The Journal of Humanistic Psychology Vol 43 No 1, Winter 2003 lists some of the common themes for the meaning of life:
1. To enjoy and experience life.
2. To love, help or serve others.
3. To contribute to something greater than ourselves.
4. To become self actualized.
5. To create your own meaning.
6. To serve or worship God and/or prepare for the next (or after-) life.
Appended are some quotes falling broadly into these universal themes :
“People ask me – what do you live for? Is it for God, gold or glory? Or for girls?’’ he says with a laugh. “Those are the four G’s. I’m not saying I don’t believe in God. But I’m saying that I don’t live for God. I think God is here,’’ he says, placing an emphatic hand on his chest. “If you’re honest with yourself that’s good enough. Do I live for gold? I’m lucky, I live beyond gold because I’ve made it. So I think I’m living more for glory. That’s a sense of achievement.”
– Ron Sim, Founder, Osim International
“When the end approaches and we look back on our lives, will we regret the latest mobile phone or luxury car that we did not acquire? Or would we prefer to die at peace with ourselves, knowing that we have lived lives filled with love, friendship and goodwill, that we have helped some of our fellow voyagers along the way and that we have tried our best to leave this world a slightly better place than how we found it?”
– Lee Wei Ling, Director, National Neuroscience Institute, Singapore
“The human being needs a challenge, and my advice to every person in Singapore and elsewhere: Keep yourself interested, have a challenge. If you are not interested in the world and the world is not interested in you, the biggest punishment a man can receive is total isolation in a dungeon, black and complete withdrawal of all stimuli, that’s real torture. So when I read that people believe, Singaporeans say: “Oh, 62 I’m retiring.” I say to them: “You really want to die quickly ?” If you want to see sunrise tomorrow or sunset, you must have a reason, you must have the stimuli to keep going. Have a purpose driven life and finish well, my friends.”
– Lee Kuan Yew, former Minister Mentor, Government of the Republic of Singapore
“The main purpose of life is to live rightly, think rightly, act rightly. The soul must languish when we give all our thought to the body.”
– Mohandas Gandhi, Father of Nation, India
“…What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful…We live very close together. So, our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
– Dalai Lama, Religious Leader, Tibet
“If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ…For me to live is Christ; to die is gain.”
– St Paul, Apostle, Kingdom of God
“Knowing that there is judgment after my appointment with death, I seek to reconcile with my Creator by receiving His grace in Christ Jesus. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me and the life I now live, I live by faith in Christ Jesus believing fully He has gone ahead to prepare a room for me in His coming glorious Kingdom. So I seek His Kingdom and His righteousness above all and forsake all worldly perishable pursuits in exchange for these imperishable ones.”
– Anthony Ho, a child of God, Kingdom of God