Should I Search for Meaning or Let It Come to Me?

In Samuel Beckett’s masterpiece Ready for Godot, two characters watch for a person they each declare to know however whom neither would be capable of acknowledge. As they wait, the characters try and distract and divert themselves from a horrible silence poised to devour them of their anxious, confused state. This isn’t a cheery play, actually, as hinted at by the next summation of human existence: 


“They provide start astride of a grave, the sunshine gleams an on the spot, then it’s evening as soon as extra.”


When psychologists examine which means in life, they don’t assume that there’s a which means to life, the universe, and every little thing. We now have noticed, nonetheless, that any particular person life will be made significant. Too typically, nonetheless, it looks like individuals behave like Beckett’s characters, passively ready for some which means they may not even acknowledge to poke them within the chest and shout, “I’m right here!”

Whether or not or not you consider that there’s a which means ready on the market for you, and a function behind our lives and universe, there’s nice worth in being the lively writer of your life’s story. Maybe your success lies in trying to find—not ready for—your which means in life.

Right here’s a partial record of the issues which may come on the lookout for you, the issues you’ll be able to watch for and never actively search:

  • Termites!
  • Catalogues! (Who doesn’t like three or 4 hundred kilos of shiny, environmentally irresponsible unsolicited mail each week!)
  • Tantalizing leads on unbelievable male enhancement merchandise!
  • Higher respiratory infections!
  • Individuals who have quite a bit to get off their chests throughout a trans-Pacific flight!


Sounds superior! In fact, you would possibly suppose this record misses some cool issues. Gained’t real love come discover me? Doesn’t my future lie in watch for me like a flasher in Central Park? I’d hazard a guess that you simply’ve seen too many Nineteen Eighties films concerning the quiet loner who—via the sheer persistence of their hermit-like affection for isolation—takes the most well liked senior to promenade. This life doesn’t appear to reward passive, clingy ways. Social individuals are happier, individuals who really feel assured they will accomplish necessary targets are happier, and if you find yourself motivated to pursue good issues—versus keep away from unhealthy issues—you’re happier, too. 

Viktor Frankl, inspirational figurehead for many people psychologists, inspired us all to exit into the world and search the aim that awaits us. Regardless of this cost, and all of the proof that exercise is healthier than passivity, I’ve present in examine after examine that—at the very least in America—the seek for which means appears to be a reasonably anxious, depressing exercise for most individuals. How can this be?

Individuals appear to want secure, dependable methods to know the world round them. We crave certainty, and we freak out once we lose that uncertainty and discover ourselves confronting a chaotic mess, void of which means. Sadly, it seems we’d moderately be SURE than RIGHT!

The factor is, although, we don’t need to really feel this manner about which means. My analysis exhibits two traits. First, people who find themselves open-minded and lively of their lifestyle appear to seek for which means of their lives in a constructive and wholesome approach. Second, individuals who already really feel their lives are wealthy in which means and who’re in search of deeper which means are extra glad with their lives. To me, this analysis means that having an open, curious, inquisitive thirst for locating deeper, richer which means in your life may also help you construct the life you need.

The perfect issues in life typically require us to take dangers. After we take the chance of loving somebody, we make ourselves weak to loss and damage. But, with out that threat, we lose out on the success that comes from becoming a member of one other particular person in a shared journey. It’s no completely different with discovering a significant profession or calling, discovering a approach you’ll be able to assist make the world a greater place, or studying the right way to turn into a greater particular person. Remodel the uncertainty and confusion into curiosity, and you’ll actively discover which means throughout you.


Don’t watch for which means, seek for it.


Be a part of Michael Steger on Tuesday, February 21, at 12:00 pm ET for “Changing into Ourselves: Methods to Develop via the Lens of Which means,” a part of the WBI/JCC Constructive Psychology Hour sequence. Register now.


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