Arguably one of the most pressing questions of life is that which concerns meaning.
The subject of leading a meaningful life has generally been under the purview of philosophies and religions. And in more recent times, with the growing politicization of, well pretty much everything really, politics too has entered the fold.
Leaving politics aside for now, when it comes to what it means to lead a meaningful life, the focus generally shifts toward the larger topics.
‘The big questions’ so to speak: Those that concern the subjects of origin, morality, and destiny. With the question of ‘meaning’ being the underlying matter, holding all of it together.
This approach of tying the question of the meaning of life to these vast topics has worked well for a certain point of view.
For as far as one can look, these major considerations have been the driving forces of religions, philosophies, and other worldviews.
And with good reason. After all the questions of where we come from, what are we doing here, and where we are headed (besides you know what) are of great significance to all.
And (yes another ‘and’) the major religions and even certain ideologies of the past (and even present) have capitalized on this deep yearning of the human heart to find answers to these pressing questions.
However, the question remains, what does it have to do with a person’s well-being in the meantime?
Which is to say, as the pursuit of answers to these major questions life comes to have an effect on a person’s psyche as they invariably do (well, at least for most of us), what does it do to how a person views the reality of life?
That is the pressures, difficulties, and challenges of actually LIVING your life. Concerns never truly go away.
And with good reason.
The question is, what happens when a person who, whilst concerned about the so-called ‘big questions’ but is still naturally animated by the day-to-day concerns? What does he or she do then?
This post is an attempt to answer this question.
What Does it Mean to Lead a Meaningless Life?
Let’s start, as we often do at Bulldog Mindset, with a negative position.
What does a life that is absent of meaning look like?
This sounds like a straightforward question that comes with a straightforward answer. But interestingly, that is if one considers the major worldviews and (religious) beliefs of the world, the answer to this question is anything but.
This is a major talking point, which we will consider in a later part of this post. For now, let us look at our definition of what it means to lead a life without meaning.
Our definition of what it means to lead meaningless life entails a person whose life is characterized by the following:
- To be poor.
- To be lonely.
- To be controlled by others.
- To have little or no freedom.
OK. Now this answer may not go down well with a lot of people. Especially those who are in such a state at the moment. Particularly poverty and loneliness, and who will rightly protest such a position?
This is perfectly understandable.
Truth be told there are many, many people who are subject to these conditions at varying levels of severity. In addition, those who simply don’t have a choice, as their physical or mental conditions simply do not permit anything otherwise.
So again: we understand what this means.
But critically, when it comes to those who CAN do something about their present condition, but owing to:
- A Lack of effort
- A Lack of information
- The Inability to Change
- And the Unwillingness to Take Risks
Happen to be stuck in such a state.
To these guys, we say: ‘You have a problem’. Or better yet: ‘We have a problem’. And by extension: society has a problem.
At this point, we also understand the kind of pushback that is likely to come our way.
Money inst’ everything. Freedom is not as important as having some security. Taking risks comes with the risk of failure. And being lonely is not a choice.
And you know what, these arguments are right for many reasons. But they are also wrong for a variety of others.
But before we get to our side of the equation: explaining why poverty, loneliness, powerless, and to living in some state of captivity equal a life that is for the most part devoid of meaning, let us look at the conventional or dominant views on what it means to lead a meaningful life.
The Problem with Focusing on the ‘Big Questions’
If you turn to any religious channel, video, or broadcast, you are bound to run into some religious bigwig or preacher or someone with high credentials in a given subject area talking about the major questions of life.
These discussions often take different forms, depending on the religious system in question or setting. The manner and method in which these subjects are approached varying in terms of timing and context.
However, if you follow the conversations carefully, many of these major debates on such deep questions about life and meaning; there is generally little talk when it comes to what actually matters to people, especially men. Specifically when it comes to the day-to-day considerations of life.
Whilst debates about where we came from, why we are here and we are headed might (and certainly do) sound interesting. And no doubt a lot of people from many parts of the world (hundreds of millions at varying degrees) have to come to define their identity along their religions or philosophical convictions that center on these topics.
Who in turn have proceeded to live their lives in a way where even the most pressing questions such as financial security, personal development, economic and social freedom, and even the basic idea of happiness are downplayed in relation to them.
However, this DOES not mean that everyday concerns: the seemingly mundane, but very important questions of life: those which concern your financial security, your mental and physical fitness, your social circle, and your capacity to fulfill your purpose in life go away.
In fact, they never do.
This leaves many men in the modern world in a fix.
For, on the one hand, he is trying to do good and lead a life of meaning. Which, by the most dominant voices often comes down focusing on questions of morality, origins, and the destiny of the soul.
But at the same time, he is also required to lead a meaningful life: that is a life of purpose.
So the question is: What does leading a life of purpose look like? The answer to this takes us to the next part of this post.
To Lead a Life of Meaning One Must Lead a life of Purpose
Purpose is a big world. Almost as big as meaning. And with good reason.
But what does it mean to lead a life of purpose? And how exactly does it tie in with the question of meaning?
To do that let’s start by defining what is meant by the idea of purpose: In simple terms, purpose refers to something (or someone) that has been made or built to do, or accomplish.
This is an interesting and somewhat controversial point. Despite its widely recognized nature, the concept of purpose, or the idea of living a purposeful life is generally viewed somewhat negatively in the Western world.
There are a number of reasons for this.
One of which interestingly is the decline of organized religion in most Western countries. And world religions, particularly the monotheistic ones generally stress the end goal or the idea of living a purposeful life.
Of course, these concepts are generally categorized under various religious dogmas and teachings. This means their practical significance often gets blurred under cosmic matters.
Now given the decline of religious sensibilities, especially of the Christian variety in the West, has led to a lack of emphasis on purpose, or more specifically the idea of living towards a certain endpoint or goal.
In turn, this has led to the overt focus on temporal concerns, with matters that may be considered of deep moral and social significance being relegated down.
Problematically, speaking of the status of men in the modern world, this has come to the preoccupation with vague and essentially unattainable ‘goals’ like happiness.
And the problem with the idea of pursuing such ends is that not only are they practically unreachable, but they mislead men into setting the wrong priorities.
Think about it.
If you set out in life trying to achieve the goal of ‘happiness’ and consider this state or whatever it is supposed to be as the main end. The question is what are you going to be doing in the process?
What concrete steps can or should you be taking in achieving this goal? If you are going through life and trying to achieve happiness, and have no idea what that truly looks like. This is going to be trouble.
Now, this is a serious point. Especially for men.
All the talk about gender and gender equality aside, in life there are clear differences between men and women. Differences at the biological level, then affect the social and relational dimensions.
Which in turn has an effect on the kind of decisions you make in terms of academics, career choices, and professional aspirations.
Yes, we know talking about gender differences (between biological men and women) is not the most fashionable thing. But it is a pertinent one nonetheless.
Especially at a time when a lot of men, as we have written elsewhere, are struggling to not just lead a meaningful life, but to simply get by.
Interestingly is a good place to start when it comes to approaching the ‘meaning of life’ question.
Considering that as human beings, despite all our big goals and ambitions, we are still, for the most part, driven by very fundamental drives and emotions.
Among the most notable is the need for financial security, the desire for relationships and intimacy, and they want to be recognized by the wider world in which we operate in.
In fact, an argument can be made that much of the talk on the meaning or to lead a meaningful life stems from the inability or the lack on the part of many people, men in particular, to actually reach these goals.
In fact, an argument can be made that when it comes to finding meaning in life, the real goal is to get the fundamentals right (i.e. the basic questions that concern money, security, and relationships). And then to let the person find it out for themselves.
Essentially when it comes to these big questions like meaning and happiness, the best strategy to approach them is to focus, somewhat ironically, on the ‘smaller questions’. Focus on getting the basics right first and then see how these bigger questions can be answered.
But how do you do it? How does one start, follow through and then succeed in answering these ‘smaller’ questions of life: those that pertain to your health, wealth, and status? And critically, how do they tie in with the question of purpose?
These certainly are big questions. Legitimate questions. But not all of that can be answered fully. At least not in the course of a few thousand words.
For now, let’s focus on the first and most important step. Which is on getting started.
Starting to Live a Life of Purpose
The first step is often the hardest to make.
There is a lot that can be said on the topic of meaning, happiness, purpose, and other great subjects. However, when it comes down to it, the real challenge lies in making that first move.
In making the right and necessary step in moving things forward in whatever area of your life.
- Wanting to be rid of the cumbersome 9 – 5 Job.
- To have the kind of social circle you like.
- To have the body of an athlete or bodybuilder.
- Or in the relational department: to land a hot girlfriend, or to get good with women.
As trivial as these things may sound, when it comes to the actual task of accomplishing them, only a small percentage of men actually succeed.
The discussions today on the top earners, millionaires, billionaires, or the top 10 or 1 percent of men in society who dominate almost everything is not without merit.
The problem today, especially in the West, where there are so many distractions, and mediums competing for your attention, getting these basic questions right is often ignored or downplayed.
Often to the immediate, or at least long-term detriment of the person in question.
The importance of attaining financial security in these uncertain times can not be stressed enough. Where everything from inflation, slowing growth in many parts of the world, high debt levels, and new disruptions to the workplace means that you as a man who seeks to find meaning… No security in life needs to think and act fast.
If you are uncertain of where to start, and if you are looking for a tested formula with virtually guaranteed returns in the key areas of life that we have been talking about, and important financial security (provided you put in the work), then we might have the solution that you are looking.
Whilst you can no doubt benefit from the many free resources that we provide to help men: from blogs to quality YouTube content; when it comes to taking concrete action it is worth taking that extra step.
It is a small investment that you might want to consider making. For nothing good comes free in life. And if you do try it, consider that the benefits are more than just a boost to your net worth.
In case we sounded dismissive in engaging a serious matter as finding meaning in life, we sincerely apologize. For that is not our intention.
Our goal here is to help people. To help them (you) reach their fullest potential. It is a tough world out there and when it comes to success in any area of life, nothing beats the principle of being prepared.
Think of it this way: when you see people, guys with loads of cash, fast cars, and nice homes, do you think they got it easy? Do you believe they got what they did by doing nothing? Of course not.
Whilst all of them didn’t necessarily slough through hours and hours of drab work to get where they did. And some did get lucky along the way. But the point remains that they did put in the work to get to where they did.
And by ‘work’, we are not just talking about working hard, long hours. At this point, you may have heard of the principle of working hard and smart.
Well, our job is to ensure that you work hard, smart and effectively to reach your goals in a timely manner. Are you ready?