What is the purpose of life?
Digging deep into the meaning of our existence can be hard. And many people struggle to unlock its door.
But some people may have found it. Emily Esfahani Smith is a good example. She searched the meaning of life in her own way and she found it.
Emily Smith had interviewed hundreds of people asking what makes them happy. But mostly, people’s responses were not related to happiness and other life perks.
What Emily Esfahani Smith found was that:
“The most meaningful lives, I’ve learned, are often not the extraordinary ones. They’re the ordinary ones lived with dignity.”
In other words, happiness or the purpose of life is not dependent on the material things a person has. Rather it is dependent on how you perceive and give a meaning of your existence.
Most people seek happiness in material things. They try to find happiness in fame, money, high-paying jobs, etc. And oftentimes they fail. Why? Because they look their purpose in the wrong place.
Smith found the purpose of life through exploring her inner world. Here are the key pillars of meaning:
1. Sense of belonging
People who have a good interpersonal connection with their community and loved ones are happier than those who aren’t. Time and time again, scientific research find consisting findings denoting social interaction as an important ingredient in finding happiness and meaning.
2. Having purpose
During a college tribute to our university, I was asked to give a parting word in front of my fellow graduating students. One of the things that I shared was about the real meaning of life. What is really the purpose of life?
To me, life has no real meaning. The only meaning is what we say it is. Of course, you may not agree with me. It’s my personal view though. So the greatest job that each one of us has is to find the purpose of our existence. It could be anything.
“The key to purpose is using your strengths to serve others. It doesn’t matter whether those strengths include carving a small gift for a family member or managing millions of dollars in personal assets,” Smith said.
Transcendence is a process of engaging in an activity that makes you happy. In most cases, people find happiness and meaning in their hobbies. It could be writing a journal, short story, carving, playing their favorite sports, etc. Whatever it is that gives you joy, it involves mental focus and engagement – transcendence.
Storytelling allows people to reflect their own world. In addition, storytelling allows people to give meaning to their own experiences. And most importantly, storytelling allows people to help others by sharing lessons embedded in the story.
Finding the purpose of life should start from within. By asking what do you really want to achieve and how you can spend your life with others make you happy. Becoming happy is free. You don’t need millions and other perks to feel joy. In fact, people who live in simple life are mostly found happier than those in the middle or upper class.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.