1. You believe that the meaning of life has to be noble and self-sacrificial in order to be worthwhile, so you feel guilty whenever you have no good ideas for saving people, since you haven’t been able to save yourself.
2. When you’re told that some people have more valuable lives than others (e.g. a doctor’s worth more than an artist, a lawyer’s worth more than a blogger, an electrician’s worth more than a barista, etc.), you feel conflicted because you find it difficult to find meaning in occupations where you can’t be yourself around people, but at the same time, you don’t want to be selfish for not contributing to society in a useful way.
3. You’re easily overwhelmed with how much work it would take to fix problems in society. Not only are the problems too complex for you, you also have your own basic needs to worry about, especially when you’re facing student loans, high cost of living, and an unstable job market.
4. You want to add your individual mark to everything you do, but trying to distinguish yourself from other people has turned into a competition to see who can be the most unique, which makes you feel like your life is derivative (which translates into pointless) because only a few people have indisputable greatness that you’re unlikely to surpass.
5. You know it’s futile to aim for greatness, but deep inside, you’re pressured to fix yourself for the sake of proving that you’re not a failure to the people that thought little of you. When you’re at your lowest point, you feel like life will have no meaning until you reach the top and find a way to stay there.
6. Some days you just don’t feel alive, and you go through very depressing “What’s the point?” moments because deep down, you feel helpless and not qualified enough to step out of your comfort zone.
7. You were taught to find meaning in a formulaic way: be competent in something practical, make sure it helps others, make money from it, and be a dutiful citizen. But life is much more complex than that, and you can’t simply find meaning from point A to point B.
8. Your thinking is limited to the following conditional statement: “If I get [end result], then I’ll find meaning in my life.” But true meaning is not about attaining what you lack, it’s something you feel deeply within you when you’ve found the right path for yourself.
9. You haven’t defined what a good life means for yourself. Everything you think about life is most likely a combination of what others have said, what you’ve read, and what you constantly surround yourself with. Because you’re at the whim of various beliefs, you aren’t able to focus on what truly gives you meaning in life.
10. Or maybe do you know why you’re living. You’re just afraid of expressing it, even to yourself, because somehow you feel ashamed of how underwhelming and insignificant it is. But that’s what your pride tells you. It tells you that you need to do something extraordinary or else your life has no meaning.
11. You pigeonhole life’s meaning into three categories: pleasure, greatness, and selflessness. There are people who work in jobs to make more money so they can get pleasure from material items, prestige, social connections, and entertainment. There are people who pursue excellence and become society’s greatest thinkers, superstars, entrepreneurs, and leaders. Then there are those who selflessly serve people and get rewarded for helping those who are suffering from extreme hardships. However, you aren’t naturally inclined to pursue any of the three, and this is why you feel lost at times.
12. You’re simply trying too hard to make your life more meaningful than it needs to be. Most days, you will go through life in ordinary ways, do ordinary things, and that’s really nothing to be ashamed of.