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M4L 2013 Lesson 7 Why Meaning Can Make All the Difference in Your Life © Paul T. P. Wong, PhD, CPsych.

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Presentation on theme: "M4L 2013 Lesson 7 Why Meaning Can Make All the Difference in Your Life © Paul T. P. Wong, PhD, CPsych."— Presentation transcript:

1 M4L 2013 Lesson 7 Why Meaning Can Make All the Difference in Your Life © Paul T. P. Wong, PhD, CPsych

2 Overview Meaning is a Double-edged Sword Dysfunctional Beliefs Objective vs. Subjective Criteria of Meaningful Living The Personal Meaning Profile (PMP) Viktor Frankl’s Three Enduring Values The PURE Model of Meaningful Living

3 Meaning is a double-edged sword. There are positive and negative sides to almost every human activity. Having a strong sense of meaning is not always good. A dysfunctional meaning system can do much harm to individuals and society. A functional meaning system is our best ally.

4 Eudaimonic Happiness

5 Are there objective values?

6 Dysfunctional Beliefs Extremism – radical beliefs Negativism – holding a negative view towards people and life Defeatism – “I can’t do it,” “I don’t have a chance” Egotism – “what can I get out of the situation?”

7 Subjective Criteria of Meaning Meaning is whatever you mean. Meaning is whatever works for you. Meaning is whatever makes you feel good. Meaning is doing whatever you love. Meaning is doing whatever you do best. (Subjective criteria can get us into trouble, when there is a lack of moral concerns.)

8 Objective Criteria of Meaning Rational – Does it make sense? Empirical – Is it supported by research? Ethical – Is there any ethical violation? Values – Is it consistent with enduring values, such as goodness, truth, and beauty? Responsibility – Is it a responsible action with respect to your loved ones, humanity & ecology?


10 The Pros & Cons of Self-Transcendence

11 Self-Transcendence is both a push and a pull.

12 All these positive resources can be used for evil ends.

13 Meaning making can turn Winter into Summer.

14 Objective Sources of Meaning (Wong, 1998) Achievement – Striving and attaining worthy life goals Relationship – Relating well to others and community Intimacy – Having family and close friends Acceptance – Being at peace with oneself Religion – Have a personal relationship with God Self-transcendence – Losing oneself in serving others Fairness/justice – Being treated fairly

15 Frankl’s 3 Enduring Values


17 Purpose Involves: Life direction Calling & mission Worthy purpose & end Priorities Core values A sense of significance Reasons for living

18 Understanding Understand self and others Understand the situation Know right from wrong Understand one’s role in life Achieve a sense of coherence Understand the world


20 Responsibility Freedom of will Self-determination Internal control & self-efficacy Responsible to self, others, humanity, and the planet earth Civic duties A moral agent


22 Enjoyment/Evaluation An appreciative attitude The natural outcome of leading a purposeful & responsible life A sense of well-being, serenity, & contentment Feel good for doing good Involves reflection and re-evaluation of PURE

23 Meaning That Makes Life Better 1.Affirming the intrinsic meaning & value of life 2.Being mindful of the meaning potential of the present moment 3.Maintaining good relationships 4.Doing something creative, productive, & helpful 5.Pursuing one’s calling and dreams

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