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It’s a great thing to make a good income, to be successful in your career, to be materially comfortable in life, and to achieve success across all the conventional dimensions across which success is usually measured.
In fact, it’s probably not much of an exaggeration to say that these are things that everyone, by and large, wants.
But, is it enough just to have a healthy bank account, a good job, and a set of nice furniture? Ultimately, isn’t everyone also looking for some kind of “meaning”, that transcends the purely material dimensions of life?
The answers certainly seems to be “yes”, when you consider all of the various ideologies, belief systems, campaigns, and social goals that people devote themselves to. Ultimately, it seems reasonable to assume that everyone would like to do something with their life that they find “meaningful”, and that will go some way towards leaving a positive mark behind once they have moved on.
But what exactly does it take to do something “meaningful”? Is it as simple as finding some cause that resonates with you, and signing up at the nearest branch, of the nearest organisation, that deals in that particular issue?
Well, here are some tips and thoughts on the subject for you to mull over.
Identify the subject you’re “passionate” about, or that really hits home for you
The first thing to do when you want to do something meaningful, is – of course – to actually identify a subject that you’re “passionate” about and find meaningful in the first place.
This might seem like the kind of point that goes without saying, but it is certainly not rare for people who feel that their lives are missing a sense of meaning, to go looking for any cause that seems vaguely worthwhile – rather than actually taking the time to identify a cause that really hits home for them.
Of course, if the subject that you are focusing on, and investing your time and energy in, is one that you’re actually passionate about yourself – and that actually has some real significance in your own life – you are much more likely to be able to do something meaningful with that spark of motivation.
You’re also likely to be more consistent, honest, and upstanding – not to mention effective – in terms of how you engage with the topic.
Focus on an “organise your own domain first”, “grassroots” approach making an impact
It’s natural that when people identify something that they believe to be an issue with society, broadly, they want to rush out and campaign in order to set things right – without a moment’s hesitation.
Sometimes, this might be the correct response. At other times, however, prematurely rushing out to “change the world” may be extremely unproductive, or even destructive. There are certainly no shortage of political and religious ideologues throughout history, who have caused a lot of mayhem and sorrow in the attempt to create utopia from the top-down.
However you ultimately end up engaging with a particular subject, if you want to do something “meaningful” with your life, you should always take the first steps in your own personal domain.
First and foremost, ask yourself the question; “am I living in line with my values?” If the answer is “no”, it is likely that you are causing yourself some serious distress, and sabotaging your own efforts to live a meaningful life.
So, begin by reviewing your own habits, routines, and assumptions about the world. Take steps to correct these and put them in order.
Once you feel that you have got yourself to a decent standard, see how you can spread that positive energy into the world around you, at the smallest, and most local level first. Is your village, town, or neighbourhood, lacking some support group or resource that you find especially important? Then why not take steps to create it yourself? And before you even get to that point, how are things going with your family and friends?
It can seem counterintuitive at first, but one of the most consistently effective ways to create something meaningful, is to focus on building things that you appreciate and care about “from the grassroots up.”
Identify and utilise technologies that can help you to exert a greater impact
Certain technologies may have a disproportionately negative overall effect on our collective well-being, while certain other technologies may have a disproportionately positive effect.
In the case of many technologies, however, the best way to think about them may be as “force multipliers.” That is – as things that can increase the energy and impact with which you are already doing certain things.
Of course, it will be up to you to actually identify which technologies fall into which camp. It certainly doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on lists such as: https://www.intellectsoft.net/blog/tech-trends-2019/ to see what new innovations the market has in store.
It may be, that in your case, a variety of writing software – such as Scrivener – can dramatically increase your ability to be effective in the world. Then again, maybe a certain item of furniture will suddenly give you the ability to work in comfort, for several more hours a day.
In any event, if you are striving to do and create something meaningful – it pays to identify and utilise those technologies that can help you to exert a greater impact.
Work sustainably, and with attention to your well-being
Often, when people come across topics that move them, they become more or less “obsessed” with working around the clock to produce, or contribute to something “meaningful.”
The problem with “working around the clock,” however, is that — sooner later — you are going to hit a wall and reach the point of absolute burnout.
The most meaningful things in life are rarely accomplished by means of a short, all-out and intense effort. More often, they are the result of consistent work put in over a significant length of time.
If you want to do something “meaningful” with your life – presumably you are going to want to keep doing that meaningful thing for the foreseeable future, not just for a couple of weeks, or even a couple of months.
So – work sustainably, and with attention to your well-being. This is essential, if you want to really achieve things worth achieving, over the long term.