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The Napoleon Dynamite View of Massive Meaning

meaning in life philosophy philosophy of life purpose in life the meaning of life the philosophical life what is the meaning of life Sep 09, 2020

Let me ask: Do you believe you can live a massively meaningful life?

Perhaps you're thinking like Napoleon Dynamite: "I don't have any skills...You know, like nunchuck skills, bo hunting skills, computer hacking skills." Only people with great skills can live massively meaningful lives. And I'm like Napoleon on that front.

Well, it depends how you define a massively meaningful life. If you think only people who've developed super-skills through singular-focus on one area of life can live such a life, then you're right. In fact, you might think only the world's top performers and the mover and shakers of history can live a massively meaningful life.

I think this is mistaken. I think a super-meaningful life is within the reach of average people who don't have crazy skills in one area of life. You don't have to be Bill Gates, Elon Musk, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Einstein, or Mother Teresa to live a massively meaningful life.

How is it possible for us normal people to live super-meaningful lives?

What do Marie Curie, Einstein, Bill Gates, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela have in common? They all did big things in the area of career, work, and vocation. Yet this isn't the only area of life that makes it meaningful.

In a Pew research study in 2017, Americans were most likely to mention Family when describing what gives their life a sense of meaning, at 69%. The second area was Career (34%), and (cue Pink Floyd) Money came in third (23%). The rest were Spirituality and Faith (20%), Friends (19%), Activities and Hobbies (19%), Health (16%), Home and Surrounding (13%), and Learning (11%).

What if you could take a balanced approach to meaning? What if you could achieve meaning in key areas of life without needing to be a super-star in any one particular area. Perhaps you don't need a perfect marriage or relationship with your partner or kids to be doing well in the area of family.

Following a philosophically-informed and evidence-based approach, I define massive meaning in life as involving accurate perception of your life making sense in light of reality (coherence), having a clear mission that supports purposes in and goals in key areas, and having a sense that your life is significant because of how fulfilling it is and the things you do that are valued by others.

I believe this is something you can do, especially with guidance and good community supporting you.

Shine on you crazy diamond,
Christopher "Missing Mad Skillz" Cloos

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