By Paul R. Scheele, Ph.D., Learning Strategies
Are you doing what matters most to you?
I’m not talking about what makes you happy in the moment, but rather, what really drives your life. What gives your life meaning?
In a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology that examines self-reported attitudes toward happiness and meaning, the researchers found a meaningful life and a happy life overlap in certain ways, but are ultimately different, reports Emily Esfahani Smith in The Atlantic.
“While happiness is an emotion felt in the here and now, it ultimately fades away, just as all emotions do,” wrote Smith. “The amount of time people report feeling good or bad correlates with happiness but not at all with meaning. Meaning, on the other hand, is enduring. It connects the past to the present to the future.”
Another study confirmed this, she said. “People who have meaning in their lives, in the form of a clearly defined purpose, rate their satisfaction with life higher even when they were feeling bad than those who did not have a clearly defined purpose.”
Stewart Emery and his co-authors of the book Success Built to Last interviewed the world’s most successful people to distill exactly what drives them, and it’s pretty simple.
“Above all else, no matter where they have chosen to excel—in business, the arts, sports, social service, community, or family—each has achieved success by focusing on the things that matter most to them,” he said.
“Enduringly successful people follow their hearts, aligning their thoughts and actions with their passions,” said Stewart. “They become energized by their work and stay on purpose and committed in the face of setbacks and challenges.”
Imagine those three elements—meaning, thought, and action—as the primary colors of enduring success. When the primary colors of red, blue, and green overlap, they create a bright, white light, a target that is easy to see.
To create a life that matters to you, consider the following:
- What gives your life meaning? What brings you the greatest joy? Loving what you do and who you are is the greatest motivator for building lasting success.
- Are your thoughts toxic or supportive? Are negative thoughts and self-doubt or the criticism of others drowning out that voice inside of your head—that whisper or “silent scream” telling you what really matters? Learn to responsibly manage your thoughts in ways that keep you on track to your goals, despite obstacles or burdens you will undoubtedly face.
- Are you taking action? What are you doing to bring you closer to your goals or attract into your life people and activities that will support you? While meaning drives success, meaning without action will get you nowhere.
When you align your thoughts and actions with what gives your life meaning, you magnify your passion and impart greater clarity to your purpose than ever before.
To help you recognize what truly gives you satisfaction and support the expression of your unique gifts, I recommend you listen to an audio program I co-created with Stewart Emery called Success Built to Last. Simply push play, close your eyes, relax, and listen. You will be led through a closed-eye process that activates your “whole mind” with a precise blend of music and words to help you acquire new behaviors.
To learn more about Success Built to Last and the 41 other Paraliminal programs, please click here. Other titles in the Paraliminal library include Abundant Money Mindset,Anxiety-Free, Deep Relaxation, Financial Security, New Action Generator, Positive Relationships, Power Thinking, and 10-Minute Supercharger.