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How do we find meaning in life?


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It's about stories.

We are the stories we tell ourselves:

Our attitudes and beliefs often follow from our behaviors, rather than precede them.

As Kurt Vonnegut famously wrote, "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."

People who do volunteer work, for example, often change their narratives of who they are, coming to view themselves as caring, helpful people.

Truth in that... it's a little bit of "fake it till you make it" rolled in with some healthy "you are the company you keep," wrapped up with some "Great people do great things." You can alter the details of "the story," but a person's inner goodness shines through every time--can't fake that.

Most importantly, we are feedback loops.

The more we think it, feel it, say it, and keep company with it, the more we become it.

Absolutely true. And it's amazing to see the results.

Beautiful as usual, Eric. You hit the nail on the head. The fact that the story isn't important is not a negative, but a positive, because once we change the story, or the paradigm in which we entertain the story, we can always use it to reshape ourselves for better. I watched Neil Gaiman give a graduation speech where he said that he was glad no one had told him what he was about to do was impossible, because he wouldn't have done it.

The creation of the story gives such power for people to do great things:) Loved this post.

This Neil Gaiman speech?

Such great food for thought and love all of the studies cited. Most importantly is: Be the story you tell yourself. As Eric mentioned early in the article, the most important step is CHOOSE the story you tell yourself. And choose wisely. Probably the most important decision you make on a daily basis.

I think too many ppl aren't choosing anything at all. They are just reacting the the world around them and letting circumstances dictate their narrative. Not realizing we have the choice to be proactive in our own lives. How that decision can change everything.

Thanks for the discussion!

How do you do it? Do you create supporting posts every time you bring out a blockbuster like this one?

I suspect the fact that I am a writer, tell stories for a living (marketing), and am known as one of the happiest people in the world must go hand in hand.

Yet if that's the case, why are so many other writers depressed?

Chris, writing does not correlate with happiness, depression, or any other emotion.

There are happy writers and depressed writers.

The feedback loop works either way.

Suzannah, you're right that there's lots we choose.

But there's also a fundamental essence of us -- the core of our being -- and that is something we don't have a lot of choice about.

I'd say that in life, the essential of what we are and what happens to us out of our control comprises about 20%.

How we choose to react -- and what feedback loops we create -- I'd estimate at 80% of our lives.

Interesting thoughts. I used to think that I produced my best work when on a downturn, but I see the world so much differently, and I find that it flows much, much better. And I like the results. I think the sullen artistic motif is highly overrated--I'm much happier being...well...happy:)

@Adam...yup, I believe that's the one... sorry, I got distracted and didn't pull it.

Chris:

Fiction writers are 10 times more likely to be bipolar. In poets it's 40 times more likely.

http://www.bakadesuyo.com/are-creative-people-more-likely-to-be-crazy

I can't remember where these percentages come from but I think they say happiness i