What is the meaning of life?
And that, my friends, is the $1,394,476,285.89 question. Everyone has asked this. Poets, scholars, people high on LSD.
Lucky for all of you, I’ve figured it out. The answer is below. There will be a test on this later, so read carefully. (But don’t worry, it’s multiple choice).
The meaning of life can be bucketed into three key groups - love, taking leaps of faith, and happiness.
Let’s start with love.
First, find and cultivate relationships with friends that you trust and love and try your absolute damn hardest to keep them in your life. Think you’re too busy to keep in touch? You’re not. You know who’s busy? Elon Musk is busy. You know who else is busy? An emergency medical responder is busy. You know who else is busy? A working parent is busy. You are not busy. Sure, there will be moments when you’re super busy, but trust me, you’re not busy enough to not keep in touch with your best friends.
So what constitutes a best friend? Someone who inspires and teaches you new things, someone who gives good no-bullshit advice, someone who pushes you off your high horse when you get too full of yourself, someone who makes you fall over laughing. Someone who has your best interests at heart, someone you would call to get bailed out of jail, someone who is there for you when things get tough, someone who likes you for you. When you find one, latch on to them like a hangry killer shark. They are rare, and trust me, there will only be a few (very, very few) that also feel the same way about you. Remember, this is a two way street.
Second, don’t be afraid to fall in love. Love is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Love is also quite possibly the most rare thing you will ever encounter because again, just like your best friends, love is also a two way street. Both of you have to want to sign up for the same dance at the same time. If you are lucky enough to find the Mulder to your Scully, the Diane to your Jack, the Harry to your Sally, hold on for the ride, and don’t let go.
Be careful to not fall into the trap of thinking that you can constantly upgrade, or that something better will always come along. (Trust me, that doesn’t happen in real life). Relationships take work so don’t be so quick to dismiss someone. Remember, this goes both ways. For every person you dismiss, someone will probably dismiss you.
Oh and by the way, you’ll probably fall in love multiple times in your life. We’re all going to live for a very long time. You will change quite a bit as you get older. You will meet different people throughout your life. So just keep that in mind.
Next, let’s talk about taking leaps of faith.
I have a best friend who is one of the most prominent and successful people in his industry. But he came from practically nothing and was on his own at a very young age. He said he always approached everything with a “I have nothing to lose attitude,” and that is ultimately what made the difference. When you’ve spent your whole life doing the right thing (going to the right schools, working at the right jobs), failure sounds absolutely terrifying (“jump under the bedcovers and cower” terrifying) and thus keeps you from trying new things.
I believe very strongly that in order to live a full life, you have to take those leaps of faith. They can be anything - getting a new job in a more interesting but challenging field, starting your own business, asking someone out, doing something that your intuitive gut and rational brain disagree on.
Unfortunately, most leaps of faith probably won’t work out. You’ll fall on your ass, get your heart broken, get punched in the face, or a combination of all three. But you know what? When things do work out (and yes, this is WHEN and not IF), you’ll be so much happier than you would have been than if you had never tried at all. If you’re ever going to regret anything, regret what you did, not what you didn’t do. Think about how awesome it will be when you’re on your deathbed and think, “Holy cow, I have had the most amazing life! I really lived.”
Lastly, let’s talk about happiness.
Happiness is different for everyone. We all want different things and it’s important to respect that. But I promise you that if you have these three things, you’ll be happy no matter what.
1) Feeling fulfilled - No matter what you’re doing with your life (working at a corporate job, traveling the world, staying at home with children, whatever), try your absolute hardest to find meaning in what you’re doing everyday. If you are not happy with the day to day goings-on, you won’t be very happy with many other things.
2) Being financially independent - If you are ever lucky enough to become financially independent (through an inheritance or good old fashioned saving and investing), think carefully about what you want to do with your life. It’s totally fine to stay at your job. But think about what else you might want to do. Start a business. Invest in other startup ideas. Hang out more with your family and best friends. Spend money on your family and best friends. Buy 80 gold chains and go ignant. Whatever you want. Just remember that you can’t take the money with you when you die so spend it loud and spend it proud.
3) Understanding and accepting the fact that luck has a large part in everything you do. Stupid, dumb, blind, random, uncontrollable luck. Some people are lucky enough to be born into rich families and never have to worry about money, some people are lucky enough to be born incredibly good-looking, some people are lucky to have been early investors in Amazon, some people are lucky enough to be genuinely happy all the time. Luck will always be a critical component in whatever you do so just accept that, and you’ll feel much more at peace.
All this, dear reader, is the meaning of life. Don’t overthink it. Have a good attitude, be open-minded, and keep in mind that the story is never really over (just like the killer is never really dead in the movies). Onward!
What is this?
An anthropological look at how people think about money. Created and edited by Star Li.