Knowing the meaning is a key component of happiness
What the meaning is...and isn't
What does meaning mean, actually?
Relative to what or whom?
Is it about outcomes or about...?
What is the purpose of your life?
Is life hopeless?
Is life good?  Is life worthwhile?
How can I maximize happiness in life?
How can I add more value to my life and really nail down my personal purpose
  and passion?
How can I add more "quality" of experience to my life?
Or maybe it's simpler


Knowing the meaning of life is a key component of having a strong life philosophy that supports one's happiness.

However, I would suggest that there is no meaning "assigned" to life directly and no reason it occurred, other than extreme, extreme luck (see Evolution).  There is no entity that has assigned a purpose to life ahead of time - life just
happened (via evolution). 

But you can create meaning in life for your life and you can create a purpose that you want to fulfill in your life.  Your choice.

See, below, what the ultimate creator of meaning (and feeling good) is.


Life is strictly an experience.  And increasing the quality of that experience is what increases the meaning and value of life as an experience.

Life is like going to the movies, you walk in, enjoy the movie, and then it ends, with you having enjoyed the movie, even the frightening parts. 

However, how you look at it, through the filter of your life philosophy, makes a huge difference. 

Part of that difference is knowing, for sure, that you are the one directing it, which means you can change it at any time, and make it better and more enjoyable (knowing that is part of the life philosophy that you'll develop from this site). 

And, while you're in the movie, just enjoy it; don't spend your time thinking about what you have to do after the movie - you received the privilege of going to this incredible movie, so make the most of it - after all, what else do you have to do?

Note that, while psychology management helps, a great life is actually created through a great life philosophy - and I'd suggest that it is very, very, very well worth it to spend the time to establish a great one!  A great life philosophy is the collection of "what works" in life - it is a practical set of "beliefs", rules, principles, guidelines, "systems", and such, that make life work the best.  Build the pieces of your philosophy meticulously well for they will govern your very life - your life philosophy is the very foundation of your life!

As long as you're here on earth, you might as well experience happiness. 


Meaning equals significance, importance, valuing.  Accordingly, when we talk about the "meaning" of life, we're talking about the significance or importance of life.  We also are talking about the sum value of all that we value in life, so greater meaning "in life" is derived from doing and being what we value in life, all added together in a big total value (or meaning).

And what is of the most value and therefore what do we give the most meaning to?  All value and meaning is proportional to the benefit we "feel" in terms of surviving and being happy.  If something leads to that, it has value and meaning.

Whenever we get a "jolt" of feeling good, it comes from the affirmation that we are safe and surviving well and/or the affirmation that our future will be better and/or go well.  Of course, we "feel good" when we eat, as that is an affirmation to the mind that we are ok for now - it is a reward for our doing that which appears to solve a problem and/or forward life.  There are many examples that will bring this out, so, in order not to clutter this piece too much, I put them in the sidebar, after copying this paragraph.

We seem to look for some kind of meaning outside the obvious meaning.  And we make up things like "it is to perfect ourselves so that we can be with God".  In that case, we are holding life as an "in order to" (in order to get a specific result).

But I'd suggest that life is not an "in order to".  Instead, it is the whole enchilada, an incredible blessing.  Life is it, the end all and be all. 

And if you want to live and you want to love, feel, experience...then you are saying all those together are significant, that they are what make life meaningful - and great. 

I wanta be here...I wanta live...that's pretty darned significant to "means" everything to me!

Now, I "get" it.  It is significant (i.e. meaningful) simply because that's what it is to me - I am the assignor of significance and meaning in my life - and ain't that a god-like blessing!

Again, I create meaning and value (virtually the same thing) by doing and/or being that which I value.  The road to having alot of value in life is delineated in Values.


As I look back, years after writing this, I see that I did not make a vital point really clear and I just assumed that the reader would "get it". 

Some people have, due largely to "enculturation" forgotten that value and meaning are only from the viewpoint of and toward the welfare of oneself - not the world, not the ones you love, not for other "entities", not for "being good" - it is all for oneself.  It is not rational to do anything other than what we have evolved to do:  act in our own self interest.  Yes, of course, cooperation is important to the extent that it is in our own self interest in (net) total, and, accordingly, service to others, kindness, and the other components of interacting with other people have value - but, again, only to the extent that it serves our own self interest (surviving and being happy). 

It is a mistake to think that the "benefit of others", no matter how great in total impact, is more important than our own benefit - for benefiting others is only important if it makes us feel better, happier, or more well off.  Benefiting others is only a very small fraction of what is of benefit to ourselves.  And when it becomes the point of life, it is a false valuing and false strategy for life.  Sure, it is a nice sounding idea to be of "service" and "prove yourself worthy or exalted or whatever", but it can never be more important than self interest - it is only part of considering what is of benefit, based on what makes me feel good enough that I will give up something else that feels good but not as much - it is never, rationally, selfless!


However, on the way through life, we have to learn how to be more happy and effective - and that takes, you guessed it, learning experiences, often known as mistakes or undesired outcomes.  Accepting mistakes and learning from them dramatically increase the quality of life, for we will no longer experience the pain we used to give ourselves for making mistakes and we will reduce our number of undesired outcomes. 

But the meaning of life does not come from a greater quantity of desired outcomes or fewer undesired outcomes, it comes from a belief structure that supports having joy about life and virtually no pain about it. 

Modifying your belief structure will totally alter your life's quality!  Handle at least the 4 core beliefs that most of us have left over from childhood - "not good enough", "must have approval", "not powerful enough", and "fear of the future turning out badly" - all false beliefs that are harmful and limiting.


Oh, yeah, let's answer the question of why you're alive.  The answer is strictly by extremely, extremely good fortune - evolution had to happen and you had to be the lucky sperm.  That's it.  No divine design, though it is absolutely divine and marvelous that you are alive and have this opportunity to experience life!


The purpose of your life is different than the "purpose of life" in general.  There is no purpose of life in general, as that would imply intent by something, but the universe and evolution are strictly objective and mechanical, though fortunately so.

A simple process to determine what your purpose in life actually is is in
What Is The Purpose Of Life? Really!  (Clue:  it is not "personal growth", "to be godly", or pleasure, as these are often mistaken for the purpose...)

And what makes life meaningful and valuable?  This is what does and this leads to determining how you can add more personal meaning to your life:    Personal Meaning.


In certain regards, yes.  You can escape what Buddhism calls "the givens": you will feel pain and you will die.  That's it.  It doesn't matter that that is what happens!  It is given, it is so - and as such it is useless to protest it or feel bad about it.  It is certainly stupid to feel hopeless about it - for what purpose? 

Other than that, there is a whole lotta space to put in a lotta good stuff, to create a great experience, enjoying it as you go.  What fun!  We can play and know that there are no serious consequences (if we don't make up pain in our head) and then eventually the play period ends.  What a life!  What an opportunity!

We get a "package deal": great stuff but with some limitations since we didn't evolve into gods - but we became the highest functioning animals, by far, in the world.  I'd say it is a great deal!  A great opportunity!


To add more details to why life is so valuable read the section called
Why Life Is Very Good (Actually Great!).  Adding a whole new "viewing point" that adds rationality to and eliminates victimness (which takes away from the value of life) in life increases its value.  Why life is a miracle.  This also leads you to other pieces that add value, which you may want to read.


Read What Is Life About? How To Maximize Happiness In Life to answer these questions:  Is it about things, seeking approval or better conditions or is it about other "qualitative" aspects that create far more valuable.  (It is clearly about the latter.)


To determine and then to create more value in your life, read 
Personal Meaning And Your "Mission" Or Purpose For Your Life (2 pg.). Then use the packet  The Ultimate Packet For Finding My Mission/Purpose/Usefulness/Passion (19 pg) to definitively nail your purpose down.


You'll create a more meaningful life if you identify your Ideal Life.

A profound shift in the quality of your life will be created by reading this, understanding it, and then committing to it.  Key Thoughts And Behaviors To Choose To Attain Personal Happiness And Peace, Stage I (19 page booklet).  Also, changing and sticking to clear standards makes a huge difference.

Read the Becoming More Happy - A Summary (29 page booklet) 

Give some thought and fill in your values, as they alter your life IF you clearly identify and follow them.  See The Values, Standards, and Rules Page, Constructing A Foundation For Your Life.


To enjoy the sun, sit out and read the paper, next to a pool...

Some core questions

What is "value" and "meaning" derived from?

Who is it all for?  Society, mankind, those we love, self interest?

Read the central piece on this page to get the answers.

More about meaning

Maximizing Meaning In Life - Experiencing The Highest Value - You choose which have the highest long term meaning and decide if you will improve your course in life

The Meaning Of Meaning - Something To Be Clear About - We create it - and we can do it anyway we want to, but hopefully smartly.

See the box on meaning, in Phiilosophy Contents, Links page.

Value is derived from what?

Values - These are what help you decide what to do to achieve the greatest life satisfaction and total value. 

What is life about?

What Is The Purpose Of Life?    Really! 

What is life about?  Maximizing

Mission, purpose in life

Personal meaning and your
mission or purpose for your life 
Read the others mentioned in this piece, to gain the full clarity and understanding.

My Purpose In Life - Discover what yours is.


Whenever we get a "jolt" of feeling good, it comes from the affirmation that we are safe and surviving well and/or the affirmation that our future will be better and/or go well.  Of course, we "feel good" when we eat, as that is an affirmation to the mind that we are ok for now and filling our needs for survival - it is a reward for our doing that which appears to solve a problem and/or to forward life.

One of the greatest, but seemingly far out, effects of this reality comes from an example from a person in an Alanon meeting:  "I have to be careful whenever I go to a party as I somehow always drawn to the person on the opposite side of the room who is bad for me, as they have the very way of being that I never could solve from my caregivers with the same behavior.  And I get excited, but then realize, now, that it just means that my simple mind is saying 'well, now, maybe I can solve my unsolved puzzle about how to get what I want from my caregiver.  Finally, it can be solved.  Yeah!'."   

In "love", we get excited about the prospects of at last finding the person who will love us as we couldn't get our parents to love us.  They are the "solution" to our problem. 

Another feel good, but more immediate solution to assure survival and our not starving nor dying from a famine is to eat, as eating assures us that our mind will reward us and relieve us from our stress - as we might also "believe" would be accomplished by alcohol (relieving stress, anxiety, or at least numbing us from our pain) or drugs or addictive behavior of some sort.

Note that all of the behaviors that made us feel better were all a form of "I'm surviving better (or less badly) now or I will survive better in the future."  That's it.  Nothing fancier or more "meaningful" than that.

Getting approval, even from someone who will not have any effect on your life, "feels good" because it indicates you are ok and will be better able to be supported by the tribe. Like the rat who starved to death because he preferred to press the dopamine lever, people will often let "approval seeking" run their lives, ultimately to their extreme detriment, as it causes their futures to be severely diminished, not to even mention the fear of disapproval that they regularly suffer from.

"Suffering" is the mind's way of delivering "motivational" chemicals to us in order to get us to stop doing what is threatening and start going for what is better for our level of survival.  One can even "suffer" when there is, in reality, no problem other than one believing one should be at a higher level to be "ok" - so we suffer from our "fictions" where we think we are "going to suffer" - we suffer because we think we will suffer, i.e. be worse off in the future because of the future suffering.

Some people get great joy (cotton candy joy) from learning something new that they think will make them better off or even by just getting a book on self improvement or going to an enticing self improvement workshop.  Just the prospect or hope of getting better "feels good" - even if few people ever actually follow through to get the actual benefit instead of just savoring the possible fantasy benefit.

However, much of the behavior is not well thought out to the end result, so, while we believe we will be better off, it turns out that we aren't - and many times we are damaged in some way in the future.  Still the 'ultimate cause" of "feel good" is thinking/believing we will attain greater safety and better survival.

The key to a better life is, then, thinking out and building into one's life that which will, IN FACT, make us better off in the future.  To have the energy to do that, we must also learn and be convinced that, while this might seem like work or lost gratification for the moment, it is actually what is good for us, to the point where we actually do it, while holding in our minds the fact that the future will be better.

The last part requires setting up a system to have us "see" that greater benefit sufficiently enough so that we will actually follow through and do that which is necessary.  We might call this motivational convincing "the art of the deal", as we must be creative about negotiating between the higher brain and the primitive impulsive mind to win out to the point where both sides come out winners.  We must also realize that trying to overpower the "other side" or to win with willpower or some other similar "good force" over a "bad force" will not work very often and certainly not consistently - we need to "strike a deal" that works for the long term.  (We would win in this much, much more often if we develop the skill and/or employ a complete, systematic process to insure successful change.)

So...the point is we "feel good" because of

1) assuaging a threat or
2) believing we will be better off in the future. 

Therefore, and thereby, we provide "meaning", for what means the most to us is that which is for better survival.  What we give meaning to is that which is most relevant to having us think we will survive better (and also be happier for).

There is nothing "noble" per se about us humans, though we have a culture that rewards our "noble" behavior in such a way that we do it and it gets us "better survival" points for the future, therefore "meaning alot" to us...(!)

Realize this, please.  Don't be disappointed by its being so stark in a sense.  Just realize that this is the way we operate and then milk it for the most good it will do for your life!!!!
You will feel much, much better in life and you will experience much, much more meaning, as you now know the "secret" behind creating meaning.

Other relevant pieces:

The Story Of Our Happy And Our Unhappy Chemicals - A Tale Of The Mechanisms For Survival - This, indeed, is what life is about and what life is, period.

Why We Do What We Do - And How To Remove The Negative Part Of That

The Causal Chain For Behaviors - From The Primitive Control To True Management
- Run your life instead of being run by it.