Pew Research shared a fascinating study across 17 nations on the topic – what makes life meaningful?
Family, careers/occupation, and material well-being rounded up the top 3 with friends and health following close behind.
The differences between countries were very interesting as well. Family, however, continued to be nearly always on top.
Interestingly, Americans were, by a distance, more likely to mention religion/faith as a top source of meaning.
There were many other fascinating insights. For example, younger people were more likely to rank friends as the highest source of meaning. Women were slightly more likely than men to mention families. Those who are well off are more likely to mention material well-being. And those who identified on the left of the political spectrum were more likely to mention nature vs. religion for those on the right.
If there’s one takeaway from all of this, it is that there is no single source of meaning for everyone. We derive meaning from different sources in different amounts.
And as with everything else in this life, it helps to take the time to figure out what works for us.