I’ve recently finished reading The Power of Meaning *crafting a life that matters by Emily Esfahani Smith. The purpose of this post is not to provide a book review but I think a synopsis is important to provide some insight as to how I’ve come to recognize that happiness lies in a meaningful life.
This book is packed with anecdotal evidence and scientific research about happiness, meaning and the difference between the two. The evidence is clear, there is no secret to happiness, but those who have meaning in their lives are more likely to be happy. Although the particulars of meaningfulness is different for everyone, the short version is being kind and helpful to others provides meaning and in turn happiness.
Some people find meaning in providing a good life for their children. While that is important to me, that is simply a part of my everyday life. Others find meaning in the work that they do. I find great meaning in my work and am fortunate to know that the job that I do has a significant and positive impact every single day to improve the lives of others. Many people don’t have the opportunity to feel so fulfilled in the work that they do, and I am forever grateful that I have chosen a path that serves others. My work provides me with meaning, but it’s not enough. I have the capacity and strength to do so much more and to help so many more people. I simply have not yet discovered the great work that I know my life will bring. I know I can do more and I will do more.
Yesterday I watched a video of Portia giving Ellen her 60th birthday gift. Firstly I cannot believe that Ellen is 60, she has the energy and spirit of someone much younger. The gift that Portia gave Ellen has so much meaning and I hope that one day I will be able to give someone else such a wonderful gift, and I hope to be able to give myself such a wonderful gift. If you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend it.
Did you cry? I cried. What an amazing way to give back to the world and provide such incredible meaning to your own life. When each of us have gone from this world we will be remembered for something different. How do you want to be remembered? I want to be remembered for helping and changing the lives of others. How I’m going to accomplish that is still to be determined and in the end isn’t that the wonderful part of life? The choices we have and the unknown of what lies ahead.