“Is my life meaningful anymore?” Here’s a haunting question for the aging, especially the retired. The answer rests on a greater, more foundational question: Is life meaningful?
Let’s explore the possibilities.
The Is life meaningful question has only two answers: “No” or “Yes.” There’s no middle ground, but there are differences of opinions as well as personal doubt leading to the vacillation.
You’re not alone if you believe life is meaningless. Well-known philosophers and faithful advocates amplify this thought. Assessing world affairs provides ample indications that life is meaningless. A world without meaning, however, is a hopeless condition where nothing, nada, zip, zero has a purpose—including you. Everything is absurd.
Do you subscribe to life with a meaningful perspective? Now you’re in the company of other well-known philosophers and world religions. You’re acknowledging something or someone greater is at work. In other words, there’s hope, light in the darkness, and order despite chaos. When life is meaningful every person has a reason for being—an unalterable purpose longing for fulfillment and varied expression from the day you are born to the day you die.
Despite these contrasting worldviews no one can prove which worldview is true. Therefore, you get the awesome opportunity to choose your worldview and its consequences. Your every thought, decision, and action are guided by this either-or lens on life that profoundly defines how you have, are, and will be experimenting in and experiencing life.
Reading this article reveals you want to believe life is meaningful. Otherwise, reading it (and everything else) would be meaningless. Paradoxically, “meaninglessness” can seem to exist within meaning, but meaning has no space within meaninglessness.
Shrouding life’s meaningful worldview, however, is misinformation and mystery. Let’s debunk three misconceptions and provide a solution to the mystery to reassure you that life is meaningful.
Three Misstatements About the Meaning of Life
- “Work gives us meaning.” Work is not the source of meaning. It is one of many facets of life. We bring meaning to the work, not the reverse. As a result, loss of a job through termination, layoff, or retirement is not a devastating blow to our well-being. Despite the financial implications, new doors open for fresh expression of our purpose.
- “I am purpose-driven” is a popular, well-intended misdirection. Instead, you are purpose-called. A freely given, positive response is known as being on-purpose.
- “I have a sense of my purpose.” Let’s compare purpose and pizza. A pizza TV commercial offers a sense of the food. Grabbing a pizza slice, gathering up the trailing cheese stringing from the pie, and then sinking your teeth into that first bite is real life. Just as that perfect combination of crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings arouses your full senses in delight, why settle for a sense of pizza when you can touch, smell, and taste it? The same is true with purpose. Why settle for a sense of purpose when you can know it?
ONPURPOSE.me is an online tool for clarifying your life purpose to two words in a fun, three-minute exercise. Included in your purchase is an inspirational and educational course for putting your purpose to work plus a free live group coaching video call.
It’s simple. Life is meaningful. You have a purpose. Your life is meaningful.
Kevin W. McCarthy, MBA
Since the late 1980s, Kevin has pioneered a movement for each person to know their purpose and to give it meaningful expression in every facet of life. That’s called being on-purpose. He is the author of The On-Purpose Person: Making Your Life Make Sense. Download the first four chapters for free.