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Nathanael Garrett Novosel, December 23 2020

Measuring What Makes Life Meaningful

Can what makes life worthwhile be measured?  You might be thinking, "Of course not.  It's unique and subjective to every person."  As a result, you might be surprised to hear that the answer is actually yes, absolutely.  There are key characteristics of people who find life meaningful that you can start tracking and improving to find more meaning in your life.

As a reminder (or introduction for new visitors), there are eight key components to a meaningful life:

Because these are the top eight drivers in finding meaning in life, you can identify and define ways to measure all of them to get a feel for whether your life will feel worthwhile.  Let's give an example for each:

So if you track those eight areas over time and try to manage them to a healthy degree, you can find that your sense of meaning and fulfillment in life will improve.  It has to, as if you're choosing to grow through desirable experiences that you believe and feel are worthwhile and are doing them correctly and with help, you have everything you need to find meaning in what you're doing.

Why does it work that way?  Essentially, a meaningful/worthwhile life will involve growth (both your own and fostering others’ growth) through experience in areas you want to grow in and believe you can.  You’ll have to do things ethically and with help to maximize your growth and feel like what you're doing is "greater than you" (i.e., a greater or higher purpose), and you’ll have to take control over your life for it to feel worthwhile.  You’ll know you’re doing all of this when you feel good.

Note that, in essence, your emotions are your best measurement of life success: happiness/satisfaction is an indicator of success; sadness is an indicator that you’re off track.  But if that one measure is too complex, vague, or ambiguous for you at first, the eight categories above can give you plenty of ways to measure how meaningful you are finding your life and what's probably wrong if you're not.  Emotions are the easiest way to see if you're finding what you're doing meaningful, but the others are required for root-cause analysis of what the problem is.

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Nathanael Garrett Novosel

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