The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness
If you’ve ever attempted to get and stay happy you’ve probably hit a wall at some point. Emily Esfahani Smith, researcher and author of The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness, argues we should stop searching for happiness and spend more time focusing on cultivating a meaningful life. “There are sources of meaning all around us, and by tapping into them, we can all lead richer and more satisfying lives.”
Smith outlines four pillars of meaning based on years of research: belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence. A chapter on growth details PTSD’s antithesis, post-traumatic growth, defined as “positive change that occurs as a result of a struggle with highly challenging life crises,” which closely mirrors the four pillars.
The most refreshing part of The Power of Meaning is that Smith acknowledges that life is (and will be) hard in unfair and unexpected ways, but how we interpret our experiences and choose to move forward will shape our lives far more powerfully than glossing over the pain and striving for happiness. Instead of following the happiness trend, Smith moves toward long-lasting meaning and fulfillment and gives you the tools to make it a reality.