“What is the Meaning of Life?”
That’s ‘the’ question. At least, it’s the one we all hear.
Let’s see how it feels to ask some other, equally valid forms of the question.
In simply knowing these questions—feeling familiar and curious about them—you will achieve a higher level of consideration of meaning in life.So play with them! Put them on your radar. Go through them, perhaps with a friend or family member. Ask, “Tell me more about that” and “What else?”
For nearly everyone, there is plenty of room to develop in our consideration of these questions. That’s great! Personal growth is the stuff of life, and this website aims to help YOU develop YOUR answers more fully.
This site does not advocate any particular spiritual (or non) tradition.
Get the Printouts!
If you’d like, you can print these questions as PDF’s. The first of the two is a few of the focused questions, with blanks for you to write. The second is a more extensive list, which can use however you’d like.
What is a life very well-lived?
Who am I? What do I love? What is love? How do I love more? How can I live my best life?
What are the qualities that make my life most worth living?
Looking back from the end of my life, what will I reflect on most fondly?
When I really think about it, what truly matters to me?
What top 10 qualities would you hope your children would have in their lives?
Is life about being happy? Am I happy?
Since death alone is certain, and the time of death uncertain, what should I do?
If money and fear were not hurdles, what would my life look like in 5 years? 10 years?
What validates your life and feeds your soul?
Does life have a purpose? What's mine?
What wants to enter the world through me?
When (if) I really stop and think about the big, big, BIGGEST picture of life, I often think about ______, ______, ______, ______ .
(bonus) 3 things I’ll do/start within 1 week are ______, ______, ______ . . .
Describe your perfect day, full of meaning and joy.
→What about a perfect year?
What are the very most precious things to you?
→Why, for each, are they so precious to you?
Think of someone's life you really admire . . . not because of pure fame, or fortune, although those may be present. People who have lived or are living a full, joyous life that ``fires on all cylinders.`` Someone who sucked the juice out of life, and drank fully of the nectar of life. How does that person's life match up (and not) to the 4 cornerstones of a meaningful life?
How much juice might you be able to squeeze out of the fruit of life? What might bring the corners of your mouth up to their fullest potential of joy/contentment/satisfaction?
Imagine what you see as your full potential (not miracle/impossible) -- what would you look like, be thinking, be doing, where, with whom?
What's the point of it all? What does that mean? What does it really mean? What does that look like, in all facets of life?
What is the thing in the world that brings you the most joy? What are the next 4 things?
So where am I from & where am I going? What do I stand for? What values do I live by?
What is my plan & what are my intentions?
Where do I belong, what is my calling and what does fulfillment look like to me?
What concerns me and what inspires me?
Family structure, parental background, relationship status, socio-economic circumstance, religion, nationality, education, age are all inconsequential identifiers to who I am NOW and my experience of life NOW. These crude categories are just the boxes we use to socially model one another, and they exist as an attempt to empathize and understand the ‘other’ from the ‘self’; helping us establish common ground and familiarity with that which is unknown; they aren’t, however, who I am!
Suffice to say, I am more than these empty tick-boxes. I am more than these by-products of division and classification. Who am I beyond my nationality, my socio-economic background, my age, my qualifications, my family? Where’s the substance, what makes me up to be this person I profess to being?
to generate wonder, excitement, and insight
- What do you want to learn?
- What are you almost always excited to do?
- Who do you want to be around?
- What is something you’ve done that you are very proud of?
- 5 things you are most proud of (past), and 5 for the future?
- If you were guaranteed to realistically succeed, what would you do?
- What does your best self look like in 5 years?
- What is something you always enjoyed as a child that you haven’t done in a long time?
- What is something you would never regret trying to do? Even if it ended in disaster?
- You’re giving a commencement speech 20 years from now. What are you telling the graduates about and what did you accomplish for them to want to hear that from you?
- What do you love so much you would pay to do it as an occupation?
- What does your 100 year-old self tell you to do with your life now, and in the next 10 years?
- Who are your heroes?
- What would you do if no one would judge you?
- What is the most important problem you could work on right now?
- What are things you do NOT want for yourself / your life? After listing them, write down their opposites. (Ie. “I don’t want to be poor.” → “I want financial freedom.”)
- What would the highest version of myself do?
- Is this it? Is this what life is about? Is this all there is? What am I leaving on the table that I might want to pick up? How can I lead my best life now?
- If you had 5 days a week (3 weekdays and 2 weekend days) that magically had 32 waking hours in them instead of 16, what would you do with the extra, bonus time?
“The question would be: ‘What mastery can you offer?’ So have a friend of yours ask that question of you five times, and you’ll be sort of surprised at, by the fifth time you get asked that question, and you’ve had to come up with four other answers before that, what kind of revelation you may have in this archaeological dig.” – Chip Conley
You walk into a funeral, look around and realize it’s YOUR funeral. (Yikes!)
You take a seat and look around at all the people there to celebrate you and your life. (Imagine that for a moment if you feel so inspired.)
Then you listen to some eulogies.
The exercise: Who says what? What does your spouse or significant other say? Your kids? Your friends? Your colleagues? Random people you may have helped at some point in your life?
Think about that. Write it down.
What qualities do they mention? What VIRTUES do you want to remembered for? Your kindness? Your presence? Your generosity? Your courage? Your ability to inspire others? Your creativity? Your commitment? What is it for you?
Feeling high on the questions of life?
Revisiting these questions from time to time over the days, months, and years will improve your level of consideration of meaning in life.
“Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart… Try to love the questions themselves… Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given because you would not be able to live them — and the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answers.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke