Finding the True Meaning of Life

Last week, you were asked to identify your character strengths as a means to discovering your true passion. This week, we will be exploring what makes you truly happy and how to integrate that into your life. To often, we walk around wishing that life was different. Do you want your life to be different? If you do, begin by answering these three basic questions, and don’t put it off; start now):

1. What do you love to do?
2. What makes you happy?
3. What excites you?

Find a quiet place to listen for the answers. Give yourself some time and sit with the silence. Sitting with the silence is the hardest part. Believe it or not, you have the answers inside of you, but life is so busy you put other things ahead of finding the true meaning in your life. Quiet time and silence is a way of finding that “centered knowing” inside of you. Take the time right now to go off by yourself. That may require that you escape from the kids. Figure out a creative way of doing this. Grab a pad of paper and a pillow and lock yourself in the bathroom and sit quietly listening for the answers, or call a friend who knows your goal and ask him or her to come over so you can take a quiet walk in order to ponder these three questions. Do whatever it takes to get away and listen for the silence. Ask yourself, “what excites me?” If you have to get up a half hour early for that quiet time, just like the Nike commercial says, “Just do it.”

Next, use the method of brainstorming. Brainstorming is writing down all of the possible answers to these three questions. Make an exhaustive list. It may be four or five pages long. The longer, the better! As you review the list, put a star next to two or three things that really stand out as ideas that would create more happiness in your life. Once you have answered these questions, you will have to carve out some time to devote to creating more of this in your life. It will require that you write out an action plan that uses the KISS method, “keep it simple…simple.” But, before we get into the plan, I want to make sure you did the first part of this exercise, because it would be impossible to reach your goals without answering those three simple questions.

Now, don’t be surprised if you find that you are already doing things in your life that bring about true meaning. Many of my clients have discovered that their list includes things they were already doing. For instance, raising their children, teaching a Sunday school class, coaching a child’s softball team, cultivating a garden or cleaning the car. If these things are already occurring, it usually means that you will need to revise your goal to either appreciate the true meaning or to figure out a way of organizing it differently so that you can spend more time doing it. Other clients have found things on their list that they would really like to pursue, but they aren’t sure how to master them. Be patient. Finding true passion is a process, and you will be learning how to do that in the weeks to come. As you write your list, you may find that all sorts of negative qualifiers come up as you contemplate these three questions. Don’t let that get in the way of you completing this assignment.

Remember, if you want more in your life you have to make it happen. Use this column to help organize your dreams. Don’t put it off. In the weeks to come, you will be creating a plan and putting it into action. One of my favorite sayings is “there will only be one of you at all times, so fearlessly have the courage to find and be yourself”. See you next week.

(A great guide for creating passion in your life is Sheryl Richardson’s Life Makeovers.)

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