What is the meaning of life?
As someone who loves ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ by the late great Douglas Adams, I must confess that the answer “forty-two” immediately sprang to mind when considering the great question “Of Life, the Universe and Everything.” I’m pleased that it did though because it served as a great reminder that you need to know what the question actually is, in order to know what the answer means! And for me this age-old question designed to make you think, is actually about just that — thinking! In particular, the realization that what we choose to think about in life ultimately determines the meaning we give it.
We all construct a life of meaning through our thinking; however, for many people this does not equate to a meaningful life in the general sense of the term i.e. a life full of purpose, personal fulfillment, positive self-worth, happiness and well-being etc. Too many people spend far too much time during the course of their lives thinking about, and thereby giving meaning to, things of staggering unimportance. The inimitable poet and novelist Charles Bukowski understood this more than most when he wrote that “We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing”.
We think in ways that lend credence to the mundane and we waste time thinking about people who genuinely deserve nothing other than our indifference. We regularly think about things that just don’t matter in our lives when we could be thinking about things that really do. For anybody hoping to pursue a more meaningful life, this kind of thinking must be the exception, not the rule and the good news; as Martin Seligman points out, is that: “Habits of thinking need not be forever. One of the most significant findings in psychology in the last twenty years is that individuals can choose the way they think.”
Now there’s something to think about as you ponder the meaning of life.
~David Webb is a passionate promoter of psychology through social media, bestselling author and the owner, writer and host of www.All-About-Psychology.Com
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