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What is The Meaning of Life?

Meaning is the associations that our minds draw

Our brains invent it as a way to explain all the crazy shit that is going on in the world around us. This helps us predict and control our lives.

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What is The Meaning of Life?

What is The Meaning of Life?

https://markmanson.net/the-meaning-of-life

markmanson.net

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Key Ideas

Meaning is the associations that our minds draw

Our brains invent it as a way to explain all the crazy shit that is going on in the world around us. This helps us predict and control our lives.

Types of Meaning in Life

1. Cause/Effect Meaning primarily involves the logical parts of our brain: You kick the ball, the ball moves.
2. Better/Worse Meaning has to do with the nature of our values and relies mostly on the emotional parts of our brains: Eating is better than starving.

Meaning is nature’s tool for motivation

It’s how evolution made sure we got shit done. When there is great meaning attached to something, we will go to insane lengths to make things right. 

Meaning does't exist outside of ourselves

It is not some cosmic universal truth waiting to be discovered, that will change our lives forever. It requires action and is something that we must continually find and nurture. 

2 ways to create meaning in your life

  1. Solve problems: The more work you do towards that problem,  the more meaning you will feel.
  2. Help others: Our well-being is deeply tied to the quality of our relationships, and the best way to build healthy relationships is through helping others.

Goals are good tools for building motivation

But by themselves, they are arbitrary and empty. Goals are dangerous because the meaning they provide when you’re working towards them is the meaning that is taken away once you achieve them.

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Every Decision In Life Becomes a Trade-Off
Every Decision In Life Becomes a Trade-Off

... and boils down to what we give up to attain something. Our mindsets are inclined towards pleasure and resistive towards pain. We normally like to think in terms of gai...

Good and Bad Decisions

Decisions are a cost-benefit analysis of risking something small for the opportunity to gain something big.

  • Good decisions can be: Exercising, meditating for 10 minutes daily, finding the courage and striking up a conversation with someone, applying for jobs that you may or may not get.
  • Bad decisions can be: lying or pretending to someone, driving unsafely, sending angry text messages, or staying up late drinking before an important meeting or exam in the morning.
Trade-offs and Life Values

Trade-offs are not something as simple as flipping a coin. Our values guide us towards what we want in life, and it is not the same for all. Example: Buying a house has a trade-off of mortgage for the next ten or more years. This is subjective and depends on what we value in life.

Indecisive people suffer because they don’t know their inner values and what they care about.

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The sensation of hunger

Hormones get released when we are hungry: NPY and AgRP from the hypothalamus, and ghrelin from the stomach.

Ghrelin levels tend to be higher in lean individuals and lower in peop...

Feeling sated
About a dozen or so hormones are responsible for making us feel full. 
  • GIP and GLP-1 are responsible for stimulating the production of insulin to regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates.
  • Other hormones are involved in slowing down the movement of food through the stomach.
  • CKK and PYY are vital in reducing the feeling of hunger. (Increased PYY causes a loss of appetite and is particularly high in patients who have a gastric band fitted to reduce the size of the stomach.)
Overeating is a habit

Even though your stomach has a hormonal system for telling your brain it is empty, it can also raise your hunger levels at specific times by learned associations, even if you had a large meal.

If you repeatedly eat chocolate after dinner when you sit on the couch, your body can start to associate sitting on the couch with eating, and you'll experience a craving.

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Feelings are summary judgments

Most of the time we don’t second guess them, and even if we do, they often end up overwhelming us. 

Negative feelings are very powerful and harder to question: we identify with them effo...

Misunderstanding resilience

Resilience is most times associated with being tough. But that’s not gonna get you very far with feelings. Don't try to be invulnerable. Aim for flexibility instead.

You cannot avoid or resist all pain in life. But you can learn to live with your discomfort better.

"Solving" emotions

We have trouble dealing with feelings because the usual problem-solving rules don't really apply to them.

When faced with a problem, we can always avoid it or deny it. But attempting to resist negative feelings won’t work. Any attempt at suppression only amplifies them. We must go from avoidance to acceptance.

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