In your relationships, work, story, and place in the universe
I believe we all yearn for wellbeing. We all want to feel happy and yet happiness is something that the more you chase it, the further away that it gets. What people are actually looking for when they “chase happiness,” is a life of significance or a life of meaning.
We have been talking this year about the difference between a happy life and a significant life. Happiness is defined as a positive emotional and mental state. When you feel good, you’re happy. And when you feel bad, you’re unhappy.
But the meaningful life is bigger. The meaningful life is defined by connecting with others and contributing to something that’s beyond you.
PATHWAYS TO MEANING
- Positive story of your life
To have more meaning in your life, create great relationships. Connect with others emotionally and with some depth. Listen to them, embrace mindfulness and self-reflection, put your heart on the line, care about others and do acts of kindness for them. Focus on giving to others.
Make work more meaningful by assisting others. Be kind. Know what you value and look to doing that in your work. Stop negativity about your work and focus on the positive, the advantages, the pros. Look at how the company contributes to the good of society. Then look at your role in that contribution. Own it! Create some passion in your work or design your job to highlight your strengths. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and celebrate your successes.
As a leader of the business, you can make work more meaningful for your employees or team members by giving them the freedom to make choices, creating opportunities for variety and challenge, giving regular feedback, and ensuring people can see things through from start to finish.
Researchers have found the number one predictor of finding meaning in our jobs is the belief that what we do positively impacts others. The good news is that in most cases our jobs do have a positive impact, however often we’re too far away from the people who use our products or services to really understand how what we do benefits others. Pay attention to that benefit, no matter how small.
POSITIVE LIFE STORY
When you think and talk about your life be sure to create a story that sees the redemptive, liberating or emancipating quality of your description. Be a super hero in your own life and be sure not to craft a story about victimology or grievances. Unshackle the elements of your life and you will find meaning.
Life is big. Your issues and challenges are small. But you can build upon and transcend all of your problems. Enhance your focus by dedicating part of your life to others, to helping something bigger than yourself. Make your corner of the world bright. You may not light up the entire universe but with all of us making our small corners bright, we create lives of significance and a world of meaningful existences.