Lina Ashar on Meaning and Purpose
I look around me and find the younger generation today is dealing with too many mental health issues. This has made me think and do some research to find the cause of the same.
The World Health Organization states that by 2030, depression will be the largest crisis facing mankind. I wonder why depression and other mental health issues are on the rise when we live better lives. Statistics show that people living under extreme poverty (earning less than 2$ per day) have reduced from 35% in 1987 to 11% in 2013. We live better lives than our forefathers, not just materially but spiritually as well and yet we are facing this crisis particularly amongst the youth.
In the race to chase the good life, the younger generation has forgotten to look for their purpose in life, the strong reason that makes them want to get up and get going. This mindless running around has created a disbalance in their lives making life meaningless and empty for them.
If we help the young find their Purpose in life and let them pursue what they want we will notice the world will become a happier place.
Most of you will ask me why is this important?
Research indicates that human beings need to have a meaning and purpose to look forward to, something that motivates them to wake up every morning and get going. Something that makes them feel like their existence matters and they are contributing towards society. When that is missing, they find no contentment in what they are doing or achieving.
There is another statistic I came across. The chances of becoming clinically depressed can go up by a whopping 40% after retirement. This is again because when people retire their sense of meaning and purpose suddenly disappears and overnight, they have nothing to look forward to. Hence physiologists advise that every human being must find activities they enjoy doing to keep themselves occupied.
Many researchers explore meaning and purpose and the value it adds to living a happy, meaningful, and successful existence. Ikigai explores it as purpose being the intersection between what you are good at doing, what you love, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for, and where these intersect is your Ikigai. Richard Leider has an equation for it. His equation for purpose is G+P+V = Purpose — where G is gifts, P is passion and V is values.
When we were younger these things were not known and most of the time not spoken about. However, now that we know this as a fact we must help our children by helping them find meaning and purpose in life. The simplest thing to do is make children define what they would like to pursue as an extracurricular activity or something that they would want to do for society. Once they have defined what they would like to do, let them dedicate a few hours every day. Remember one thing that their interests may change every few years. Let them explore multiple activities, it’s not necessary to stick to one thing. The idea behind this exercise is to let children identify their meaning and purpose and work around it.
Once that is defined and they start working toward their defined goals and feel like their lives have a meaning and purpose they will look forward to waking up every day and working a little more to their goals and despite the hardships they face they will keep moving forward as they will be motivated to overcome their issues in life.
This small exercise will help us reduce the risk of mental health issues in our youth and will also help them live happy and content lives. More power to all of us to find our meaning and purpose and work towards our goals.