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How to Be Successful in Life: 9 Psychological Strategies

how to create meaning in life

This kind of thinking plays a particularly important role when we come up against obstacles, especially unexpected ones, as they can determine whether we pick ourselves up or just disengage. When we consider what matters the most to us, we can get more attuned with our inner strengths as well as our passions. Charting a course for ourselves is one thing, but using our strengths to get there comes with a whole set of other benefits. Along with positive emotion, relationships, engagement, and accomplishment (which goals allow for), it makes up what we’ve come to known as ‘The Good Life’.

how to create meaning in life

The Process and Steps of Setting Life Goals

To summarize, it appears that centenarians adopt a positive mindset and psychological traits and value their social relationships. These factors may contribute to a longer, more meaningful life and protect against illness and depression. Fostering interests and hobbies is another way to find meaning in your life, buttressing against negative feelings and thoughts.

What Is the Purpose of Life? A Philosophical and Psychological Take

These seven strategies can help you reveal or find your purpose so you can begin living a more meaningful life. Help us continue to bring “the science of a meaningful life” to you and to millions around the globe. As an experiment, pick a few minutes in a typical day and try to experience it as if it is totally fresh and new. When we do something for the first time, we are usually quite present and engaged. If you are interacting with a family member, or co-worker, take the time to be fully present and really listen to what the other person is saying, rather than being caught up in your own agenda or script.

  • You will notice interesting overlaps between the belief systems, and notice what they have in common (like the famous Golden Rule).
  • However, the second variation of this question – how we find meaning in life – is psychological and of more interest to us.
  • It contains twelve books, each composed of several quotations ranging from one sentence to lengthy paragraphs.
  • Getting input is useful if it clarifies your strengths—not if it’s way off base.

What Is a Meaningful Life?

While we’d all love to maximize our positive experiences and avoid the negative ones, that would lead to incredibly unbalanced people! It is often during these negative, stressful, and challenging times that we find out where our strengths lie, how to push further than we have ever pushed before, and how to truly thrive. However, if you’re like me (i.e., the kind of person who appreciates lists), check out these lists of some of the most meaningful experiences in life. This three-component theory of meaning in life is still new, but it is a promising step towards a more comprehensive understanding of what meaning “means” for humans. We at Greater Good have written often about the differences between a happy life and a meaningful life and found that the two are closely related.

Learned optimism can change your life. Here’s how

  • Perhaps you think of doomsday movies or books where everyone dies.
  • Significance is augmented when your behaviors, or experiences more broadly, matter to yourself.
  • Meaning acts as an internal compass on the twisting journey of life.
  • You might choose to reach out to people and ask what reminds them of you or what they think of when you enter their mind.
  • The writing of historian W.E.B. Du Bois pushed social-justice activist Art McGee to embrace a specific vision of African-American identity and liberation.

These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients create actionable goals and master techniques for lasting behavior change. Of course, there are limitations to the generalizability of this finding—simply setting goals won’t drive the actions that lead us to success. Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Goal Achievement Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients create actionable goals and master techniques to create lasting behavior change.

Let’s break it down with some practical steps and exercises you can try. Many people experience a crisis of meaning during significant life transitions, like moving to a new city, starting or ending a relationship, or even hitting milestone birthdays. These moments force us to pause and evaluate our life direction, often stirring up questions about purpose. Likewise, a life that has meaning feels purposeful and significant. Your effort, applied over time, is a common definition of the word “work.” This means you’re likely to be disappointed if you expect to find meaning in five minutes or less using only a cocktail napkin.

how to create meaning in life

  • She is renowned for her work on positive psychology, meaning, and spiritual development, and is the co-developer of the Mindfulness-Based Meaning Program.
  • Practice bringing full presence and a sense of newness to the unfolding moments in your day, like an actor performing a play for the first time.
  • The inventors of the drug would receive Nobel Prizes and have institutes named for them!
  • The full moon, within astrology, is considered a time for release and honesty.
  • Trying to understand why our life is meaningful may serve a function when life becomes incomprehensible, but ultimately it may never yield a satisfying answer.

The full moon, within astrology, is considered a time for release and honesty. Be open to changes and willing to tweak your plans when necessary. Life is unpredictable, and being flexible helps you navigate it with resilience. Many great minds have weighed in with theories that range from the profoundly spiritual to the strictly existential. Let’s explore a few widely known philosophies that might resonate with you.

Join 550,000+ helping professionals who get free, science-based tools sent directly to their inbox. Instead, we must choose our values and the meaning we how to create meaning in life assign to who we are, how we live, and what we do. Our goals are personal, and we must decide whether to follow them or let them drift out of sight.

  • Or your journey could start by stepping out the door and connecting with a neighbor, making a newfound friend, or starting a hobby you have wanted to explore but never got around to.
  • It’s hard to get out of bed in the morning when every day feels meaningless.
  • As Edgar Allan Poe put it, “The best things in life make you sweaty.” It takes work, effort, and the use of your character strengths, but it doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the sweat.
  • Knowing the “why” of your actions can infuse even trivial behaviors with value.
  • Mentors, friends, co-workers, and family members can cheer you on when things get tough and even offer advice and assistance that can help you improve your chances for success.