Yes, feeling happy in life is important! However, some people object to the word "happiness." If that is you, change it to a word you are comfortable with such as "content," "sense of well-being," or "fulfilled." Any of those words imply that there are many benefits to feeling positive about your life.
Unfortunately, there are people who don't feel happy about their life. Maybe they are at a time in their life that is especially challenging. They could be going through a loss (job, special person, home because of a natural disaster, money or loss of an expectation) or transitioning from one phase of their life into another. Many of my clients are facing challenges such as these on a daily basis.
W. Clement Stone gave this advice to those who were struggling to feel good about their life: When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it." Isn't that the way we would all like to feel – enthusiastic, filled with a "burning desire" about something?
When you look at what Stone was saying, you will see that he believes the essence of a happy life is having a purpose.
So let me ask you, does your life have a clear sense of purpose?
Most people have a fundamental need to seek and find their calling or purpose in life, be it through work, hobbies, or volunteer activities. Yet, many struggle to gain clarity and focus on just what that is.
Many of my coaching clients juggle multiple interests and have a hard time narrowing their passions down to the overriding core values and interests that matter most to them. Check my other blog posts on this topic.
While philosophers have long weighed in on the subject, it has recently come under scrutiny by researchers who seek to understand the science behind human happiness and success. Among them, there is an abundant upsurge in studies from the field of positive psychology which help us understand the connection between having a sense of purpose and being happy.
For instance, psychologist Michael Steger and his colleagues at Colorado State University created the Meaning in Life Questionnaire (MLQ) to measure the presence of meaning in our lives. It also measures how much we seek to further our understanding of life's purpose.
The five-minute MLQ test will prompt you to think about this important topic, and it can serve as the foundation for discussions with your significant relationships, mentor or coach. I use it as a springboard to open up discussion with my new coaching clients.
While it may be hard to measure just how much you actually focus on your core purpose during your daily life, it's useful to observe and rate just how much time you spend thinking about such matters. Having clarity about this will help you direct your time and energy to those tasks that matter the most to you. One way of doing this would be to journal some of your thoughts and feelings about what give meaning and purpose to your life several times a week over a period of a couple of months. You could put down a couple of words or phrases to capture your ideas. Others might prefer to write down the names of movie or songs that were meaningful to you and why. See what you can learn about yourself before my next post is published.
In my next post, I will present the 10-question Meaning in Life Questionnaire, as created by Dr. Stegner and his colleagues. So stay tuned. In the meantime, how much have you clarified your own meaning and purpose in life?
I welcome your comments.
Until next time,