As with all pages on this website, the purpose here is to encourage your exploration.  Since each person is unique, any answer to 'How should I live?' will be your decision.

As background, let's look at a brief summary of psychologist Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs.  Most people reading these pages will have addressed the early needs on Maslow's list.  Some will feel a deep desire for something as yet unquantifiable, perhaps to understand life, or for a sense of meaning and purpose.

Some of the ways Western people choose to live are:

  • acquiring possessions.  This is a common response to increasing wealth and leisure time.
  • seeking out pleasure, including food and entertainment.
  • accumulating experiences such as travel, or trying new things.
  • engaging in a period (even a lifetime) of study.
  • devoting one's life to family and friends, usually in combination with one or more of the foregoing.
  • expressing creativity, in fields such as art, writing, music, dance.  If other people are also enriched, it moves beyond mere self-expression.
  • engaging in service, such as helping those in need, or trying to save the planet.
  • expanding awareness of existence, and of their unique place within it.

The latter relates to Maslow's self-actualisation.  Self-actualisation begins in uncovering one's unique reason for being.  This is usually a combination of what you do really well (often so well that you take it for granted), and that which brings special joy and vitality into your life.  Ultimately self-actualisation expresses itself in what Frankl referred to as self-transcendence: moving beyond an egocentric focus to the essence that lies beneath and beyond your personality.  Answering the question of how to live has preoccupied deep-thinking humans since we first appeared on Earth.  Clearly, the answers deserve deep personal consideration over time.

In the meantime, let's explore further.  Return to previous page