How would the world be different without you?
Think about it for a moment. The lives of all of the people you have ever known or touched in some way would be quite altered.
The world population is nearly 6,700,000,000. If everyone in the U.S. alone lined up single file, the line would stretch around the Earth almost seven times. That's a lot of people. Why are we all here milling about on the planet for our 85 or so years?
In the scheme of things, you and I are infinitesimal drops in an enormous sea of humanity.
Do you ever wonder if your life makes any measurable impact in this big world? It's a question I've been pondering recently as I was writing my new e-book, How to Live a Meaningful Life. What makes one life (yours) exceptional and memorable?
For some people, faith and a belief in the afterlife provide the foundation for a meaningful life. But for the sake of discussion, let's focus on this particular life you are living right now and how you want the world to remember you.
What are you doing every day, every hour and every moment that serves the larger context of your religious or philosophical beliefs about a life worth living? It is those moments, hours and days that add up to a life well-spent — a meaningful life.
Unless you are a world leader or celebrity, you will directly impact only a small group of people during your lifetime. But through this small group, your decisions, behaviors, ideas and attitudes will spread ripples of action that touch unknown thousands, maybe millions of people. I think about this when I write posts for my blog. My readers may take something useful from what I say and pass it on through word or action.
Knowing that you have the opportunity to impact change or positive action, you have a powerfully creative choice about your life.
Decide what you value and love most, and then mindfully craft your life accordingly. Become a living example of the legacy you want to offer the world. As you create this legacy for others, you will discover a deep sense of meaning and purpose for yourself.
A meaningful life doesn't just happen. It is a willful act of creation every single day.
In my e-book, I discuss how to uncover what you value most in life and how to find sustained happiness. It is these areas where you should spend most of your time and energy. There are seven areas I cover in the book that support sustained joy and provide the fertile ground for making an impact on the world and living a life of real purpose.
1. Security and Comfort
How much time and energy should you put into achieving and acquiring? How many creature comforts and gadgets do you really need? There is a balance that can be achieved that allows you to live a comfortable life while still having time to pursue what you value and love the most. It's usually not stuff.
2. Balance and Moderation
Americans work longer hours and take fewer vacations than other advanced economies. Why do we do this? Why do we fill up so many hours with work when there are so many other valuable and interesting ways to spend our time? We have become brainwashed into believing that work should take precedence over every other area of life — at the risk of our mental, emotional and physical health.
Everyone wants to feel they leave this Earth having made some positive contribution. You can make contributions of excellence, encouragement, purpose, and love. A contribution to the world doesn't have to be a dramatic gesture or sacrifice. It can be as mundane as helping a neighbor with groceries or reading a story to your child. When you give something of yourself, no matter how small, you have created that ripple of positive action.
If you listed the things you value and love most in life, your close relationships probably rise to the top of the list. These relationships are not only vital to our sense of well-being and happiness, they also profoundly affect our health. People in supportive relationships are happier and healthier. They are so very important, and yet we often neglect them. Nurturing our connections with these people is the most valuable endeavor you can make.
Beauty is the quality that thrills the soul and makes life vibrant. It elevates us beyond the mundane and connects us with something divine. Beauty provides fulfillment, awe and connectedness to the world around us. And it forces us to slow down long enough to savor it. By inviting beauty into your life, you open the door to a more profound and exquisite journey.
Creativity is not the exclusive domain for those born with natural gifts and artistic leanings. Anyone in any discipline can be creative by applying the same learned skill set: dedication, hard work, seeking new challenges, boldness, and follow-through. The pursuit of creative endeavors is critical to the development of our personalities and our relationships. It also allows us to live in the moment.
7. Personal Growth
Introspection, seeking enlightenment, deepening spiritual awareness, understanding relationships, striving for emotional maturity, and defining our values and integrity — these are the very tools that assist us in the creation of a meaningful life. As we have a better understanding of our own needs and motivations, we can heal and grow in ways that make life an exciting adventure.
If you want to live a life of purpose and joy, one in which you create ripples of positive action and energy in the world, please read more in my FREE e-book, How to Live a Meaningful Life. You can download it right now.