All you really need in life is purpose.
It’s what differentiates the happy individual from the unhappy individual – it’s what gives us the illusion of meaning in our lives. What you need to consider is the fact that meaning only matters to those who have enough intelligence to understand the concept. Meaning has meaning because people give it meaning.
Without people, without intelligence, meaning cannot possibly exist. Without intelligent life, there cannot be meaning – so generally speaking, meaning doesn’t exist outside the human being.
What does this mean? It means that the only person who can give your life meaning is you.
Meaning or purpose is not something that we find; it’s something that we create. It’s nice to think that we have a destiny written somewhere on an ancient tablet only for the god(s) to see, but in reality we are the creators of our own destiny. We decide how the story is written and in which reality we exist.
Nevertheless, we still need a purpose in life in order to feel as if we aren’t meaningless, that our lives aren’t meaningless. Everything that human beings do in life, from falling in love, starting wars, competing against each other, starting families… it’s all done in order for us to make ourselves feel necessary – we need to feel needed.
There is no worse way to die than to die believing that you could have never existed and the world wouldn’t even notice. For this reason, you need to find your reason for existing – reasons, plural, really.
No one lives for a singular purpose, regardless of what stories will tell you. We all want to create significant change in several areas of our lives. Some want to create change close to home, while others want to reach the global masses.
Which you decide to do doesn’t matter. Or rather, the only thing that matters is what matters most to you. And as long as you work to create the changes that you deem most important to you, you’re living a life worth living.
When we learn, with experience, how to create the changes that we want to create, we get closer and closer to our ideal – to our life dream.
Understanding what this dream is – what the ideal is – will allow you to focus all your energies towards the right ends.
It’s this dream that gives us a reason to live, that gives us this purpose and meaning that as human beings we all must find in order to live happy lives.
However, truth be told, understanding that dream takes time. You don’t simply wake up one day with an epiphany, instantly understanding your purpose in life.
The dream is built one brick at a time, starting from the day you're born and only reaching completion the day you die. Your dream is the work of your life.
So we don’t ever actually understand the full dream. We don’t see the whole picture until we live it. We do, on the other hand, understand the direction in which we’re heading. When we create our purpose, it serves as a compass, steering us in the right direction every step along the way.
It keeps us moving forward, regardless of how many times circumstances cause us to take a few steps back. It’s the lighthouse along the coast that guarantees our safe journey to shore. When you know the direction that you need to head, and only then, the dream will unfold in front of your eyes.
Don’t make the mistake of spending too much time trying to find meaning in life. I fell for the trap a while back and it took me quite some time to conclude that nothing matters in life unless it matters to someone, and that what matters to you matters most of all.
You may have very specific wants and goals in your life – they’re important to have – but remain flexible. The dream changes over time, as your wants and general circumstances change. The specific dream does not matter because we dream differently every night.
The only thing that you need to truly focus on is the direction of your life. The rest…. the rest will come of its own accord. Follow your compass and you’ll inevitably find yourself in a dream you couldn’t even imagine having dreamt of.