leadership, life

Meaning and Meaninglessness

Living a Meaningful Life — I once went to a 3-day seminar and learned by the end of day #3 that life is empty and meaningless.

Now, as you read that you might have been thinking “that is the most depressing news ever.” The seminar leader asserted this was actually a good thing because from a place of “nothing”, you can create whatever you want in life. He added that creating a “meaning”-full life requires freeing yourself from all the “meanings” that you may have attached to things and people from the past, meanings that might be holding you back.

So, writing a post about “living a meaningful life” might sound somewhat paradoxical in lieu of the above.

But you get the point. I’m talking about living a life you are completely satisfied with.

In thinking about whether or not at the end I’ll be satisfied with how I’ve lived my life (this overwhelms me a bit), I start by thinking how I can live a satisfying DAY.

If I can repeat living satisfying and meaningful DAYS, then I’ll probably be satisfied at the end of my time. That’s my logical approach to attacking this.

So, I made a list of things I VALUE, in no particular order. On any given day if I hit this list, it’s usually a meaningful and satisfying day.

  1. Spend quality time with Nikki and my daughters
  2. Spend quality time with extended family – in-person/phone/Skype (my parents and many siblings are local)
  3. Exercise (preferably in the outdoors)
  4. Learn (usually via reading books or attending a seminar/lecture)
  5. Connect with nature (a sunrise or sunset walk; or can usually be done via exercise)
  6. Write.
  7. Practice meditation/mindfulness to quiet my mind / set intentions
  8. Spend time alone (doesn’t have to be much but if not allotted, things don’t work as well)
  9. Use my gifts (strengths) to help others
  10. Interact with empowering and positive people (work/friends/etc.)
  11. Give time or money to those in need
  12. Save money (doesn’t have to be daily) for something in the future
  13. Laugh (preferably on the HOUR!)

For myself, making it a “GREAT DAY” means making sure my days include the above list.

That usually means saying “NO” to other stuff! (Not easy).

I think I like alone time (#8) because growing up with 12 siblings was often chaotic and loud. So I value peace and quiet. Conversely, my wife grew up as an only child. She naturally enjoys being around my family and the characteristic pandemonium.

So it’s useful to communicate my list with Nikki to enroll her support. Otherwise, at times I might appear standoffish and disengaged, when in reality, I just need 10 minutes to re-charge and then I’m good for the rest of the day.

In less than four years, we’ve added two little munchkins to the mix with another one on the way in August of 2015. Raising kids has forced me (because of time) to create the above list so that I am intentional about spending my time doing the things I love and that give me the greatest return.

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One thought on “Meaning and Meaninglessness

  1. Pingback: Manage ENERGY, not time. | Leadership. Locomotion. Life.

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