This won’t be a a very deep post, and certainly not a spiritual one. Oh, and there’s a very valid reason why this post has a pic of Lemmy! (Pic of Lemmy is from Wikipedia, under Creative Commons licence)
I believe the meaning of life is far simpler than what most people realise. As a species, we’re forever trying to overcomplicate things, and often reject correct answers for “being too simple”, preferring instead complex, incorrect answers. This one’s very simple, and I believe correct.
The meaning of life is just this: to leave this world at least a tiny bit better than you found it.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Well, except we need to look at what “better” means. It most certainly doesn’t refer to money, status or what is conventionally viewed as success.
To make the world better, you need to help people, without being motivated by profit, or personal gain. It’s the little things that matter, like holding open the door for a stranger. It’s that friendly smile someone unknown to you gave you, that stays with you, and that you in turn share with several others.
The more you chase things, the emptier you’ll end up feeling. Enough, for most people, just never is enough. In 2017, the UN ran a research project in central Angola. One of the questions they asked was simply this: “What tells you that someone is rich?”.
The most common answer is heart-breaking: when they have shoes. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not judging you, nor am I trying to make you feel guilty. I’m simply trying to demonstrate that each of us have far more to be grateful for that what we tend to realise.
It is when you realise that actually you do have enough, and when you start seeing the deep joy that is to be found in helping others that you will start feeling happier within yourself.
We live in a world where being just average has come to be viewed somehow as a failure of some kind. It’s not. You and me are average. Our loved ones, our relatives and our acquaintances are – with extremely few exceptions – just average people.
There’s nothing wrong with being average. This is not to say you shouldn’t try your best, but I am saying that none of us can be at our best all the time. We make mistakes, we get things wrong, we get tired, and sometimes, we fall flat on our faces. And that’s OK.
Stop comparing the average parts of your life with the show-reel highlights of others. Have you ever seen a movie trailer that looked wonderful, but the film itself wasn’t? Some people are really good at putting together show-reels that make it seem they’re living a life filled to the brim with excitement and fun. Nobody has that in their life. Not even Lemmy Kilmister, one of the greatest rock stars ever, lived a life like that.
Instead of looking at others, and wanting what they seem to have, why not look at those who have less than you, and try to help them? Even if it’s just sharing a smile with a stranger. Small random acts of kindness really do help to make the world a better place, but you’re not allowed to tell people. After all, you’re doing it for the greater good, not to build your show-reel.
Look at your life, and everything in it, then honestly ask yourself how many of the things you own you actually need. Even if you do need something, does it have to be that model, that shiny and glitzy, or did you just get that to outdo the neighbours?
Owning too many things simply removes flexibility and freedom from your life, so stop being such a good little consumer. If you must buy something, can you buy second hand?
Try it, and see how you feel after a few months. I think you’ll come back and agree with me.
One thought on “The meaning of life”
I agree, simplify is best. If I do buy something it's not always new. I rarely upgrade what I have, if it did what I needed it to do; a new version would have to be substantially better. Mostly I replace what can't be repaired.