Meaning

Yesterday, I went to the Brainwash Festival in Amsterdam, a philosophy event co-hosted by The School of Life Amsterdam. At the festival I attended a lecture by Karim Benammar, who teaches at TSOL Amsterdam, about how to live a meaningful life in this age of freedom. I want to share one of the things Benammar said (paraphrasing):

When choosing our life’s path, what we want the most is that the endeavors we embark upon are in some way meaningful. But how do we do that? What should we do in order to live a meaningful life? Well, according to Benammar, we should stop searching for meaningful things to do. Yes, you read that right: if you want to live a meaningful life, stop looking for meaningful things to do. Instead, Benammar says, the things you do in life should be:

1. Self-chosen – it’s your life, the things you do should be of your own choosing.

2. Challenging – not too much, for it will drain you, and not too little, for you will get bored.

3. Require using your talents – for expressing yourself using your talents will bring satisfaction.

4. Give you joy – simply because it will make you feel better.

And here’s the thing: If you follow this, if the endeavors you embark upon in your life are self-chosen, challenging, require using your talents and give you joy, the meaning of the things you do will come from doing them.