What Makes Life Meaningful

Michael StegerWe have just come across and enjoyed a talk, What Makes Life Meaningful, given by Michael Steger at TEDxCSU back in March this year.

It very much resonated with us, because finding meaning and purpose is one of the foundational aspects of the work we do with Appreciative Inquiry, in which we are often helping people to story and re-story their lives.

As Steger poetically points out, in the universal scheme of things, we are just ‘specks of dust’ and we are living on the outer crust of a speck of dust like the shell of a robin’s egg. That’s what life is for us – incredibly, almost unfathomably fragile and precious.

He argues that, within that life, we are given an unknowable number of moments to live and we have to make those moments matter.

He says that making these moments matter is all we can ask.

So how can we find ways to connect, to contribute and make these moments matter?

In answering this question, he shares what has been learned in the field of psychology about the way in which people find meaning and significance in life, including purpose (the need to DO) and significance (the need to MAKE SENSE). We also loved his description of purpose as the anchor we throw out into the future’ which ‘keeps the future alive in us … so that when the present is too hard, it can serve as a source of solace.

And he reminds us that meaning is all around us – there are invitations and opportunities to find meaning in the world around us all the time, if we are open to it.

Do watch the video – we think you’ll find it 16 minutes well spent. :)

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