power.jpgThe Power of Meaning Crafting a Life that Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith

While many people search for happiness, a more fortuitous quest may be that of the search for meaning.  If you struggle with the question, “Why am I here?” this book may assist you in your endeavor to answer it.

The author lays out the four pillars of meaning as: Belonging, Purpose, Storytelling, and Transcendence.

The answers may or may not lie in religion, and it is possible to have a spiritual experience  within or without the boundaries of organized religion.

Even the most solitary among us has a basic need to BELONG somewhere and have people we care about and who care about us. In the very beginning of life this is absolutely crucial, as seen with infants deprived of parental interaction or touch.

A sense of PURPOSE or meaningful work may actually bring about the happiness we so desperately seek.  Often we are told to “follow our passion” and “do what you love,” but perhaps a more practical and satisfying pursuit is to find or create work that is of some benefit to the greater good, be that a cause or society at large.  Even the most “menial” jobs can serve a purpose and feel rewarding.  Picking up trash makes the world a better place and/or provides financial support for your family.  It’s all in your mindset/attitude.

Everyone has a STORY TO TELL, and telling it helps them figure things out  You create your story, complete with good guys and bad guys, and the story you tell effects who you are. Whether you see yourself as a victim or a hero is up to individual interpretation.  You have the power to change your story and change you life.  Considering the “what-ifs” can also have a huge impact. Listening to other people’s stories–truth or fiction–can also help you understand yourself better.

TRANSCENDENT experiences can take you out of the mundane of the daily grind.  They can help you figure out your place in the grand scheme of things.  They can inform you that you are but a small part of something much larger than yourself.

We all carry with us wounds from our past.  Growth comes from pushing through the tragic events and perhaps later  helping others push through their own. Often you will find you are stronger for having lived through a tragedy, and some people even use it as a motivation to make the world a better place so that others won’t suffer the same pain.  When bad things happen to good people, it may actually make their relationships stronger, give them a new sense of purpose, and help them discover how strong they actually are.  Some people come out of trauma broken, while others find a way to not only survive, but thrive.  Resilience CAN be learned.

We can all benefit from finding our purpose and meaning in our lives.

This book also contains an extensive list of resources (Notes) at the end with more information on many of the points covered throughout.

Although the text is full of anecdotes and useful information, I just couldn’t connect with the material in a meaningful way–no pun intended.  It didn’t…flow for me.

I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy from First To Read.


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