The book “The Power of Meaning” by Emily Esfahani Smith stands out for me as a powerful guide to finding meaning in our lives. It gives a different perspective to what we know about happiness. Social scientists are now proving what philosophers have known all along; that the pursuit of happiness actually makes people unhappy. Emily Esfahani Smith identifies four pillars upon which meaning rests: Belonging, Purpose, Storytelling and Transcendence.
The book talks about how social scientists are now showing that the more effort we put into building something, the more we value it. We knew and learned this as children while trying out new sports and hobbies but we tend to forget this lesson as adults- “only by facing challenges head on can we truly find meaning in our lives”.
The author gives an insight to what determines a life lived purposefully through a few examples but they highlight the same thing. Each of us have different strengths, abilities, insights and talents and we will need to be aware of these and have knowledge about ourselves to live a life filled with purpose. She goes on to show that those of us who have a purpose in life, contribute towards the goal that we set for ourselves, ultimately lead lives which are more satisfying and meaningful. She shows that by reaching out and helping others helps us connect to something bigger than ourselves and ultimately makes us feel as if we are connected to everyone and makes us a part of a bigger whole.
Through stories and examples, she gives a roadmap to those who want to craft a meaningful life. At the end, love is the tie that binds all the points she makes in this book as we learn how to find meaning in our everyday lives and in the mundane.