When Life Feels Meaningless
…just do one thing
Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.
We like to read and write about the meaning of life, about setting goals and dreaming big. Life can be full of happiness and fulfillment every day! …or so say the salespeople and televangelists.
Maybe, for some people, this is true.
But the reality is that for many of us, much of the time, life is a slog.
We wake up, we brush our teeth, we eat breakfast, we go to school/work, we come back, we go to sleep, and start over.
Occasionally, unexpected life events interrupts: a birth, a death, a wedding, a tragedy. A meeting with friends, a car accident, a new movie.
But after that, life returns to its daily grind.
At least 40% of our actions are habit. And that’s as it must be — if our brains had to work to decide every single one of the thousands of actions we must perform every day, they would fry.
But sometimes, the daily grind feels hopeless. Sometimes we lose sight of it all. Sometimes, some of us suffer nervous breakdowns, mid-life crises, existential disasters.
So how do we supercede the overwhelm of our mindlessly habitual lives?
There is ONE thing you can do to avoid staying in the hamster wheel of doom:
Have a meaningful exchange with someone you love. Every. Single. Day.
For some, this could mean a nightly ritual of reading a book and snuggling with your children before bed.
Or having dinner with your parents every night.
Or calling a family member who lives far away every evening.
Or praying to God every morning.
DO JUST ONE THING. Not two, or twenty. But ALWAYS do that thing. EVERY day.
Don’t make it complicated. But do make it nonnegotiable.
Never let a day go by without touching base with at least one loved one.
The importance of connection
Humans are extremely relational creatures.
If we cannot connect with people, we will turn to fantasy (movies, video games, reality TV, novels) and addiction (drugs, alcohol, food, shopping).
If you go long enough without any meaningful connections with anyone, everything will suffer: your perspective, your health, your productivity, your life. And because we are all a part of the fabric of humanity, your pain and unhealthiness will hurt others too.
From another perspective, if you don’t want to be negatively impacted by others’ lack of connection, then make an effort to connect to them. If you are more or less healthy, you make the first move.
Loneliness is one of the most dangerous, destructive forces in life. It convinces us that we are unloveable, that others are untrustworthy, that life is not worth living.
But if you are lonely, you really aren’t alone. There are more of us than you think. If only we could find each other — more importantly, trust each other. If you are not lonely, look out for others — someone around you almost certainly is. (And they might not be the ones you expect).
We all have good days — when everything is going right, when we are happy and content and doing good and enjoying life.
But not every day is like that. In fact, most aren’t.
And they will never be.
Life isn’t made up of endless highs. But it doesn’t have to be an eternal valley either. We have to find the middle, the balance between two extremes.
We do this by connecting with someone — someone to give us a different perspective, someone to remind us that life means something.
Unlike other forms of life, human beings are very meaning-focused. In fact, Victor Frankl once said
Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.
Actually, to be more specific, I’d tweak this quote a little:
Those who have a ‘who’ to live for, can bear with almost any ‘how’
Life is meaningful, but we must work not to lose track of the meaning in the grind of everyday life.
We have to fight to get back and keep the right perspective. Every day.
If we don’t, we risk ill health, ennui, depression, possibly even death.
But when we make it a priority to connect to a loved one every day, then no matter how crazy life gets, we will always be able to face it with a smile.
Ready to be a Brilliant Writer?
I’ve created The Brilliant Writer Checklist to help you clarify your message, reach more readers, and change the world with your words.