As I sit here inside of the Portrait Gallery in DC, I can’t help but feel inspired. I’m surrounded by paintings and portraits of people who have made a historical impact. They are all now dead. Their portraits and accomplishments will live on here forever.
This makes me realize a couple of things. First, and most cliche, is that life is short. The time we have here is but a blink on the grand scheme of things. Second, it’s important to live your short life in a meaningful way. What is going to be your legacy here? Will you be known as an inventor, parent, explorer, scientist, entrepreneur? There are many things that you can do. What matters is that you find it meaningful.
A lot of people (this guy especially) spend their lives in search of happiness. I’m beginning to think that is the opposite approach we should be taking. Happiness is about feeling good. Meaning comes from giving to others or contributing to society in a bigger way. I believe that happiness without meaning really doesn’t lead to a great life – This characterizes a shallow existence. Those of you who know me are probably laughing at this point – and that’s fine. I want only to point out my thoughts on the difference between happiness and meaning. Happiness is a feeling, much the same as sadness, and it fades away like any other feeling. I feel that striving to find meaning in your life will ultimately lead you down the right path and you’ll stop searching for happiness.
Where do I find meaning in my life?
Calm down. I’m not really sure, actually. If I were sure of anything, I’d bottle up that snake oil and sell it. What I am sure of, though, is that there are things you can do today to improve your situation. My biggest improvement came from doing things – instead of just talking. I learned to observe and absorb everything. The key is to get used to observing first, basing your ideas on what you actually see, and then analyzing what you find. This will also help with how you deal with the people in your life. You will begin to understand people better when you step outside of yourself, put away your iPhone, and delve into their mind. This will also, hopefully, lead to new experiences, encounters, and more meaningful days.