Should We Pursue Meaning…or Happiness?

What is more important for us to pursue in life: meaning…or happiness?

You’ll find the answer to that question in this article.

Many people can’t cope with today’s pace of change and amount of stress, both of which overwhelm us in every aspect of our lives: in the workplace, in our family lives, in the technology we use every day and in our social and cultural environments.

People want to be happy and satisfied with their lives—but they aren’t.

Some people have found happiness in the wrong places: abusing alcohol, medications or illegal drugs.

To feel happy and satisfied, they consistently evaluate their position in the world, looking for “more of everything,” just to feel happier today than they were yesterday.

Is pursuing happiness the right decision?

Probably not, according to experts in the field of psychology: Focusing only on achieving happiness in life is self-defeating!

Why not pursue “meaning”—not just happiness?

The search for meaning, no matter your position in life, is a worthwhile endeavour.

There may be no better expert on the subject of meaning than Dr. Viktor Frankl, author of the classic bestsellers, Man’s Search for Meaning and The Will to Meaning.

By reading his books and those by other authors who have written on this topic, we can come to understand that meaningful activities generate satisfaction and a apositive approach to life.

When we have a purpose in life, we feel better, socially more connected to everyone around us and sufficiently mentally fit to cope with everyday stress.

Developing a sense of self and being with people we love and who love us will give our lives more meaning.

If we want to be satisfied with life, we need to change our definition of happiness.

Happiness shouldn’t be defined as consisting only of pleasure, material possessions, gratification and having more and more of “everything.” It should rather be defined as having meaning and fulfillment in life as well as deep feelings of belonging to this world.

In other words, live a life that makes you feel as though you matter.

When we find meaning in life, we make something bigger than ourselves. When we make meaning, we feel alive. That’s how life should be: bigger than us. Seeking only happiness will make us more lonely, sad and depressed.

So, how do we find meaning and purpose in life?

In his book, The Doctor and the Soul, Dr. Frankl said, “There are three main avenues by which one arrives at meaning in life:

Creating a work or doing a deed

Experiencing something or encountering someone

Facing a fate one cannot change.

In no way is suffering necessary to find meaning.”

Do you want to be happy in life?

Then pursue meaning. Happiness will follow.