What is the Meaning of Life and Why is Everybody Trying to Find It?

Written by Siddhi Latey, edited by Aradhita Saraf (Weloquent)

To pay a tribute to World Mental Health Day (celebrated this past week on the 10th of October,) let’s attempt to unravel the question that has mystified many minds and stolen mental peace for many since the beginning of time.

Is life a mere coincidence, or did someone put us on Earth? Why were we born? What happens to us after we die? The elusive nature of potential answers to these questions have baffled scientists, philosophers and artists and thought leaders. Religion suggests that the meaning of life lies in serving God and living by his dictates. Contrarily, science conveys that our purpose in life is simply procreation with the intention of propagating one’s genetic material. Neither seemed to satiate my hungering for a concrete solution. After months of hungering for a satisfactory answer, I came to the conclusion that I could only find an answer if I changed the question slightly.

And so I did. I began asking - What is the meaning of my life? And surely enough, with that I sought and found answers. The following are ways in which you too can satiate your curiosity to know more about your life, while finding productive answers that help you make the most of it:-  

Know Why Everybody Wants to Find the Meaning of Life

Every human is innately curious. From the primitive man wanting to know what caused thunder and lightning, to the modern man wanting to know if aliens exist on other planets- we’re always wanting answers. 

Try leaving a letter addressed to you unopened for a day - you won’t be able to. You are likely to open it up the second you get a chance to. However, in the case of most questions, we find our answers - by ‘Googling’ them, by experience, by asking others around us, etc. However, the meaning of life is one rare question that concerns every human on the planet, and we have no answer to - hence the madding chase to discover it. 

Since there might not be an answer for a long long time, it might work in your favour to invest time towards finding the answer to the meaning of YOUR life - which is a whole lot easier to know.

Find What You Love and Let it Drive You

What most humans seek out of their lives is happiness. Money, fame, dreams - all boil down to giving you a boost of happiness. No one wants to lead a morose life and so quite simply, to impart meaning to your life, find out what makes you truly happy. If you don’t know what that is yet, then invest your time in finding that out. Discover what brings you joy and incorporate that into your everyday life- it is the best way to make the most of your life. Remember, life is merely a story of several memories strung together.

Acknowledge Your Intuition 

Your inner voice can indicate to you whether your action feels right or wrong. For every choice or decision you make, your intuition is there to guide you. It is a reliable instinct that aims to prevent you from making inappropriate decisions that you might later view with dissatisfaction.

Every decision cannot be rational and trusting your intuition to guide you will result in you being happier and more confident. Trusting your moral compass can sharpen your intuitive wisdom, and know that most people do not regret doing something that once felt right and made them happy.     

Don’t Get Too Busy

A famous quote reads, “Don’t get so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life.” While it is important to have an occupation, ignoring other facets of your life that you cherish simply because you are too busy earning money will compromise on the quality of life you live.

Our friends, family, hobbies, and dreams give meaning to our life and so it is equally important to make time for them. Time management is a crucial life skill that can help hike our happiness levels up immensely. Additionally, because life throws unpredictable surprises at everybody, we must learn to enjoy them as they come instead of always planning for them.    

Don’t Go Chasing Evasive Meanings

“Man's Search for Meaning,” by Viktor Frankl written in 1946  chronicles the author’s experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. It aims to unravel the purpose of life. Viktor argues the finding meaning of life cannot be a goal in itself and must emanate as a side-effect of other pursuits. He recommends that for life to be meaningful at an individual level, one must embrace endeavours that help them connect with something greater (their own personal mission, goals and ambition.)