us a lot about how things used to be. In the past, you were an introvert, but now you are an extrovert. You might be happy working at home and spending time with your family. For all of us, no matter how we see the situation, life has changed.
But that is also why it is so important to surround yourself with the people that matter and help you feel better.
These days that might mean Zoom calls and texting, but it could also mean hanging out at the park or workplace. With this in mind, one of the best ways to control your environment is to maintain who is around you.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you are creating value when you follow your passion and live your purpose. The ultimate place where that value can be directed is towards other people.
You want to give back because that is the best way to appreciate the people around you. Giving back can be as simple as sharing your hobbies and passions, but it can mean much more for others. Too, when you share, people will give you feedback, and that will help you get better at what you are doing.
Sartre said, “hell is other people,” but he was wrong; other people are life. Without people, we have no one to relate to, which is vital to life. I don’t mean comparing cars and houses, rather than the things that matter, like happiness and time.
Tying It All Together
We know that the question, how to live a meaningful life is important, and sometimes we spend too much time on it. But this isn’t because it isn’t essential; it is instead because we are doing it wrong.
When you are getting started, you may need to reframe how you think about work. Rather than hating your job, learn to see it as a part of the process.
It is vital to find a balance between what makes you happy and feels important and is meaningful.
With time, you might find that they are close to the same thing, but don’t get too hung up on either of them.
When put in the position of thinking about how to live your life, remember the 3 P’s: Purpose, Passion and People. First, you need to realize that purpose is ultimately up to you. No one else can tell you what purpose is supposed to mean. Second, you need to focus on what you already love because that is your passion. Thirdly, you need to make sure you surround yourself with the people you love.
In many ways, this may seem like it is asking a lot, and it is, but once you realize it is up to you, you will know what to do. As GI Joe said, “knowing is half the battle.”
You need to remember the 3 P’s; Purpose, Passion and People, focus on getting these things right and everything else will fall into place.
Living a meaningful life with other people is the ultimate purpose of life.
What are you doing to live your purpose and passion? Do you think that you are working hard at trying to live a meaningful life or are you not giving it the attention it deserves?