Does my life have a purpose?
Meaning of life: Find the meaning of life with these questions
Does my life have a purpose? The question of that Meaning of life is the Core question of our existence. Most people get to this point at some point where they're after meaning of life looking for one Meaningfulness and a deeper meaning. Not only in the job or in the career: In this way our life journey gets a direction, a connection, becomes part of a larger whole and receives a higher value, maybe even nobility. In science, work itself is a fundamental element that can create a meaning in life. For us, this article is not about evaluating a potential meaning in life (morally), but rather that you find and have a meaning for your life at all. So-called Reflection questions regularly help to get a good deal closer to this goal ...
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Definition of "meaning of life": ideal values
Scoffers would say: "The meaning of life is 42." (Quote from: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) In fact, the question about the meaning of life is as old as humanity itself. It is a fundamental question about a deeper reason, aim, benefit and purpose of life in the universe itself: Why am I? What am i for Where am I going? One could also say: The question of the meaning of life is the question of our destiny.
There are numerous answers to the question of the meaning of life. They have offered religions for eons. As do philosophers. The German poet and philosopher Günther Anders, on the other hand, posed the provocative question of why a life should or could only have something other than simply being there. Other authors make a fine distinction between sense and purpose of a lifetime. A goal (and purpose) can sometimes be achieved, but not a purpose. That is or is not (given). The meaning of life can accordingly be interpreted in completely different ways - and is usually assessed differently.
For example, selflessness as a meaning in life is valued by most people as particularly noble. Whoever dedicates his life to others is considered a noble person with a higher sense of life. In addition, many experience a strong sense of meaning through social connection (see Stavrova, O., Luhmann, M .: "Social connectedness as a source and consequence of meaning in life"). In contrast, an egoistic to profane sense of life such as "get rich" is at the very bottom of the reputation. We like to assume that someone like that has lost his or her purpose in life.
With the meaning of life, values are always transported at the same time. Or to put it another way: a life then appears to us to be special makes sensethe sooner it corresponds to ideal values.
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Search for meaning and meaning crisis: fulfillment thanks to Ikigai
As early as 2012, the psychologists Thomas Höge and Tatjana Schnell found out (PDF): The more meaningful the professional activity, the greater the professional commitment. For this, workers are even willing to lower status or less salary to accept. The main thing is that the activity is experienced as meaningful and has a higher-level context.
But what about those who don't know?
Let's be honest: Most people probably don't find their job particularly meaningful or fulfilling. How else could the numerous survey results be explained, according to which two out of three employees are already in the State of internal termination live or would you prefer to change your job this year?
In fact, the search for meaning goes with the current work and life situation Hand in hand. Anyone who is currently going through a professional crisis, has suffered a serious illness, a breakup or has suffered a stroke of fate, asks about this WHY and looks all the more critically at his previous life and its (still existing) perspectives.
Not harmless! Some get caught up in a roller coaster ride of emotions afterwards Crisis of meaning or even depression.
But there is also an enormous opportunity in the search for meaning. It helps us find out what we are doing with our time meaningful, meaningful important can do. It's like the Japanese Ikigai modelwith the help of which you can also find the answer to what makes your life worth living? With its four areas of life (passion, task / mission, calling / vocation, occupation / profession), the Ikigai model explores what absolute fulfillment and satisfaction mean.
Ikigai Parable: A Japanese Story
It happened in a small Japanese village near Osaka. There a woman went into a coma and died. As her soul wandered, she suddenly heard the voices of her ancestors: “Who are you?” Asked one of the voices.
"I'm the mayor's wife," she replied. Then the voice answered: "I don't want to know whose wife you are - I want to know who YOU are!"
Then the woman said: “I am the mother of four children.” Then she heard another voice. She replied angrily: “I don't want to know how many children you have! I want to know: Who are you? "
Then the woman replied: “I am a teacher.” Again she received the answer: “I don't want to know what your job is, I want to know who you are!”
It went on and on until the woman replied, "I am the one who wakes up every day to look after my family and to feed the young minds of the children in my school."
The voices of the ancestors fell silent with satisfaction and sent the woman's soul back to her body. When she awoke again, she felt a deep sense of fulfillment and meaning for her life. She had found her Ikigai and passed the exam.
Searching for the meaning of life: 5 crucial questions
Once you have found your purpose in life, you will not only find satisfaction, gratitude and happiness. This meaning of life affects everything at the same time Think and act.
The sooner we deal with it and the Find meaning in lifethe greater the effect - for example on training and choice of studies, profession, choice of employer, interests, hobbies and leisure activities.
It is helpful and inevitable that we deal with ourselves - with who we are and who we want to become. The following questions can help immensely:
What would you do if money didn't matter?
Money is a fundamental factor in many people's decisions. Quite a few try to earn and save as much money as possible, to find the safest possible job and thus to lead a pleasant, comfortable and carefree life as possible. However, it is rarely a question of whether they really want to do what they are doing - whether the work makes sense.
Admittedly, great financial pressure makes it difficult to develop freely or even to search for the meaning of life. It's simply about bare existence (Maslow says hello), about food and drink and a roof over your head. You should still ask yourself from time to time whether you recognize a meaning in life in your job. Or rather, what would you do if money didn't matter? Would everything stay the same as before or would your life change massively? And if the latter is true, is it really just the money that keeps you from doing it - or is it just an alibi?
What is it that completely fulfills you?
Everyday life can be quite captivating. Life - it goes on and on. We do our thing, do our jobs, function. But always only work, it just doesn't work. At some point we wake up only to find that we've forgotten to live while doing it.
Awaken yourself now by asking yourself this question. It's not about employment, but about fulfillment. What is it that captivates you so much that you experience deep and lasting satisfaction? If you like things a little more casual, you may also ask yourself on which thing he or she loses time and space so much that you even forget to drink or go to the toilet. You may also be able to switch off particularly well, come to rest, surrender yourself completely, deepen, forget.
How could you make the world a little better?
Our world is far from perfect, there are construction sites, injustices and suffering everywhere. Saving the world - no one can do that. But to make them at least a little bit better - that is very much in our power. And of course it is also a noble gesture and deed that can certainly create a meaning in life.
Don't try to reach for the stars right away or the next one Angel of Calcutta to become (although that would of course be great too). It is enough to start with yourself, to help people in your personal environment, to secretly slip or send them money; to give kind, uplifting words or just smile more often. In any case, you are leaving something very meaningful in your life: happiness.
What would you do if you had to change something in your life?
Imagine having no choice but to make a difference in your current life. And now. Right away. What would it be?
Sure, the question sounds a bit absurd at first. But it is not. Rather, it has an important background: we often hide behind daily routines, come to terms with our situation and stop questioning ourselves or looking for meaning.
Even if hardly anyone can force you to make big (life) changes, we should occasionally think about whether we really want to continue as before. You may recognize some of them Things you cling to for the wrong reasons.
What would you do if you only had one year to live?
Okay, not a nice idea. But the only sure thing in life is death. We will all die someday. However, we only become more aware of this the older we get. Then they come Impacts getting closer. Before that, we usually live as if we had an eternity ...
How does it really say: "We all have two lives - the second begins when we discover that we only have one life." It is like the so-called Edward's Law: Confronted with our own finitude, we immediately use our precious time better. Limits not only make you more productive - such an ultimatum can also have a meaningful effect.
Live every day as if it were your last! - You may not have to go that far. With the help of the question you can usually see very well what you are wasting your time with and whether the path you are currently taking is actually the right one and will lead you to exactly the goal you have chosen.
Meaning of life sayings, aphorisms and quotes
If you need some inspiration in your search for meaning in addition to the above questions: The following meaning of life sayings, aphorisms and quotations can also provide valuable suggestions ...
We try to fathom the meaning of life and often forget to give meaning to life. Franz Kern
Measure your lifetime; it is not enough for so many things. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
The greatest concern of man is to know how to properly fulfill his place in creation and to understand correctly what one has to be in order to be human. Immanuel Kant
What can give meaning and fulfillment to one's own life is giving something to others and standing up for one another. Richard von Weizsäcker
I'm not doing myself good if I don't expect anything from myself. Joachim Gauck
Do not worry about what may come, do not cry about what will pass; but be careful not to lose yourself and weep when you drift along in the flow of time without carrying heaven within you Friedrich Ernst Daniel Schleiermacher
The more a person thought, the more beautiful and useful deeds he did, the longer he lived. Frederick the Great
The life span is the same whether you spend it laughing or crying. Chinese proverb
Anyone who neglects his soul is cheating on the meaning of life. Erich Limpach
Some people think up adventures and whole novels and make up their lives so that they can at least live in this way as they wish. Fyodor Michailowitsch Dostoevsky
Christmas is not a bad occasion to think for a moment and ask yourself what is really important. Roman Duke
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Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.
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