Pillar 11

Meaning & Purpose


The ultimate goal of positive psychology is to support individuals in living meaningful lives.

While joy, positive emotions, and engagement are all valuable elements of a happy and fulfilled life, in the end, the meaning is the one that is the deepest, the strongest experience of being human, and one that many of us sense as the most valuable aspect of life.

Take a moment to reflect: What is a meaningful life for you?



When we talk about meaning, we talk about two levelsseeing meaning in the “big picture” of life and finding meaning in smaller everyday moments.

The first one is all about how meaningful we experience life to be. Thinking about our whole life, existence, and our purpose, what are we here to create and experience in this world?

The second one is more about finding meaning in small things that we do in everyday life – are we spending our days moment to moment in a way that makes sense to us?


Ideally, these two would be connected and small everyday moments would feel meaningful as they contribute to our “bigger picture”, but life can feel very meaningful and fulfilled even when that is not the case.
However, some sense of meaning on each of these two levels is needed for our life not to feel empty or frustrating.



One thing that many people misunderstand (also under the influence of modern media) is that meaning is not something that just happens to us – instead, the meaning is something that we create, mold, shape, and build through our thinking patterns and our attitudes towards the world and events. It develops throughout our life, one step at a time, through the way we give meaning to our experiences and the way we make new meaningful plans.


Looking for more specific actions and tips on how to strengthen each of the pillars?

Join the Happiness Academy free 12 lessons email course “Strengthen your pillars of happiness”. 



Sense of meaning and what we find meaningful is something that keeps on growing, evolving, and developing throughout our lives.
The search for meaning is what makes life interesting – the magic is to keep on discovering new shades and layers of meaning throughout our life. The quest of building and finding meaning is never quite finished and there is always more to explore. 


Read more about Pillar 11 – Meaning & Purpose on the Happiness Academy blog: