The ‘Me’ In Meaning

Jun 12, 2015 1 Min Read
maze, paths, perception, meaning
What Is Meaning To You?

A few weeks ago, while discussing how we could break the Internet, a colleague suggested that we look at a competitor’s Facebook page. She said the postings were “sexy”.

This manner of describing an inanimate object as though it is alive is something that my club’s tennis pro does too. A die-hard Babolat fan, he will cruelly tell you if your playing stick is “friendly”, “forgiving” or “disobedient”. I am at a loss for words when this happens. I have a Wilson Blade104 – and all I see is grip, graphite and string.

Why do people make up words for things that do not have personalities? I really feel that it is because these words, and really all words are just our attempt to understand and describe our experiences to others.

Because meaning is a human concept.

Read Next: Do We Always Need Purpose?

Getting the gist

Our brains have 1,000 trillion synaptic connections, and they are all unique to a person’s experience, being formed as we learn and grow.

By lending meaning to any object in our lives, be it a webpage or a tennis racquet, these synapses are firing in a pattern that is triggered by our present disposition, past experiences and conceptual understanding.

Our perception of the things we see and do is not passive but an active creation. The notion does not apply to just things. It extends to how most people feel about their lives as well, and of course what they do every day in their jobs.

There are times when people feel that their workdays are blurred into one. They go through the motion without feeling any sort of energy or passion. There are also days where they can go full-throttle without losing either velocity or rhythm. In short, everybody has ups and downs, speed and spills.

It’s all in your head

In his bestselling book, Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl writes about the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most brutal ones, in order to go on living. The key takeaway here is that Frankl believes that “finding a meaning” is something that is entirely within our control.

We always hear about people who excel at what they do because they feel their jobs have meaning. A person is truly happy and engaged at work when he/she feels that the job is intellectually stimulating, or physically and emotionally rewarding.

What you should realise by now, is that both your dreams and your reality are in your head. One can find meaning by deciding it exists. I hope you find yours.

First appeared on Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 13 June 2015.

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Nina Ti is part of the team that manages social media and distribution of digital content for Leaderonomics. She writes on HR and management topics. All views and opinions expressed here are her own.

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