If you’ve ever had problems with meaning, I recommend my new book to you that just came out this weekend! It’s called Life Purpose Boot Camp and it’s really worth your time and attention. Take a look here:
Here’s one idea from the book, the idea of meaning opportunities. Anything can be a meaning opportunity because anything can provoke the psychological experience of meaning. You might get out of your chair, go to the window, look out at the sky, and experience meaning. In this scenario it was opportune of you to walk to the window and look out. Maybe you suspected you would experience meaning, because looking at the sky regularly provokes that feeling in you. Maybe you had a hunch that it was time to get up and look out the window. Walking to the window and looking out was an intentional act.
Or maybe you got up and moved to the window unconsciously, looked out, smiled to yourself, returned to your chair, and hardly registered that you just experienced a meaningful moment. Whether the act of walking to the window and looking out at the sky occurred consciously or unconsciously, whether it registered as a meaningful moment or not, it was opportune that you did it. That action earned you some meaning.
You arrived at the window and had a meaningful experience. The same is potentially true about anything we might name: it might be opportune to play with your cat, to move halfway around the world, to donate to your favorite charity, to smile, to call your sister, to sweat bullets for the sake of your new business, or, of course, to make art. Anything, small or large, might prove opportune and provoke the psychological experience of meaning. Anything, including surprising things, scary things, and unpleasant things, may prove a meaning opportunity.
Yet although anything might provoke the experience of meaning, many things stand out as meaning opportunities. People regularly experience each of the following as a meaning opportunity: love and relationships; service and stewardship; good works and ethical action; excellence, achievement, and a good career; experimentation, excitement, and adventure; creativity and self-actualization; sensory stimulation and pleasure; and states of being such as contentment and appreciation. This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a suggestive list — it suggests the intimate relationship between value and meaning; it suggests how “doing” can provoke the experience of meaning but how “being” can also provoke it; and it begins to paint a picture of how a life can be knitted together around meaning opportunities.
To learn more about creating your own menu of meaning opportunities, one that includes your art-making but also a whole lot more, please get your hands on Life Purpose Boot Camp, available right now: