You Have To Make Life Meaningful

One day it will be someone’s job to eulogize you.

  • They’ll summarize your life into a few words, sentences, or paragraphs.
    • The family you created, the friends you made, the things you did.
    • In those words are the meaning of your life.

What do you want those words to say about you?

  • Life’s secret is that these words aren’t predetermined.
  • We get to pick these words through our actions now.

We are not born with a meaning of life.

  • We have to make our own lives meaningful.

Kids don’t need meaning.

  • Kids live for the moment.

Adults can live for the moment too.

  • The modern appeal of mindfulness and stoicism shows that many of us are searching for that peace.
    • These practices help us be happy in the moment, but they don’t give life itself meaning.

We have everything we “need” and we’re still not happy.

  • There is no suffering in our lives.
    • But there is no glory either.

The solution isn’t easy. But it is simple.

  • You have to make life meaningful.

The Japanese concept of Ikigai has gained popularity as an explanation for this missing meaning.

  • Ikigai is the intersection of four key needs:
    1. What you love.
    2. What you’re good at.
    3. What you can be paid for.
    4. What the world needs.
  • When we feel unbalanced, we need to find what’s missing.

What’s missing in most people’s lives is doing work that the world needs:

  • What the world needs is external, and thus hardest for us to measure.
    • But it’s also the most impactful because it improves our lives and others.

What is the most ambitious thing you could be doing? Why aren’t you doing it?

  • The fastest way to change the trajectory of your life is to be more ambitious now.

The answer to these Hamming Questions will lead you to your highest calling.

Change your eulogy now. Make your life more meaningful.

  • Do more of what the world needs and you’ll find more of the happiness you want.

This idea is a work-in-progress. If you’d like to riff on it, hit me up @neilthanedar on Twitter.

Published by Neil Thanedar

Neil Thanedar is an entrepreneur, investor, scientist, altruist, and author. He is the founder & GP of Utopic, a pre-seed biotech VC fund investing in the future of science. He is also the founder & chairman of Air to All, a 501(c)3 nonprofit medical device startup, and Labdoor, a consumer watchdog with $7M+ in funding and 20M+ users. He previously co-founded Avomeen Analytical Services, a product development and testing lab acquired for $30M+ in 2016. He has also served as Executive Director of The Detroit Partnership and Senior Advisor to his father Shri Thanedar in his campaigns for Governor, State Representative, and US Congress in Michigan.