The meaning and purpose of life is a quest, don’t add the ‘ion’.
Dr George Blair-West is a Brisbane psychologist that has become increasingly aware of the importance of meaning and purpose in day-to-day feelings and wellbeing. Whether he is treating obesity, gross trauma or relationship problems, a common underlying factor is the unhappiness that comes with a lack of meaning and the purpose that follows from it.
But when looking on a deeper level, asking the most important of life’s greatest questions: Who am I? What am I here to do? What is holding me back? can all cause people significant anxiety.
So, how to proceed? Here are seven tips from his new book ‘The Way of the Quest’:
1. Manage anxiety- humans dislike being faced with a question we don’t know the answer to. He suggests dropping the ‘ion’, allowing it to become a quest for meaning, as by definition quests are only answered over time.
2. Remind yourself that feelings of unhappiness and despair often follow from a lack of meaning and purpose.
3. Write a list of childhood dreams and future dreams, and re-order the list based on which makes you feel good.
4. Look back over all jobs, hobbies and projects you have taken on in your life. Write down the parts of the activities that you enjoyed doing the most.
5. Don’t quit your day job, but dare yourself to find three hours a fortnight to spend time working towards doing some of what you have identified from these exercises.
6. If you feel good once you get amongst it, keep going. If it does nothing for you, go back to steps five and six. Keep moving forward and eliminate things from your list.
7. Beware the fear that holds you back, i.e the unknown, fear of letting go of dreams that no longer works or change. While confronting, this is a necessary path towards ultimately finding a way forward and finding your meaning and the purpose that follows from it.