Have you ever asked yourself what life is all about? I mean, why are we even here?
Most of us have asked ourselves this question during a dark night when things weren’t so bright. We tried to get rid of all the assumptions and really figure it out.
We’ve picked our brain to find something that is mystical, complex and divine enough to be worth the title “meaning of life”. After all this is something uber important, right? You don’t mess with the meaning of life, who knows if some god comes down, raises an eyebrow and tells you that you’ve done it all wrong? That’d be embarassing. I mean what should the neighbors say when they see a huge naked god in your front yard?
So after hours and hours of thinking in circles we might think that we’ve found something that’s incredible and supernatural enough to apply for the title of “Ms. Meaning of Life -the one and only”. But then, what do you do with it? If you’ve really got it all figured out, how is this going to affect your life? If you’ve really found the holy grail, you should probably go out and tell everyone. Like a prophet or something. Hey, maybe you’re the next Jesus…? Oh, nevermind.
But seriously, when one has found the meaning of life you’d expect him or her to at least change their life accordingly. And that’s scary. And then the doubts start to come back in. What if you missed it? What if you’re contestant for the Ms. Meaning-of-Life title is downright ridiculous and inappropriate?
Geez. That’s when we mostly decided that it was time for us to quit. Philosphy is not for us. I mean, who could expect some tiny, insignificant human being like us to got it all figured out? Isn’t that the job of some super philosopher or genius professor? Right. So we empty our brain and try to forget about it all again.
But what if it didn’t have to be all that confusing? What if it wasn’t some super weird riddle only some superhuman genius could solve? What if it was easy?
Let me tell you: I think I got it figured out. I think I’ve found the meaning of life (don’t think I’m a super genius. Actually I’ve read that in a book. A good one!).
It is not something super mystical.
It’s not even complicated.
In fact it’s simple, yet beautiful.
The thing is: There is no such thing as the meaning of life, other than the journey itself.
We are here to experience the journey of life. That’s it.
What’s that you’re thinking? Doesn’t it have to be something mystical, something higher than ourselves? Isn’t it supposed to be complicated?
If you think about it, why should Mr. Socks (if you don’t believe in Mr. Socks, that’s fine. Just insert what you believe in: God, Universe, Buddha, mom, your favorite rubber ducky -anything goes) place us on this earth with a certain purpose he wants us to fulfill and then make that purpose so difficult to find that no one is able to fulfill it? That would be pretty dumb. And I like to believe that Mr. Socks is a smart guy.
A lot of philosophers and big thinkers say that there is no meaning to life. I like to say that the only meaning there is lies in the journey itself. The meaning of life and therefore the reason we have been put on this earth is to live. To some it doesn’t make a difference whether or not you’re living just because (aka without a meaningful reason) or because you’re here to live. I think it makes a huge difference, because it adds that little bit of reason and meaning to life that humans need to thrive.
Let’s make a quick summary: The meaning of life is nothing mystical or complicated. It is very simple: We are put on this earth to live. To experience. That is our reason of being.
So, if we’re here for the sole purpose to be alive that makes it pretty easy to live according to the meaning of life, if you want to say so. There are no mistakes to be made. We can’t screw up. Isn’t that beautiful?
We are going to experience life no matter what we do. In fact we’re experiencing it right now in this moment in time. Whoaaaa…. amazing, right?
Now that we’ve mustered up the courage to face the big fat scary philosophical question for the meaning of life (this makes us awesome) and we’ve found out what the meaning is (live), what shall we do next?
In order to respect our new found wisdom we have to do nothing but live.
You know what that means? There’s room for us to fill our journey with whatever we like. It’s our choice to define what we want to be part of our journey and what we want to leave out (like becoming an old fat cat lady or fighting against wolves in Siberia or boring ourselves to death with a job we hate).
This is the best part:
You can create your own personal purpose for yourself.
Yes, purpose friendo.
Some of you might be asking: What’s the difference between meaning and purpose? Well, I’m glad you asked.
Meaning = why we were put on this earth
Purpose = What meaning we give our lives
“There is not one big cosmic meaning for all; there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.”
― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934
“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”
― Joseph Campbell
I believe that I am not responsible for the meaningfulness or meaninglessness of life, but that I am responsible for what I do with the life I’ve got.”
― Hermann Hesse, Verliebt in die verrückte Welt: Betrachtungen, Gedichte, Erzählungen, Briefe
“Life has to be given a meaning because of the obvious fact that it has no meaning.”
― Henry Miller
Our purpose, I believe, is not a thing, place, title, or even a talent. Our purpose is to be. Our purpose is how we live life, not what role we live. Our purpose is found each moment as we make choices to be who we really are.
- Carol Adrienne
“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”
― Viktor E. Frankl
Your purpose is the meaning you as an individual give to your life. It’s your personal reason of being, the mission you want to accomplish or the calling you feel you have. Sound scary? I understand. But once you immerse yourself in the topic you’ll see that it’s not.
The wonderful purpose and the biggest gift we were given in our lives is that we have the ability to choose what we do with our life. We and we alone get to choose what we spend our time on. Don’t believe me? You say that’s ridiculous, you got bills to pay a boss breathing down your neck and parents that have their own plans for your life. Sure. We’re all busy and we all have our unique set of struggles. But in the end it’s you who decided to take on that job and to listen to your parents. You just didn’t want to deal with the consequences of behaving differently.
So yes, you are in charge. It’s your life and yours alone.
Think about that. And then tell me:
What do you want to do with the precious life of yours?
PS: If you wanna find out more about living on purpose, my friend Jacob has published an uncommon guide to living on purpose. Seriously, he’s the man when it comes to living on purpose, so be sure to check out his blog!
- "This Is Too Big for Me" – No, It's Not. Here's How to Beat the Odds
- Too Much to Do Too Little Time: How to Get Off The Hamster Wheel
- How to Escape A Life That Bores You to Death
- Unhappiness 101
- Why You Need to Live Your Dreams to Make Your Life Meaningful (spoiler alert: you will die)
- How to Do What You Love, Change the World & Get Paid to Do it
- 10 Life Lessons Learned on a Trip to the End of the World
- What to Do When Everything Plain Sucks: A Gentle Suck-Day Survival Kit
- The Beauty of a Morning Ritual: How it Can Help You Get Your Joy Back
- Burnout Is Not Cool. I Know You’re Serious About Your Dream, But Stop Killing Yourself Over It.
- Listen to your intuition. It trumps your rational mind.
- You can’t skip the fucking journey (& why I haven’t been blogging as much)