What do you think it takes to live a happy life?
Many people believe that things such as money or fame can give them happiness. But the fact is: you can be wildly successful on the outside but still feel empty inside. There are countless stories of people like that.
We, of course, must not fall into that trap. So what should we do?
I recently read an interesting statement in the blink of Are You Fully Charged?:
Happiness isn’t something you can achieve by seeking it; rather, happiness is a by-product of living a meaningful life.
I completely agree. Happiness is a by-product of living a meaningful life. If your life is meaningful, you will be happy. But if it isn’t, there will be a void within you.
The question then is how to live a meaningful life.
My conclusion—based on my observation and experience—is this: meaning comes from contributing to a cause that matters to you. If you think you are making a difference in something that matters to you, your life will be meaningful.
There are two aspects of it:
- Meaning comes from giving. It doesn’t come from what you get, but what you give.
- Meaning has to do with a cause that matters to you. It has to do with something that resonates with your heart.
Based on these, here are four steps to living a meaningful life:
1. Find your cause.
Before anything else, you should find your cause. A good way to find it is by looking at your dissatisfaction. What is it that makes you dissatisfied about the world? What is it that makes you wish you could change it?
In my case, my dissatisfaction is seeing people live below their potential. I believe that everyone has a seed of greatness within, and it bothers me to see people (including myself) not living up to that. This has become my cause.
2. Create your mission statement.
After finding your cause, you should create a mission statement. Your mission, of course, is to improve the situation that makes you dissatisfied. But you need to put that into words.
To make it easier to remember, make it ten words or less. In my case, my mission statement is “helping people live life to the fullest.”
3. Identify your strengths.
Next, you should figure out how you can contribute to your cause. This requires you to identify your personal strengths. What are the things that you are good at? What are the things that you can do better than other people?
Your strengths form the basis of your contribution. Why? Because they signal the unique value that only you can give.
A good way to identify your strengths is by taking a multiple intelligence test.
4. Use your strengths to contribute.
After identifying your strengths, you should find how you can use them to contribute to your cause. In my case, my multiple intelligence test shows that I’m strong in linguistic intelligence, so blogging is a good way for me to contribute. I’m also strong in logical-mathematical intelligence, so I’ve created apps such as HabitMaster.
Find your strengths and apply them to your cause. As Douglas Patel once said: “True happiness involves the full use of one’s power and talents.”
If you apply these four steps, your life will be meaningful. And, as a by-product of that, you will find happiness.
Photo by Uditha Wickramanayaka