9 Secrets to living a meaningful life

It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life. We rush from one task to another, desperately trying to get everything done. When we manage to step away from one area of our life; we step straight into a disorganised mess in another area. The reality is that there is always something to be done but more importantly; we must realise that we can’t get everything done. So, how do you decide what you need to do and what you must let go? The answer is to focus on living a meaningful life.

​Before we get into productivity and time management, we must first determine what we want from life. Not just what we want to take, but also, what do we want to contribute or, leave behind, when we are gone. To put it in one simple question – How do you want to make the world a better place? For that is what gives our life meaning – contribution. When we are living a life full of contribution and meaning, we will be a living life we love.

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9 Secrets to living a meaningful life

​The following 9 steps are actions you can take to help create a meaningful life for yourself. Focusing on these steps will help you to identify the things you want to do and the things you are prepared to sacrifice. Remember, a meaningful life is not about doing everything; it is about doing less but doing what matters most.

1. Clarify what you value most​

meaningful life anything is possible

If you wanted to identify what is important to somebody, examining how they spend their time might seem like a good place to start. However, from my coaching experience, I have encountered many people who have a major contradiction between what they say they value most and how they spend their time e.g. most people will tell you they place a high level of importance on their family but when you examine how they spend their time, you will see that their family hardly gets a look in.

Values are like rules for life. They determine what we are prepared to do and what we would never do. They also tell us what and who is most important to us. However, values are only as good as the effort we make to live by them. When we don’t live true to our values, we can experience a great deal of stress, disappointment and a life devoid of meaning.

When we do live true to our values, we find it easier to remain happy, no matter what happens, because we know we are making the right decisions and taking the right actions. So take the time to identify your values and choose to live by them.

​Key point

​Values are a wonderful tool to help you live your best life, governed by what is most important to you. However, for values to really make a difference in your life, you must put a lot of effort into ensuring that you live by the video.

​​Values based living

​If you are unclear about your values, 'Values Based Living' will help you achieve clarity.


2. Stay in the moment

meaningful life challenges

​It can be very easy to forget that each task has a meaning. It is of great benefit to remind yourself of that meaning. This is particularly true for those mundane tasks which we don’t really want to do but which need to be done e.g. cleaning.

You might be tempted to make a half-hearted effort at these mundane tasks but when you remind yourself of the meaning and importance of the task at hand; you will put your heart and soul into the job.

I was watching a television show with British Chef, Rick Stein, recently. Rick was in Thessaloniki in Greece. He asked a local chef why one of his dishes tasted so much better than similar offerings downtown. To my surprise the chef responded that it was not the ingredients as they were the same but; it was the love that he put into making the dish.

A job done with love is always better than a job done through obligation. So, stay in the moment and remind yourself of the benefits of doing the job. Then throughout, ensure that each component of the job is at its best e.g. if you are cleaning the floors, you would want to make sure the that water is hot enough, clean and has the right cleaning agents added.

​Key point

​You will always perform better in a job where you understand and, appreciate, the importance of that job e.g. how it makes life better for others. When you appreciate the importance, you are more likely to ensure that every element of the job is delivered with love, dedication and commitment.

Related

​One of the greatest ways to ensure you appreciate every moment and give all tasks your best is to practice gratitude. Read the Top 11 ways that gratitude enhances your life to discover the many benefits of gratitude.

​Your values determine what you are prepared to do and what you would never do.

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3. Say what you mean

meaningful life have a voice

Do your words carry importance and honesty, along with kindness and care? Avoid mincing words. There really is no need to be saying things that you don’t really mean and when you live a meaningful life you don’t feel the need to be fake.

A meaningful life means that you know what is important to you and what is not. You choose to dedicate your life to what is important so you don’t need the approval of others. There is no need to be hurtful or offensive but you can easily communicate your disagreement in a polite and assertive manner. The great irony with this is that when you stop seeking the approval of others; you are far more likely to win their approval.

In addition, have you ever noticed how enjoyable conversation can be when you actually care about the subject matter? You get into deep discussion and time just seems to fly. Your passion flows through you and you actually feel as though you have done something of value; just by having a chat. Of course, it is good to be able to make light conversation with people but when you say what you mean and you discuss things which are important to you; your life takes on a new level of meaning.

​Key point

​You give your life a greater sense of meaning when you dig deeper into the topics about which you are truly passionate. Youi learn more and, you find opportunities where you can contribute to something which is important to you.

​​Talk so others listen

If you struggle with getting your point across and saying what you mean, 'How to Talk So Others Listen' will make it much easier for you.


4. Find your purpose

meaningful life know who you are

Why do you do the work do? Whether it is voluntary work or paid work; why do you it? Unfortunately, with paid work, people most often choose the job which gives them the pay check they need to get from week to week or, month to month. It’s understandable but work takes up so much of our time that it really should be more meaningful than that.

If you are only working for a pay check, it is hard to find meaning in the work. What’s more, you will never be truly satisfied in your work because you will always feel as though you should be making more money.

However, if you have a clear purpose for your life, then work can be so much happier. You can dedicate your working life to pursuing your purpose. Each step you take helps you to fulfill a little more of your purpose.

Even if you are not working in an area which directly impacts your purpose; taking a pay check which will help you fulfill your purpose is so much better than taking a pay check just for the money. For example, you may do voluntary work in the area of your purpose and work a day job to pay the bills. You will have much more appreciation for your day job because it allows you to focus on your purpose in your spare time.

When you have an area of your life where you are focused on contribution and doing something which inspires you; every other area of your life becomes better because you understand how it is there to help you do what you love to do; as often as you can do it.

​Key point

​When you make room in your life for living your purpose, you will live a more meaningful life. Even if you cannot do paid work in the area of your purpose, there are always ways in which you can fit your purpose into your life. And, you will be happier for it.

​Live with purpose

If you have not identified your purpose, the 'Living Purposefully Course' will get you on track.


5. Stop worrying about what others think

meaningful life patience

We spend far too much time worrying about the thoughts and opinions of others. While you certainly don’t want to disrespect others; you are on this Earth to live your life; not theirs. If you are close to somebody and, they are somebody who plays an important role in your life; you may want to seek their opinion but remember; it is still just an opinion. You are still entitled to disagree.

Of course, if somebody is not important in your life; you should not let them dictate to you in anyway whatsoever. You may choose to listen to what they have to say but if they are upset when you don’t do as they think; that is their problem; not yours.

Whatever, you want to do with your life; there are some people who will disapprove. They are entitled to their opinion and let them have it. But if you are doing what you believe to be right to live a meaningful life; you have nothing to worry about.

​Key point

​If you truly believe something is right, stand up for it. Follow your own path by making your own decisions, based on what is right. You make a meaningful life by understanding what is important to you and prioritising that over the whims of others. Be the person you are meant to be.

Related

​To learn more of the dangers of worrying about what others think, read 13 Approval seeking behaviours you need to stop.


6. Accept it or take action

meaningful life ship in harbor

Like any other person, you probably spend a great deal of time whining and moaning about the things you don’t like. Whining and moaning achieves nothing. Those who live a meaningful life know that they have 2 options in these situations; take action to change the situation or, accept it and shut up about it.

If there is something you really cannot accept then have the courage of your convictions and work to change it. This is what all the great people throughout history have done. It is how great change comes about; somebody sees something they don’t like and so, they work to make it better.

If you are not prepared to act; then accept the situation for what it is and shut up about it. Constantly whining will not make the problem go away. Also, remember that while you are entitled to your opinion of other people’s choices; they do not have to accept your opinion as fact either

​Key point

​​There are always going to be things in life that you don’t like. Either do something about them or, accept them and move on. Sitting around complaining about life does not make a meaningful life but, it will quickly lead to a meaningless life if you are not careful.

Related

​Whether you just to accept it and move on or, speak up; it is critically important that you are true to your values Values Based Living explains why values are so important and how you can identify and live by yours.

​If you don't like something; take action to change it or accept it and move on

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7. Take responsibility

meaningful life test of character

If you’re unhappy, the easiest thing to do is to blame others. However, the life you live today is a direct result of the choices you have made previously. If somebody is treating you badly, you have chosen to accept it by not taking action to stop it etc.

If something is not to your liking, before you blame others, take the time to assess what has gone wrong. Identify the ways in which you contributed to the poor outcome and work out what you can do differently next time. Make those changes before you attack somebody else.

Often, making these changes is enough to force others to make the changes they need to make.

​Key point

​If you are not happy about the results you are experiencing in your life, you must remember that those results are due to the decisions and actions you have either taken or, failed to take. This is not about blaming yourself; it is about realising that you have the power to change your outcomes by changing your decisions and actions.

Related

​Learning to accept responsibility for your life is one of the most powerful things you can do; improving both your relationships and results. Read How being responsible can change your life for some solid advice on this matter.


8. Be supportive

meaningful life to live

It’s easy to criticise others but that doesn’t really help. If behaviour needs to be corrected, use constructive feedback to do so. But, most of your communication with others should be positive.

Encourage more of the behaviour you like by praising it every time you see it. Positive feedback is a wonderful way to build positive, supportive relationships which lie at the very core of a meaningful life.

When you use proper feedback methods rather than just criticise; you are choosing to act with kindness and understanding. You are valuing the person whom you are giving the feedback to because you are focusing on their development needs, rather than their deficiencies.

This approach is more positive, more meaningful, more effective and, it makes a real difference.

​Key point

​When others get things wrong or, let you down, you have two choices. You can be critical or, you can be supportive. Offering support is a fundamental part of living a meaningful life. Choosing to offer proper feedback rather than criticism will help the other person improve and, help you develop a better relationship with them.

Related

​For more on supporitive relationships, read 5 Critical elements of a supportive relationship.

​Are you living with purpose?

I have created a FREE Checklist to help you determine whether you are living your life with purpose or, not.


Get Your FREE Copy Here


9. "Be the change you wish to see in the world"

meaningful life vulnearability

​Th​is is my favourite Gandhi quote:

'Be the change you wish to see in the world'​

If there is something you want to see more of in the world, then you should behave in that manner. Be an example for others to follow.

Before you criticise colleagues or employees for poor time management, ensure that you are being a strong example of good time management. Before you criticise others for a lack of compassion, ensure that you are behaving in the most compassionate manner.

People tend to reply in kind and they follow the good examples they see. So, if you want change; be that change.

​Key point

​If you wish to see change, then take responsibility for ensuring that you lead by making that change yourself. Set the standard you wish to see and most people, though not all, will be more than happy to meet your standards.

​Living Purposefully Course

​If you want to start living a meaningful life, you need to start focusing on what you really want from life and living life on your terms.


​The 'Living Purposefully Course' will give you guidance to help you do so.

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​Conclusion

​The easiest and best way to leave your mark on the world is to live a meaningful life. The length of your life may not be within your control but the quality of your life certainly is. You can choose to live a life where you just take from the world or you can choose to live a meaningful life where you make a positive contribution and spread positivity. Most people would like to leave some form of positive legacy where people can remember them fondly for the difference they made. If you are one of those people, you can start that legacy; by choosing to live a meaningful life from this day on.