Think back in your life, when were you most vital, most engaged and most at peace with your place in the world?
My bet is that it was at a time when your life had meaning…when you had either a short-term or longer-term purpose.
For example, you may have been chasing your first date or relationship – remember how that brought meaning to your life and how vital you felt?
It turns out that meaning (or a purpose) is more important than almost everything else including:
- being stress free
- being happy
- staying positive
- having confidence
- being motivated
A wonderful book I highly suggest you get hold of is "Man's Search For Meaning" written by Nazi Concentration Camp survivor Victor Frankl who, over the course of 9-days of hell, wrote a fascinating "insider's" view of ultimately why people choose to live or die – it comes down to meaning.
This article provides a great overview – but do pick up the book yourself.
Specifically, in Frankl's words:
This uniqueness and singleness which distinguishes each individual and gives a meaning to his existence has a bearing on creative work as much as it does on human love. When the impossibility of replacing a person is realized, it allows the responsibility which a man has for his existence and its continuance to appear in all its magnitude. A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the "why" for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any "how."
The basic premise is that once we have a "WHY" that gives our life meaning (no matter how fleeting), this purpose gives our brain and body life…so if you are at a place in your life where things look frustrating, bleak, or even hopeless – focus on regaining meaning.
This can mean anything from looking after someone you love, becoming a better or free person or transferring your love toward another human being.