On Becoming Meaningful
I was just thinking, would the world miss me if I were gone? Have you ever thought about this question? I have thought about this question more than once. Just this morning I listened to a podcast in which Seth Godin argued that if we take a hard look at the work we create, we can answer this question. Are we doing repetitive work, using a reliable proven system that cannot fail. Or are we trying to unfold, to be more of ourselves and in this process bring more meaning into our lives.
To be meaningful, Seth says someone will have to miss you when you are gone and we are not talking love ones. You will have to make things that bring about change to become meaningful. On the other hand, to have meaning in your life is to describe what you feel when you’re doing something meaningful. It suggests you can find meaning in whatever you are doing if it is art and if it is something you are willing to chance failure on.
This is a great beginning-of-a-New Year-type nugget to chew on. Because the people who are the happiest and the most successful, Seth goes on to say, are people who other people feel matter. Think about that. To be one of these people, you must bring about change. This can be done only if you are willing to fail. You must be a maker, do your work AND come to terms with the idea that “This might not work.”
I have often said I am not afraid to fail. But it’s probably more truthful to say that even when I am afraid, I do it anyway. In this Connected Economy with our edited lives of selective reporting, it is harder to look outside oneself and tell when this is true for others. But you can know for yourself.
My experience confirms Godin’s suggestion that the best barometer on whether we are living a meaningful life is when we feel that what we are doing has meaning. That is generally when we are in the process of doing it.
So amidst the beginning of the year conversations about our resolve to change, my focus is on living and breathing meaning into my life, knowing full well that some of my decisions may or may not work. But I am willing to go for it because of how it makes me feel.
What matters to you? What are you doing to have meaning in your life and to become meaningful?