Since we talk about longevity and healthy aging quite a bit in Further, you might think the goal is to live as long as possible. But no — it’s about a life worth living, whether that be for five more years or 50.
So what makes life worth living? Since the time of the Ancient Greeks, the answer has been meaning, and its actionable component purpose.
This probably isn’t a new flash to you. But new research seems to confirm your common sense, just in case you’re concurrently skeptical.
A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that the sense that one is living a worthwhile life appears to be the key to living a good life. University College London psychologist and epidemiologist Andrew Steptoe, who oversaw the study, says:
These associations seem quite pervasive, right across a whole spectrum of our experience. It’s not only related to health but to social functions, psychological and emotional experiences, economic prosperity, things like sleeping well and time spent doing different kinds of activities.
Yes, if you don’t find life worthwhile, it makes sense that you’re not exactly heavy into activities. It also tends to follow that ensuring that you do have meaning and purpose in your life should be job number one.
But what if you feel as if you don’t?
Finding purpose at halftime
It’s entirely possible that someone reading this has spent their life chasing success, and now finds themselves forty-something, unhappy, and lost. It certainly happened several years ago to the person writing this.
Shifting from a success mindset to a meaning mindset is the key to turning things around. And since purpose is subjective, it’s not important what you choose, it only matters that you have it — and that it’s truly meaningful to you.
Generally, you need to devote some serious time to self reflection to figure out what really makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. You don’t have to resolve to save the world, but you do have to find your reason to live.
P.S. If you’re feeling aimless but not sure if you’re truly lacking in purpose, there’s a way to measure it. Viktor Frankl developed a set of 13 questions that measure purpose in life — here’s a PDF of the test.