The Sources of Meaning

The meaning of life is not general or abstract. It has three possible sources. It is specific to you... in this moment.

“Frankl saw three possible sources for meaning: in work (doing something significant), in love (caring for another person), and in courage during difficult times.” — Harold S. Kushner

The meaning of life is not general or abstract. It is specific to you... in this moment.

Searching for meaning is not the only way to find it. Ultimately, meaning is best discovered by living life to the fullest. Life will then ask certain things of you. It will compel you to act, and it is your responsibility to answer.

Work comes in many forms. It can be a masterpiece of art, a crowning literary achievement, proselytization of a faith, a record-setting feat of strength or a scientific discovery. The possibilities are endless.

You will know this great work by the well of gravity it develops within you and its steadily growing need to break free — to be given life by you. You will recognize it in moments of flow and the child-like joy of creating something that is distinctly you.

Your work need not be grand in scope, for even the smallest, noblest of acts can shape hearts and minds.

Love is experienced in many ways: that of a spouse, a child, a family member, a dear friend, or a beloved pet. Love is a powerful, preternatural force and unconditional in its most potent form. Your meaning may be to care for something or to love someone unconditionally.

Love is not simply one or more acts. It is of the spirit. It endures.

Suffering is a necessary component of life, as it highlights the true worth of happiness. Meaning is not found in suffering itself but in the way you respond to it: facing a terminal illness with fortitude, imprisonment with calm determination or abuse with a refusal to break. It is found in your towering monument of courage and resilience.

In the end, you must find your meaning, for a life without meaning is a life not lived.