Living a meaningful life is as simple as storytelling
PBS Interview of Emily Esfahani, Author, “The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters,”
by Hari Sreenivasan, March 10, 2017
We all want to know that our lives amount to more than the sum of our experiences. We all need a why to help us get through the good and the bad of life.
So, what is a meaningful life? Social science points to one defining feature. You connect and contribute to something beyond yourself. That could be your family, your work, nature, or God.
And when people say their lives are meaningful, it’s because three conditions have been satisfied: They believe their lives matter, they have a sense of purpose that drives them forward, and they think their lives are coherent and make sense.
It sounds like a lot, but that last point is something you can do right now. People tell me the simple act of storytelling gives meaning, or can at least clear the path to it. That, I think, might explain the rise of rap and hip-hop and the popularity of the radio series “StoryCorps” and “The Moth.”
Making a narrative out of the events in your life provides clarity. It offers a framework that goes beyond the day-to-day. It’s the act itself, and not necessarily sharing their story with others, that helps people make sense of themselves and their lives. And we all have the power to tell or to re-tell our life story in more positive ways.