Perhaps you think I’ve set myself an impossible challenge here?
Not so. The meaning of life is pretty straightforward to state. Your life has whatever meaning you give to it. So the question becomes: what do people say gives their lives meaning? That’s easy enough to measure and psychologists have done exactly that.
Baumeister and Vohs (2002) have synthesised four factors. When people are asked, the more they report each of these four factors being fulfilled, the more meaningful their lives feel:
So, there you have it: the meaning of life in under 300 words.
Two words of warning. Firstly, it can be quite difficult to get all these aspects in balance at the same place, although certainly not impossible. Secondly, a meaningful life is probably necessary to be happy, but that should never stop you from developing a healthy curiosity about harvesting and adding other aspects that nourish your life on a deep level.
What gives meaning to your life?