Finding Meaning in Everyday Life
For the past eight years, we at Holstee have been exploring what it means to live a meaningful life. We’ve done our homework, diving into ancient philosophy, studying positive psychology, and staying on top of the latest research from modern science. While we are far from having all the answers, we have learned a lot. Here are three learnings that have really stuck with us:
1) Pain is inevitable; suffering is a choice
Our favorite example of this comes from Viktor Frankl. In his book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” he describes the experience of arriving at a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. He is immediately stripped of everything he has, his hair is shaved, and he is left to stand in a room of similarly affected people — some strangers, others he’d known all his life. It is at that moment that Frankl has the realization that even though everything — his possessions, his family, his dignity — had been taken away from him, he still had the power choose how he would react to the situation in front of him. This is an extreme example, but it shows how in our lives, things might happen that were not in our plans and are out of our control. But the way we react to them is always our choice.
2) Intrinsic values FTW
There is nothing wrong with fame, wealth or wanting to look good — each of these extrinsic values can come about from doing perfectly healthy things. The thing to keep in mind here is that society has a tendency to celebrate our extrinsic values. When this happens, it is often at the expense of our intrinsic values — or the values that drive us to grow, become better humans, and find true sustained happiness. So if you ever get to a point where extrinsic values become your primary motivation, that might be a sign to check in with yourself and rebalance your priorities.
3) Focus on what’s important
The ability to focus our attention where we want, when we want is both more difficult and more valuable than ever before. We intuitively know that we should focus more time on the things that really matter to us and cut those things that just seem urgent. The reality is that we live in a notification-driven culture that values instant gratification, and this makes focusing on the important super difficult — but not impossible. It requires both a desire and a regular practice.
Putting these learnings into action is not a destination — it’s a life-long journey that we’ve embarked on together with our Holstee community. We welcome you to join us.
Michael Radparvar is the co-founder of Holstee, whose journey began in 2009 with the viral popularity of their company Manifesto. Now, Holstee helps conscious people (like you!) live a more meaningful life through actionable guides, inspiring art, curated content, and a like-minded community. Through our monthly membership, we explore 12 themes inspired by the science of mindfulness, positive psychology, and ancient philosophy.
Michael and his team at Holstee recently partnered with 1Hotels to create Meaningful Meetings, a newly-launched program based on mindfulness that’s designed to transform that way we approach meetings.