ELLE (Canada) - - Guide -

“I’ll be happy when I get this job/this part­ner/these new Loubs” said ev­ery per­son ever. That’s great, but play­ing the “when” game also pretty much guar­an­tees you’ll never be sat­is­fied. Choose mean­ing and pur­pose in­stead and hap­pi­ness will fol­low, says Emily Es­fa­hani Smith, au­thor of The Power of Mean­ing. “A mean­ing­ful life is as­so­ci­ated with con­nect­ing and con­tribut­ing to some­thing that’s big­ger than you,” she says, not­ing that, ac­cord­ing to stud­ies, “it leaves peo­ple with a deeper sense of well­be­ing.” So, how, pray tell, can we fig­ure out our life’s pur­pose? You don’t have to trans­form into Mother Teresa overnight. (Although for some, spir­i­tu­al­ity plays a role in defin­ing their pur­pose.) Fig­ure out what your in­ter­ests are and how you can con­trib­ute them to the world. Or, as Es­fa­hani Smith says, de­cide how you can make other peo­ple’s lives bet­ter— even if it’s just ask­ing your over-it barista how her day is. “Hope­fully the sense of grat­i­fi­ca­tion that comes from that can ini­ti­ate a string of be­hav­iours,” she says.

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