This website — its models, collections, and presentation — are a project of Dr. Randall Grayson.
The contents and ideas here are a culmination of his:
- 25 years of professional psychology, focused on human development
- Taught at 4 colleges/universities
- Reading 1000+ books on human development, and meaning/purpose/happiness
- Level 2 (of 3) certified in the Gottman Method
- Reading thousands of scientific journal articles
- Attending dozens of workshops and professional trainings, post-doctorate
- 2000+ people interviewed about themselves and their meaning; teens to 90+, dozens of countries. Nearly 800 in a 2+ hour live, one-on-one interview format.
- Reading over 130 magazines per year, mostly from subscriptions, and some random retail shelf picks as well
- Reading dozens of blogs each month
- Daily, intentional, lived-experience with dozens of adults and children
- WORKING on meaning and happiness (this site and personally)
Dr. Grayson works with a team of collaborators from fields such as psychology, therapy, education, marketing, English, and astrobiology.
Together, well over 20,000 hours of work have been invested in this project.
How have others described AMeaningOfLife.org?
“What if you could custom create 50 top-notch books & workbooks related to optimal living, have them all “speak”/relate/inter-relate to one another seamlessly, be multimedia, be packed with tools and exercises? You can even take an assessment to see what parts in this wealth of wisdom are most relevant to you.”
“It gives you the prompts to ask deeper, perhaps a little scary, questions that can transform your life. It’s a treasure trove of science-backed wisdom that can help you discover what is working and what isn’t working in your life, and empowers and inspires you to choose differently. It’s an ADVENTURE.”
“It’s like being supported as you take life by the horns, wrestle with the sticky, sweet, and sour; drink of elixirs at the table of evidence, science-based wisdom, develop mastery of your emotions and happiness, and empower yourself for the journey you deserve.”
The site aims to be well-informed on research, humble in the face of diversity, and compatible with the many modes of human flourishing. If you have any feedback, please share.
Living well is no small task. Helping YOU live well is no small thing either.
There is no one-way route through the website’s content. Think of being here like entering an interactive museum: There are many exhibits, each curated and informative. The exhibits help you practice what you’re learning, and there are even resources to take home. You can keep coming back—the museum is diverse and always worth practicing—and each time you’ll grow a bit wiser.
A few of our hopes for our readers:
- Understand and apply the science of purpose
- Create a deeper, more joyful relationship with yourself and others
- Adopt helpful models for thinking about well-being
- Touch the depths of gratitude, awe, and forgiveness
- Befriend your fear, yourself, and others to create connection, options, and awesomeness
- Utilize the science of friendship, dating, and long-term relationships to deepen the love and joy in your life
- Become more intimate with grief, death, loss, and dying before you’re in bed with them
- Visit the “town of challenge” and tour it as a visiting scholar and practitioner so you’re more capable next time life throws you a curve ball (or a boulder)
- Get clear about your relationship with money, so you can use it without it using you
A few ways to think about the site:
- An interactive encyclopedia of wisdom.
- A road atlas for the diverse challenges of life.
- A compendium of scientifically informed, psychological insight.
- Personalized solutions for a modern wide-scale crisis of meaning.
- A collection of resources that optimize for a ‘happy,’ meaningful life.
- Understanding and tools to utilize positive psychology to live life to its fullest.
- A guide to productively, scientifically approaching “the question,” cuddling up to it, and wisely and courageously CREATING a life worth living.
The truth is, you don’t need this website to live a good life. You can grow, discover, and craft a rich and beautiful life all on your own. We haven’t written this to ‘save you’ or ‘make you see the light.’ Rather, our goal is to inspire people to discover what deep, satisfying well-being looks like, unique to them, and for that inspiration to be backed up by research.
Your tax-deductible donations help us expand our offerings and reach a wider audience. Thanks so much for considering donating to the project!
The Story of the Site
A note from Dr. Grayson:
“In the 8th grade, I wrote a paper called “Psyched Out by Psychology.” That title referred to the 14 more years of education ahead of me to obtain a doctorate. Daunting. I spent much of my time living a modern childhood — watching media, playing video games, and other idle activities.
In 11th grade, I shattered three cervical vertebrae on the side of a mountain — I broke my neck; I was a complete quadriplegic. I couldn’t breathe well enough to speak, and, I imagine, like hospice patients and those close to death, I felt the unearthly ability to let go of life as a final act of will.
I wanted to experience life and love, and I felt that even with total paralysis, I had something yet to give. I chose life. It was a painful, excruciating, nearly unbearable experience and journey.
I persisted as actually LIVING life was the promise. With unbounded passion and little knowledge, I bounced around and made many mistakes, both humorous and costly. With doctoral and other studies, I learned (and am learning) what a meaningful, flourishing life could look like in its kaleidoscopic glory.
About 25 years ago, I began asking people from all walks of life and countries what made their lives meaningful, and what was a life well-lived. Working intensely, often residentially, with thousands of adults and even more children, my theoretical and grounded research became rooted in experience.
When my children were conceived and my father died in short succession, I sped up the process of putting together the structure and content of this website:
- the guide I wish I had while growing up, and through adulthood
- a guide/gift to my children
- an honoring of my father’s work and life
- and hopefully a service to humanity
I hope that these science-based meta-frameworks, ideas, practices, and worksheets enable you to:
- Frame and understand your experience of life
- Organize your experiences
- Inform your choices
- and bring meaning and purpose to your life
Some trivia about Dr. Grayson
- I broke (shattered) my neck when I was 16 years old (C 4, 5, 6), and was completely quadriplegic. It took about 18 months to largely recover; numerous limitations remain, although they would not be readily observable.
- I’ve spent nearly 3 years traveling to over two dozen countries
- I went on 100 dates a month while also working full time, sleeping well, eating well, and exercising.
- I’ve been fired 5 times, yet not in the last 20 years.
- I’ve never owned a cell phone. And, I have never originated a text! That said, I am pretty guru-like in my tech knowledge, from hardware to software, and I send/receive about 100 e-mails a day. I can physically and software build/repair any computer from scratch.
- I’ve officiated 5 weddings by special request
- I enjoy archery, broad-sword fighting (German tradition), native flute, balloon sculpture, and ferrets.
- I was involved in two high-speed car chases (not from police), one over 100mph in Los Angeles.
- I enjoy haunted houses, but I have yet to find a really good one, so I create my own experiences.
- I owned a 9-foot boa named cuddles, and once took a 3-foot alligator I owned to show-and-tell at school.
- I’ve read over 4000 short stories (from classic to modern), and have collected 100 favorites into a personal anthology by theme, which will one day be published.
- I have held 32 jobs and have worked since I was 12 years old. Some of my less typical jobs include: massage therapist in fitness club, direct-care worker with autistics, computer systems engineer, training coordinator and crisis manager, camp counselor, crew on a hundred-year-old tall ship, mattress mover, office associate, computer applications instructor, program evaluation research with massage, street artist with balloon animals, hypnotist, Pizza Hut delivery driver (was once invited to a Wiccan ceremony while delivering a pizza), cowboy on a ranch, landscaper, software sales person, house painter, and sheep shearer.
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The information on this website is not a substitute for the knowledge, skill, or judgment of qualified healthcare professionals. If you have any health or medical questions or concerns, please consult a physician or other healthcare professional. This site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any condition.