I think one thing all humanity shares in common is a desire to make their lives matter. I believe that people want to find purpose and meaning in their life.
I’m no physiologist, but it seems at least one cause for depression in when one feels a loss of purpose and meaning.
I hit a period in my life where I felt that I was living far beneath my potential. I craved to do more with my life, to find more meaning and purpose.
Now you should know that my life doesn’t look drastically different than it 5 years ago. I haven’t been invited to speak on the TED talk stage, I haven’t written a #1 Best Seller Book, and I haven’t started my own business. I’m not suggesting that these things are superficial, in fact these are all things I wouldn’t mind experiencing in my life. The point is, meaning and purpose in found in living. It’s not a gift rewarded only by successfully achieving impressive accomplishments.
My life looks very ordinary and would not make a very compelling documentary. I mean, it’s not very glamorous. I make home lunches for my kids to take to school, I drop my son off at preschool three days a week, I vacuum my house so the dog’s hair doesn’t dominate the carpets, I do dishes on a daily basis, I take my kids to the pool every once in a while. I mean it’s just normal stuff that has a high risk of becoming monotonous. But somewhere along the way I was able to find meaning in the monotony. This is not the same as becoming complacent with my life, I didn’t just roll over and give up saying with dejection, “This is the life I have, these are the cards that were dealt to me. I guess I’ll just make the most of it.” Quite the opposite.
When I started to uncover meaning and purpose in my life a desire started to grown within me to do more, to become more, to contribute something of value to society, to make my life more meaningful and valuable.
I guess if Victor Frankel can find meaning and purpose while suffering beyond comprehension as a prisoner in a concentration camp, then I think it is possible for me to find meaning and purpose in a my life. And finding meaning and purpose makes all the difference.