Title: The Power of Meaning
I just want to be happy.
For many, this is the ultimate goal.
Emily Smith presents a different perspective, what if happiness isn’t what we really need, but rather meaning?
Research from the University of Virginia by Professor Shige Oishi found that happiness, or the lack thereof, doesn’t predict the likelihood of suicide as much as meaning, or the lack thereof, does.
For example, having children is often hallmarked as one of the most meaningful moments in life, but it’s also associated with lower levels of happiness.
A meaningful life corresponded with being a “giver” contributing to something beyond the self. This can turn the most tedious tasks, which we might not say give us happiness, into something purposeful when you see it benefiting a greater purpose or people you love.
In 1962, JFK was visiting NASA and asked a janitor “What are you doing?” he replies, “Helping put a man on the moon.” This is a perspective filled with meaning, one we can all benefit from.
Your life may be easier without the most difficult parts, but that doesn’t mean it will be better.
Happiness without meaning often feels shallow.
“People with meaningful work view their jobs as a way to help others – a service mindset.” – Adam Grant