“It’s not what we get. But who we become, what we contribute…that gives meaning to our lives.” – Tony Robbins, American advisor to leaders, life coach, author and motivational speaker (born 1960)
As a society, we’re all about consuming, it seems. We want and we strive and when we get what we’re after, we’re not very often satisfied. Could it be that the compulsive desire to acquire is robbing us of being able to discover the meaning in life? After all, what truly matters to us isn’t likely that shiny new car in the driveway or having so much money that cost is no object. It is, however, likely tied to the relationships we have with others, how we feel when we see our child’s smile of delight, the overwhelming awe we experience when we see nature’s majesty. There are, in fact, so many components of life’s meaning that we can never run out of reasons to give thanks and appreciate this gift we’ve been given.
And that gift doesn’t involve material possessions. Those are extraneous things and, in the scheme of things, not really that important after all.
Granted, everyone feels a certain amount of pleasure over their “stuff.” We’re humans, after all, and we like to have things around us that bring us comfort – a favorite chair, our collection of books, good food, soft pillows upon which to rest our head, and so on. But these neither define us nor amount to much if they’re gone. They’ll simply be replaced by something else. What does endure and what does matter is who we are, how we share our lives with others and what we want to leave as a legacy. Here is where the meaning of life is so important. Find what truly matters and give every energy toward making it happen.
The best part of giving meaning to your life is that it is endlessly rewarding. In the doing, we receive. In taking action toward what matters, what inspires and motivates and pushes us forward – even in the face of difficulties – we feel truly alive. This is the best of our existence, living a life that we feel is worthwhile and for which we hold deep respect and gratitude. It does involve getting outside ourselves and our sometimes petty fixations and selfish tendencies, but that’s all the more reason to do something for someone else that helps them in some way. The truth is that it benefits us as much as it does the recipient.
Remember the adage, “To give is better than to receive.” Then live by these words. This will give meaning to your life each and every day.