A friend of mine posted this article on facebook from the online news aggregator thealtantic.com titled “There’s more to life than being happy”. Intrigued by the title, I clicked on the link and kept on reading…
Three points jumped out at me as I read.
1) “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing," Frankl wrote in Man's Search for Meaning, "the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." I anchor this into my own religious faith, that God gave humans free will to choose AND the intellect to think, to question and to come to a conclusion.
2) How does the happy life and meaningful life differ? Happy people get a lot of joy from receiving benefits from others while people leading meaningful lives get a lot of joy from giving to others. I volunteer; I have a job I work hard at; I am married; I have 2 children. All these activities do not make sense from the happiness perspective (I would be much happier exercising, or watching CSI on TV) but they totally make sense from the meaningful-life point of view.
3) The pursuit of meaning is what makes humans uniquely human.
“Celine, are you going to have a third child?”
I have assessed and determined for myself that there is mental space for only Medium Boy and Small Boy in my life, given that I still want to work (and be good at my job), have space and time for hobbies and generally having more vivid strong moments.
Here’s to a more meaningful life in 2013!
… Ha! I do have a new year resolution after all…