How to live a meaningful life
29th Jul 201610m20s
- How to live a meaningful life? Now this is a question that I've thought about many many times. And I'm sure a lot of other people thought about this too. Maybe you have as well. What is the meaning of life? What's the purpose of everything we're doing? I was in London, the other day. And I was just looking up at the advert for some of the new movies that were coming out. And I noticed how, a lot of the movies up there were repeats or re-makes of all the movies or they were sequels added on to trilogies which you thought had ended with the trilogy. And it made me think that, that pattern of re-releasing a movie, that's been going on since probably the beginning of movies. I mean, movies get re-made. Stage plays get re-done. Stories get re-enacted, all the time. And how we live our lives is pretty similar as well. When you think about what most people do everyday: they go to work; they come back from work; they, maybe they'd go out; they watch a movie; they eat some food; or maybe they'd go home to play with the kids; or they go do some fitness; every once in a while, they all go traveling; or every once in a while, they'll just do another activity they don't do everyday. But you can reduce all of these to patterns. People live their life in patterns And they repeat those patterns over and over again. And I was thinking about this. I asked myself, what's the purpose of this? I mean if life is just about patterns, does that really inspire me? And I realize that it didn't really. And I think that for most people, just living a pattern of life is perfectly fine. I think most people look forward to that. But I found out that I personally, can't just do that. I can't just live a patterned life. And I think people like me, people who are fairly ambitious, people who want to grow are similar in their mindset. We can't just live a normal, mundane, everyday pattern. There's nothing wrong with a pattern. I don't think there's anything wrong with-- I think you can live a perfectly happy life. And you can feel quite fulfilled. You can feel contentment, just living out these patterns. But if you're someone like me, then at some point, you're gonna wonder to yourself, what's the meaning of all this? I mean, I could choose this pattern. Or I could choose this pattern. I could quit my job. I could leave the country. Go to some Ashram up in the Himalayas and just meditate everyday. Now that sounds quite radical but all you've done is swap one pattern for another kind of pattern. So you're still living a pattern. So then I started to think about, how you can know whether you're living a meaningful life? And a quote came to mind, a quote I came across a while ago, which I really like. It's by Joseph Campbell. And what he says is, "People say that what we're all seeking "is the meaning of life. "I think that what we're all seeking "is the experience of being alive." So this is quite nice. Cause this is, making a distinction between analytically understanding the meaning of life versus experientially understanding the meaning of life. As in, feeling it within your soul, feeling it within your body, what it means to truly be alive? So, in what moments do feel alive? We feel alive in those moments which teaches something new, in which something novel happens, in which something unexpected happens, even something dangerous, or we push ourselves beyond our limits. And we suddenly have a realization of what we just did. And we realize that, wow we can do this! That I can do this! I didn't know that I could do this. And those are the moments that we remember. Those are the moments where we truly feel alive. When we're, we feel like we're living to our potential. So this made me think that people who want to create many more of those moments, many more such moments of feeling alive, are people who want to push themselves on a regular basis, people who want to push themselves out of their comfort zones, who want to set massive goals and then chase those goals. Because in chasing those goals, you will have to push yourself. You will have to grow as a person. So one way to experience these moments is to regularly grow, and is to consciously grow and grow in every area of your life. And if you add up all these moments then you get a collection of moments, collection of highlights if you will, which stay in your memories. And when you can look back at your life, you can say, well these are the things that made your life meaningful. And it can be every area of your life, the relationships you have with people, not just the things you achieved on your own but the things you've achieved with other people. Just the feelings you felt on certain moments, the realizations, the epiphanies, the new knowledge that you acquired, which expanded your outlook, broaden your mindset. So when I think about, what the meaning of life could be? I feel like one way of looking at it, is how many moments or how many highlights you have of such a nature in your life? Because surely these are the things that give you meaning in your life. So, if you wanna live a meaningful life, this is one way you can do it, is to grow as a person every single day and to consciously want to grow and to push yourself to grow every single day. I'm making these videos right now. I have no idea where I'm gonna go with this. Is it gonna be successful? How am I even defining success? But every time I make the video, it pushes me. Because every time I do it, I'm a little nervous. I'm a little unsure about exactly how it's gonna turn out. I'm not sure if what I'm saying is worthwhile. I'm not sure if people are gonna like what I say. But I know it's something that I wanna do. And I know it's something that scares me so I want to do it. And in fact that's actually a good way of knowing, how you should push yourself? Ask yourself, what are you afraid of doing? What you're afraid of doing but what you know that other people are able to do regularly, people who have the confidence to do it? And if there's something you want to do and you're afraid of doing, then it's something you definitely should do. Because it will help you grow. It will help you push yourself out of your comfort zone. And that will help you create these moments. Create these highlights that you're gonna remember for the rest of your life. In a way, you could say that, you're pushing for excellence every single day. Every single day is a chance for you to excel in some area of your life, a chance for you to improve in an area in your life and do it better than you did the day before. You don't have to compare yourself to other people. If you compare yourself to other people, you're always gonna find someone better than you. You're always gonna find someone more privileged than you, someone who had an easier time of it than you did. Someone who achieved a little better than you did. So comparing yourself with other people and wanting to beat all of them and be number one, can be very very frustrating. Doesn't mean comparison has no purpose. It can inspire you. It can push you. It can show you what's possible. But the real comparison should be with who you were yesterday. Because ultimately it's about your life. What other people do in their life isn't really going to matter to your life. What you do is gonna matter to your life. There's another quote by Robin Sharma, quote I really like. He says, "As you live your days so you live your life. "Your days are your life in miniature." Your days are your life in miniature so each day, in a way it represents your entire life. If you say, well what kind of life have you had? If you ask yourself, what kind of life have I had? What you're gonna do is in your mind think of, how your life has been the majority of the time you've been alive? In other words, the majority of the days I've spent on this planet being alive, how has it been? That is how my whole life is. Right? In other words, how you lived each day of your life in some way contributes to how you see your entire life at the end of the day, at the end of your life. So the way you live each day of your life is absolutely critical and has a direct impact on the quality of your life as a whole. So if you can make everyday of your life really great and grow as a person every single day of your life, then your life is one of growth. Your entire life is one of growth and contentment and enjoyment. So focusing on making each day great and achieving excellence each day on growing each day is a really great way, in fact, it's the only way to make sure you have a great life. I mean the other way it could happen is you know, you don't focus making each day great and then one day suddenly something amazing happens and your life takes a turn for the better. That can happen but that requires a lot of luck. What I'm talking about is a way in which you can systematically make a great life for yourself. Simply by making each day great. So to sum it up, it comes down to focusing on making every single day great. No matter what situation you're in. Excelling in every area in your life. Pushing yourself to be better than you were yesterday in every area of your life and thus creating those moments. Creating those highlights, if you will, that reflect the experience of being alive and having those experiences as much as possible. And all together, that could help you feel like you're living a meaningful life. And then, you're still living the patterns. You're still having to do certain things everyday like everybody else. You still have to brush your teeth. You still have to eat food. You still have to go to work. And do all of those things. It's great. But you're not just doing those things anymore. You're not just going on autopilot and doing those things. No, you're pushing yourself in all of these areas. So, it's sort of working together to create this beautiful synergy, if you will. Bit of a jargon word there but-- It's the sort of synergy of routine plus non-routine. Right? The mundane, the pattern plus the unexpected movement, the exciting movement that just sort of mixes it up a little bit. And that's what makes your life great.