In the glare of the sun, I sat by myself on our tattered red sofa. And while it occupied most of the room, it didn’t confine me. I was busy drifting off into spaces beyond.
I visited what had been: last winter. And I saw I was hurting and lost. It was not a pretty picture, but it served as a powerful reminder and contrast. It made me long for someplace better.
I visited what could be: the rest of my life. And I knew I had opportunities. While it was intriguing, I had trouble focusing the picture. …
I had four pieces of paper crumbled in my hands. I shook them around and unfolded two of them: ‘DJ’ and ‘Poker Player.’ That was going to be my life from that point on.
After high school, the established path was finished, and it was time to choose my own way. But I struggled. Months went by without a clue, and I increasingly felt at loss.
As the days grew in number, quiet turned to sighs, and apathy turned to anxiety. And then one evening, when I couldn’t take the frustration anymore, I put ink to four pieces of paper.
“Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.” — Albert Camus
The world doesn’t care about anything, but you do. And that’s what makes life so meaningful or meaningless to live — depending, of course, on how you evaluate it.
Every day, in every moment, you make evaluations. This can be of single items, lasting events, and even of yourself and life as a whole. In turn, these evaluations form a sense of significance, which is partly responsible for the meaningfulness you feel.
In general, positive evaluations leads to more significance…
The rent was due in a few days, so I checked my bank-account. A shiver ran down my spine as I realized I couldn’t pay it. I couldn’t afford to live in my apartment anymore.
To understand how I got in this situation, we have to go back a decade.
In high school, at the time ‘EDM’ and Avicii was arising, I was inspired to produce music myself. It looked like an awesome vocation, and of course, there were visions of success, money and fame. This was the first time I could feel my entrepreneurial spirit flowing. …
In a psychological experiment, participants were introduced to some pictures of trees, four for each of the seasons. While the participants thought their job was to evaluate the contrast of the pictures, the real experiment was to see how the order of the pictures affected them.
For half of the participants, they were arranged in a random order. For the other half, they were arranged so that they followed cycles of seasonal change. After the task, everyone rated their meaning in life, and it turned out to be significantly higher in the seasonal arrangement group than in the random one.
In the fall of 2019, I tried to make it as a full-time writer. Half a year later, I was broke; self-employment ruined me.
The money had burned faster than imagined, and I desperately needed a way to pay the bills. I didn’t want to give up too much of my time, however, because writing was what I set out to do. Something like a part-time job would be ideal, allowing me just enough freedom to continue tasting the writer’s lifestyle.
I applied for several jobs, and was eventually hired at a nursing home. Upon mentioned this to others, many…
Many of our limitations are self-imposed: we lie to ourselves, neglect the whole picture, and get tripped up by giving in to social pressure.
Because of this, we tend to make choices that leave us feeling stuck — stuck in a way of living that just doesn’t feel right: we choose a career path that’s safe, suppress our eccentricities, and fall into group-think way too often.
Still, it seems reasonable — like they’re the logical things to do. …
Everyone wants to live a meaningful life, but not everyone realizes they’re already living it — at least to a certain degree.
You see, it isn’t always obvious we have something when we’re in the middle of it. Sometimes, the only way to see things clearly is by having it taken away. So, what you characterize as normal living might actually be pretty meaningful. And you’ll realize that if meaninglessness comes your way.
Then, instead of feeling “nothing special” (normal), you might start to feel empty, indifferent, or lost; like life doesn’t matter, doesn’t make much sense, or doesn’t have…
The great psychologist Carl Jung once said:
“Meaninglessness inhibits fullness of life and is therefore equivalent to illness.”
I believe he’s right. I’ve experienced it. But it’s also worse than any other illness I’ve encountered. It’s an all-encompassing force, like an illness of one’s entirety. And of course, that inhibits life.
Looking back, I’m aware of some of the things that caused it for me: moving to a new place and not fitting in, quitting a long-time hobby and having nothing to replace it with, and spending too much time alone in a dimly lit apartment. These things tore me…
People used to think the earth was flat. It was an implicit theory, because indeed, it appeared to be so.
You too, might carry such implicit theories about the world. And it’s not unusual to have a few. Formed through interactions with your parents, peers, and experience, they’ve been conceived, updated, and gradually established to the point they inform what you think and do.
But just as the flat-earth theory turned out, they might not be correct. It might just be you haven’t encountered something that violates their assumptions yet.
Studying for my master’s degree in psychology, I’ve encountered plenty…