The meaning of life is one of the most enduring questions which has captivated the greatest minds of mankind for centuries.
What makes us happy? What we can do to get to this state?
Some people think the good life to be “living in agreement with nature. Doing good and staying calm.
Still, the things that may be good candidates for meaning-creators in our lives can be separated in few main categories.
- As human beings are social creatures, we have an innate need to connect to others, to be part of a group, to sense that we belong.
According to the longest study on happiness and life satisfaction, which spanned over 75 years, the good life lies in the quality of our relationships. Good time with others peoples protects us from the bruises of life’s downs. But it’s not only our friendships. It’s our families, children, siblings.
- We want the net of our successes to outnumber that of our failings. We want to sense that we are moving forward, progressing, realizing our goals. Studies have found that achievements bring greater meaning to our everyday lives.
And it’s not the lure of the limelight. It’s the recognition of our efforts, the appreciation. In other words, we want our actions to matter and make.
- Life itself is a process of acquiring knowledge. It’s perhaps most famously expressed in the Japanese notions of kaizen and shokunin. Kaizen is the process of continuous improvement — gaining expertise, to better ourselves. Shokunin means craftman. And it’s about taking pride in what we do and in ourselves.
In reality, though, there are many more shades and understandings of a life well-spent. Just choose what you like.
- Be aware of what makes you happy
- Desire to leave a mark in the world
- Be compassionate and care about yourself
- Make yourself useful
- Connect with the world