This article originally surfaced from Kim Pong:
If you feel that your life has no meaning and purpose, then could it be that whatever you are doing up to now, they have been meaningless and frivolous?
Now, that’s harsh. But possibly true. And I learned that from Netflix. Haha. Go ahead. Judge me.
When a man does not know what harbour he is making for, no wind is the right wind.
Stoic Philosopher, Seneca
A plant grows towards the sun and thrive. Just as your life grows towards its meaning and abounds in purpose and hope.
If there is no sun, the plant dies. But if there is no meaning or purpose in your life, you will not die but you are not alive either. While you are alive, you can choose to be either fully alive or not alive at all. But when you die, you are fully dead. You have no choice.
So for you and I to live our lives with meaning, it is a choice that we must make ourselves. To seek meaning is choosing being fully alive.
So what is the meaning for your life? How do you find it?
I am not a Life-Finding-Meaning guru. But I am passionate about helping people find their life’s meaning and have the personal experience helping myself and others find it.
There are no easy ways or straight forward formulas. There are no “5 Steps” or “3 Proven Habits” or “Do This And You Will …”.
Because everyone of us is designed differently, and there is no one life that is quite like another. That is where both the challenge and the joy of find life’s meaning exist. How we find meaning in our lives is not through prescribed steps but determined by our own unique learning behaviors, perspectives, experiences and backgrounds.
Finding meaning in our lives is therefore something that we do intentionally, frequently and over time. It is a Personal Journey, guided by a Process and focused on Purpose.
Finding meaning in your life requires time. Lots of it. It never really quite end because it is a personal journey that you will take throughout your lifetime.
Time is a teacher.
As a teacher, you only need to look back and let it show you what it has been teaching you – what you are good at, not so good at, what often energises you, what you have been given, what you have done with what you have been given, etc.
It is almost like archeology.
Intentional. Frequent. Over time.
As you look back, you will be chipping away a little bit at a time. Revealing and assembling the chronological life jigsaw puzzles. Then discovering through the years what have always fired you up, and continued to remain steadfast, defiantly alive, pulsating and smouldering. These are clear and visible clues to your’s life’s meaning.
To be, to do, and to be fully alive.
What I Learned About Myself
In my own personal journey, I have learned a few things about myself as I looked back: –
- I am a maverick. Alexander Pope an English poet, wrote in 1711 “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”. Perhaps in his views then, angels would always be right. But to me, were the angels always right? And I may be foolish occasionally, but I am no fool. I often walk in paths less travelled, hold views less readily accepted by others and do things in ways that are deemed “different”. While they do not make me right or popular all the time, they do constantly make me alive. And when I am right, oh my! It makes it all worth it!
- I am deeply passionate. I know many concerns, I am sensitive to some burdens but there are only a few things that truly move me. This has not make me more dispassionate about things outside of this small list of mine, but it has engaged me to be more deeply passionate and committed to that small list.
- Knowing who and what I am gave me courage to becoming what I am to be. So when I started StrengthsAsia, I did it on a simple premise – And that is transforming people through who they already are and not who they are not. And how’s that premise going? As Yoda would have said, “Going very well, the premise is. Yessss.”
Having a tested process will definitely aid you in finding the meaning of your life.
This is not a mousetrap, a magic potion or a best practice. But it is a framework, a guide or a compass if you like. It is a process that will help you collect, crunch and connect your life’s data points leading to your search for meaning and purpose.
Here are some processes that you can look into:-
- Halftime – Started by Bob Buford, Halftime has programs that can help you go from success to significance.
- Designing Your Life – Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help you create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling
- The REFRAME Masterclass – Created and facilitated by Kim Pong (that’s me!), it is a 2-Day program that helps you discover your strengths, find your passion and play your best role. It helps you reframe the very best of who you are to a life that has greater joy, engagement and meaning.
Finding meaning is about knowing your unique purpose. It is your place in the world. It is almost tailor made for you and something that you could possibly do with near perfection and ease.
The purpose of a hammer is to drive in nails. And when it does that, there is always energy and there is power. Near perfection and with ease. Using it to turn in screws just wouldn’t have the same experience. And there lies the hammer’s existential meaning and its place in the world.
What do you think about, feel or do that always give you joy, energy, power and impact? Who have you served that gave you that same joy, energy, power and impact? Your answers to these questions are clues to where your purpose lie.
So the thing about knowing your purpose is that you don’t just think purpose. You have to do it. You find meaning and purpose by doing. Not think and ponder. But think a little, plan a little and do a little.
Intentionally. Frequently. And over time.
So What Can You Do?
Stop going through your days frivolously and without meaning.
Start your days with meaning and purpose in mind. How? A little bit, Intentionally. Frequently. And over time.
Get started on your personal journey. And you can’t do this on your own. Find a process that can help you.
And over time, get a little clearer on your purpose. Catch a glimpse of it. Try it. Test it. And try again. It is a journey after alll.
And then, maybe you will find your life’s meaning.
StrengthsAsia has helped many individual and corporate clients all throughout the region in identifying and maximizing their talents, in driving engagement and increasing motivation in their work and life.
Kim Pong is the CEO and Founder of StrengthsAsia, Creator of the REFRAME MasterClass and the first 20 Gallup Certified Strengths Coaches in the world. He is based in Singapore and works with organizations in Asia in creating an engaged workplace culture for leaders, managers and executives to thrive.