What Makes Life Meaningful? essay

Everyone has a different view on what makes people’s lives meaningful, and it is extremely important to realize what it is. The sense of life determines how a person will live, what he or she will achieve, and how well he or she will feel. Self-development is the main thing that makes life meaningful because it makes an individual’s life more fulfilled, helps a person to participate in triggering the progress of ideas in the world, and its absence can prevent an individual from achieving success in his or her life.

First of all, self-development helps a person to understand who he or she is. It is clear that each person has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, but it is not so easy to learn them. Self-development can help to do it, and it is possible to prove it by providing a huge number of examples. In each person’s life, there are moments when a person has to make crucial choices. In such cases, to be sure that a particular choice is right, a person should know oneself rather well. For example, a person works in one company, and another company offers him or her a better position. Naturally, this person’s welfare and future in general depends on this single move. However, there are many risks: a new job may require more efforts; a new manager may be a real tyrant; another office may be too crowded and, therefore, noisy; new tasks may turn out to be too tiresome and stressful. Clearly, after quitting there will be no opportunity to receive previous position. Firstly, a person should realize all those risks. Secondly, he or she should be able to determine whether those risks are bearable for him or her or not. And to determine it, this person must know who he or she is. Otherwise, this person’s choice will probably be wrong. In THX 1138, the spectators can notice that the machines deprive people of any kind of personal growth. As a result, not only they do not only have any opportunity to make choices, but also have no necessity to do it. The same behavior is peculiar to people who do not think that self-improvement is important: they rarely make choices or even avoid them.

In its turn, knowing oneself allows a person to create a certain kind of a life plan. Clearly, this plan cannot be perfect because there are too many variables and it is impossible to predict some future events. Still, a certain image is necessary for a person to realize which direction to choose in some situations. Such plans are extremely important though there are some precautions, of course. Firstly, a person should create it on his or her own because nobody knows better. Secondly, a person should be mature enough not to plan something improbable and waste the whole life trying to achieve the unachievable. Finally, a person should always keep in mind that the plan is not final and it may be necessary to change it depending on events. According to Warhol, “They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself”. Thus, the people who know themselves and have a vision of their future are able to live their life to the full. And to the contrary, if to imagine the life of someone who has no plan at all, it will seem to be chaotic.

Besides providing a person with certain stability, self-growth is significant because it can help a person to realize what he or she wants from life. This realization is extremely important because of various reasons. Without it, a person’s life becomes meaningless, and THX 1138 depicts it quite well. Although this movie shows unreal events, it is easy to compare the people who live in that world with those who have no idea how to spend their lives in the real life. In this movie, the machines decide what people are to do, and in the real world, people who have no aim let the destiny decide for them. These examples are very similar: instead of being in charge of their lives, such people let something make choices for them. In the movie, having no ability to have any aim makes people’s lives miserable. In the real life, people who refuse to develop and learn what they would like their lives to be live meaningless lives as well. Instead of becoming a personality, such a person becomes similar to a machine.

Self-development assists a person in learning much about the world, which is crucial for living the full life. Unfortunately, not all the people realize this importance. As a result, they stay narrow-minded and fail to notice something that happens beyond their own small world. Such people limit their range of interests and find dozens of excuses to justify themselves. For example, they tell that they lack the time to read a book; a theatre is too far, so they go to the movies or a restaurant; the news is too boring, so they prefer playing games or spend their time in social networks. Lanier shares this viewpoint, “A new generation has come of age with a reduced expectation of what a person can be, and of who each person might become”. Indeed, it is impossible to learn one’s own capabilities without knowing what the world can offer, and it can offer a lot. For example, a person prefers to spend time in social networks instead of reading interesting articles. One of those articles may contain the information that may change this person’s life, but he or she will never know it because this person deprives oneself of such a possibility. Maybe there is a new profession which can fit this person more than anything else, or maybe there is information that will help this person to pass an interview and get a well-paid job. In any case, if a person learns the world, the world accepts this person and learns him or her as well.

Self-development can help a person to adjust to various situations in life. There are many examples when something unpleasant happens, and a person simply gives up, that is, loses sense in life. It can be anything: an unhappy relationship; the loss of a job; a failed exam; a huge stress. Instead of giving up, a developed person would let a partner go; search for a job that will turn out to be even better; prepare and take that exam once more; find a way to forget about the stress. If self-growth is unimportant for a person, then the consequences of such unpleasant events may be disastrous, starting from becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs and ending with committing suicide. The problem is that social media rise the generation that lacks development and, therefore, is less likely to cope with difficulties. As Warhol notices, “Some kids I know personally are staying babies longer”. This phenomenon is widely-spread: people tend to refuse from solving their problems, taking responsibility, and organizing their lives. They resemble the babies who do not have to decide anything, and the sense of their lives is in eating, sleeping, going for a walk, and playing with toys. Sense is absent there for sure.

Development makes a person value probably the most significant thing that he or she has, which is time. People do not live for the eternity, and it is important not to forget about it. That is why it is crucial not to waste a single moment. Nevertheless, a lot of people waste more than several moments – they can easily waste years or the whole life because they do not make choices. According to Warhol, “You decide what you want to do and how you want to spend your time”. That is what people who are interested in self-growth do: they are in charge of their lives, and they experience many advantages because of it. Those people who do not care about the scarcity of time may live the whole life with a person they do not love; receive a useless diploma and hang it on the wall; have a boring job with a low income without ever considering a possibility of quitting it. When such people get old, some of them realize their mistakes, while others even fail to understand that they had a chance to live their lives in a different, more fulfilled way.

When a person learns much about the world, he or she may start to wonder how to leave something behind. If this idea seems to be rather realistic, this person becomes a unit which changes this world for the better. Warhol wonders, “I always think about the people who build buildings and then they are not around anymore”. And really, someone became an architect and made a project of a building. He or she spent years to study this subject well enough not to make a mistake. Another person or a group of people had enough money to sponsor the construction activity. To have so much money, they developed their entrepreneurial skills. Other people set up a factory that produced brick and other construction materials. It is possible to make this list much longer, but one thing is clear: to build one building, more than three people have to devote their lives to self-growth. Thus, people’s development results in most of the conveniences that people have: buildings, railroads, planes, markets, medicines, cosmetics, clothes, art, automobiles, etc. Every time such people achieve their goal, they leave something behind, and it means that their lives are meaningful.

Self-growth provides a person with a huge number of ideas concerning everything. Basically, when a person gets used to the constant development, he or she starts to generate various ideas all the time and with fewer efforts. The progress of the world depends on ideas, so a single person can participate in this process by generating them. In THX 1138, people have few ideas, and at the moment when they emerge, machines lock them down and make them forget all those ideas. The two main reasons why the machines are against people’s ideas are that ideas provoke more ideas, and people can share them with the others. Naturally, machines are afraid that a single harmless idea can lead to the end of their rule one day. It is possible to compare the rule of robots in this movie with totalitarianism in the real world. Totalitarian authorities control and watch various spheres of people’s lives for the same reason: not to let them generate the ideas of a better form of government, which is democracy. Thus, ideas are crucial for this world and the more people are interested in self-development, the more ideas will appear.

Self-development fills a person's life with sense and, therefore, makes a person happy. Usually people who use any chance to develop themselves feel that they are masters of their lives. They are not afraid of changes, and they know that they are able to cope with any difficulty, that is why they live their lives smiling. For example, a person who develops his or her mind all the time knows which occupation to choose. Thus, when the timing is right, this person sets the goal and starts working hard to achieve it. This person knows well his or her skills and realizes which job will fit these skills. If this person is aware that he or she can become a brilliant manager, then he or she will never agree to choose nursing as the major. This person understands that as a manager, he or she will achieve the best results, while as a nurse he or she will probably hate the job or will not manage to work there at all. Such people follow their dreams, and that is why their lives are meaningful. Their jobs are their hobbies and, in most cases, well-paid hobbies. And to the contrary, probably everyone has acquaintances and relatives whose lives are unhappy. Such people always complain that their salary is low; they are always depressed, and go to work only to earn money. These people start dreaming about their weekend on Mondays. This misery is a result of the lack of self-growth, and therefore, the image of what their lives should be like. In THX 1138, the viewers can notice that under the rule of machines, people fail to experience happiness. It happens not just because they take pills all the time and suppress their emotions, but also because something tells them how to live and which occupation to choose disregarding their dreams and interests. The viewer can see that they have more in common with robots or bees who work in exchange for something. None of them feels positive emotions while working because their jobs are monotonous and lack creativity. They are not in charge of their lives at all.

Personal development can fill with sense more than one life and, as a result, make several people happy and secure. Sooner or later, a person who strives to improve will have a child. This child will grow up, and it is a huge advantage that he or she will have a parent who knows so much about the world, who can explain to him or her what is right or wrong, and is wise enough to let this child make his or her own decisions, to choose how to live the life. Every child deserves to have a close person whose life is so bright and meaningful that it will become a brilliant example for them to follow. According to Lanier, “Emphasizing the crowd means deemphasizing individual humans in the design of society, and when you ask people not to be people, they revert to bad moblike behaviors”. And truly, the lack of individuality can have a disastrous effect on the future generation. Considering that already now there are few young people who are interested in self-growth, there probably will be even fewer bright individuals in the future. For now, if a child’s parents cannot make him or her adopt a habit of self-developing, this child can be inspired by many contemporary examples, such as Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. But it is not clear who will inspire future generations. Naturally, these names will remain in people’s memory, but it is always possible to find such an excuse as ‘they lived in another time, it was easier back then.’ Nevertheless, it appears that the life never becomes easier. To have fewer difficulties, people should develop their personalities and share their experience with the future generation.

Disregarding a big number of advantages of self-actualization, there is a constant debate about it. There is a view that it easily ruins other significant aspects of people’s lives. Thus, some people argue that people who develop their personality are unlikely to get married. Although this view is more concerned about women, such people think that this issue concerns men as well. They point out that self-growth together with the benefits requires too much time. They notice that as a result of developing the mind, a person faces several problems. Firstly, he or she becomes a little withdrawn because of a big number of ideas that start to fill his or her mind. Secondly, this person’s behavior starts to seem a little weird to those who surround him or her. For example, he or she may no longer want to discuss some everyday issues because they do not consider them to be of great importance. Finally, they mention that self-growth will lead to a bright career and, consequently, require so much time that this person will have difficulties in having a relationship, not to mention marriage. Moreover, according to the recent research, “Professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat and less likely to have children”. To some extent, this view deserves a right to exist because each individual has his or her own understanding of the meaningful life. Of course, if family is the most important thing in a person’s life, it is clear why this person is strongly against everything that can distract him or her from creating it. Still, criticizing personal development is not an option because these are empty words. People’s self-growth remains crucial for the development of this world. If some or most of these brilliant minds have to sacrifice their chance to have a family for the sake of the world progress, their decision probably deserves respect but not criticism.

To sum up, personal development brings meaning to people’s life because of many reasons. It helps people to understand their wishes, consider the steps that will lead to their goals, realize possible possibilities, learn a lot about the world and what it can offer, and become able to cope with everything that may occur in life. People who value self-growth become significant to this world and participate in improving it. Self-growth also makes them strong emotionally. The future generations will benefit from such people as well. People who consider personal development to be the most significant thing in their life may experience a lot of benefits and live the life to its fullest.

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What Makes Life Meaningful? essay

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