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How to Escape from the Rat Race and Live the Life You Really Want

“What is the meaning of life?” is one of the most fundamental and ultimate questions that has captivated the greatest minds of humankind for centuries. To live with meaning seems to be the ultimate goal.The answers, as varied as they come, go back to the very, very beginning of things—to our existence, to the reasons…

” “What is the purpose of life?” has been a question that has fascinated the greatest minds for centuries. The ultimate goal seems to be living with meaning.

The answers to these questions, however varied, can be traced back to the beginning of all things: to our existence, to why we are “created”, to our search for self-improvement and, of course to religion. There are many interpretations about what “the good life” means, what makes us happy, what makes us fulfilled, and how we can achieve this desired state. If you ask scientists (physicists and biologists) about the purpose of their being, they’ll likely tell you the amazing story of the Big Bang and how the universe came to be. They will also explain the evolution of humankind to where it is today.

But, evolution is not what drives us to live and persevere through all of life’s challenges. It’s much more than that. It is what makes us human: our minds, our self-awareness and our goals, ambitions, dreams, etc.

If you are looking for the meaning of life, Viktor Frankl or Albert Camus can help you to think about your values, progress and family.

Historical Perspectives on Living Life With a Meaning

Let’s first look at the meaning of these elements.

The Greeks

The ancient Greeks believed in the concept of eudaimonia, which translates as “happiness” “good life” or “welfare.” All the great Greek philosophers–Socrates, Thales, Plato, Aristotle–believed that the good life means to live in a state of eudaimonia.

“The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.” – Thales

It is possible to interpret it in many ways. Some believed that the purpose of this phrase was to acquire virtues, such as self-control, courage and wisdom.

Aristotle believed that eudaimonia needed not only good character, but also taking action and striving for excellence. Epicurus, another prominent Greek, understood human life to be one of pleasure and liberation from pain and suffering.

Cynicism

The Greek School of Thought believed that living a life of virtue that is in harmony with Nature was the true meaning of life. They taught that the happy life is one without possessions and rejecting the desire for fame, wealth, or sex.

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” -Epictetus

Instead, they should be given a rigorous education and allowed to live the life that is most natural for them.

Stoicism

The Stoic school of thought, founded by Zeno of Citium around 300 B.C., considered the good life to be “living in agreement with nature.” Stoicism advocates separating good and evil and doing good while staying calm, focusing on what’s important and under our control, not wasting thoughts on what we can’t change.

Theism

Theists believed that there was a God who created the universe. The purpose of our life is therefore aligned to God’s purpose in creating it. It is God who gives us meaning, purpose, values. This is relevant to the modern religious studies. It explains how and why we seek meaning beyond what can be easily seen and understood.

Existentialism

According to this 20th-century philosophy, supported by famous minds such as Soren Kierkegaard, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Friedrich Nietzsche, all human beings have free will.

“The intuition of free will gives us the truth.” – Corliss Lamont

According to the belief, each person is responsible for their own meaning and not that of society or religion. Everyone’s purpose is different and depends on their understanding and circumstances.

Simply put, your life’s purpose is what you choose it to be.

What Creates Meaning of Your Life?

Based on the history walk, it appears that interpretations of what gives life meaning and purpose can vary depending on historical periods and schools of thought.

There are some commonalities and recurring themes, however. We are called to something greater than ourselves, such as to serve God or contribute to society. It’s also nuanced as it’s filtered through our individual lenses.

Still, the things that may be good candidates for meaning-creators in our lives can be separated into a few main categories:

Social

Human beings are social creatures. We have an instinctive need to connect with others, to feel part of a group, and to know that someone cares about us.

According to the longest study on happiness and life satisfaction, which spanned over 75 years, the good life lies in the quality of our relationships. Professor Waldinger, who conducted the research, said that “time with others” protects us from the “bruts and downs” of life .”

. But it’s not just our friendships that make life worthwhile. Our families, our children, and our siblings are the most important. It’s the people we love and care about and who give us ours.

Achievement

While it can be difficult to feel self-worth if we only measure our success to the end result of our efforts, we want to see the net of our successes outweigh our failures. We want to feel that we are moving forward, making progress, and achieving our goals.

“Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

Research has shown that accomplishments bring more meaning to our daily lives.

It’s not about the fame or the kudos that makes our existence worthwhile. Recognizing our efforts, appreciation and acknowledgment is what matters. We want our actions and contributions to make a difference.

You can find a simple answer about what personal success looks like in this video from The Lifehack Show:

Competence, Knowledge, and Expertise

These purpose-drivers can be closely connected to the notion of achievement.

Konrad Lorenz , the Austrian Nobel Prize winner, best known for his principle of attachment, once said:

“Life itself is a process of acquiring knowledge.”

Becoming the best at what we do is a large part of the self-improvement movement today. It’s perhaps most famously expressed in the Japanese notions of kaizen and shokunin. Kaizen refers to continuous improvement. It is the ability to learn and gain expertise in order to improve our lives.

Shokunin means craftsman. It’s about taking pride and being proud of what we do. It’s about striving to be better professionally and personally.

How to Live a Meaningful Life

There are many other ways to see a well-lived life than those listed above.

Here are some more ideas about where you can find your sense of purpose, fulfillment, and meaning.

1. Take note of what makes you happy

These passions include your desire to connect with others, read, write, travel, and stay in shape. Even though they might not be your One Meaning, these activities can make you happy and fulfilled.

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

They can be a source of joy. These are mini-meanings that can help you achieve your larger goals and purpose.

But today they offer something to look forward too, a reason to live.

2. Importance Family

Evolutionary biology is the fundamental reason for our existence as humans: to ensure that human life will continue into the future. Meaning is dependent on the survival and continuation of our kin. Family is the best thing in life.

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” -Michael J. Fox

In this vein, having children and family and living life with them is often at or n

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