Hi I’m Paul Krismer, your happiness expert and this week we are talking about the most dreaded of all things: An existential crisis.
You know an existential crisis is just when we don’t really know our purpose. What are we here doing on earth? Why do we wake up in the morning? Why do we go to work at some of the dead end depressing jobs that some of us go to? Why do we have these relationships sometimes that go on in our lives that don’t give us satisfaction and joy? What’s the purpose of it all? Existential crisis right? That’s what we’re talking about. And this can be humorous in the way that I’m presenting it so far, but I mean it also has catastrophic consequences sometimes. People get psychotic breaks where they lose touch with reality. They start believing in things that aren’t based in anything true. They can get deep down in depression as a result of an existential crisis. And frankly even in mild forms it’s causes low mood, frustration, that kind of eating away at your soul burn out, and just generally sadness.
So that’s what this post is addressing. We’ve got two ways that you can address your existential crisis. One is kind of the material way, it’s grounded here on earth, and the things that we do. And then kind of in a woowoo way I’m going to also talk about in next week’s post the non-material, transcendent ways of ridding ourselves of existential crises, so stay tuned. As a coach, public speaker and best-selling author I teach topics just like this one all around the world, so stay tuned and I’ll give you practical tools that you can use to make both yourself and those around you both happier and more successful. So the truth is our existential crises are feeling like we don’t have any life purpose. It’s extremely rare for that to come up when we’re feeling good. This sense of purposelessness—what’s it all about? We don’t ask ourselves questions when we’re in a good mood. Defacto of feeling good has purpose.
I’ve said this in other videos. There’s a good researcher who talks about happiness being the ultimate currency. Well, so long as we’re paying for our lives and dealing and our interactions with life on the currency of happiness, we don’t start questioning why we’re here. We’re happy. Why should we question it? And feeling good has some sure-fire sources and that’s what we’re gonna talk about through the remainder of this post—that we can get on this material plane, in this physical reality of Earth, some ways to be engaging in activity where we know we have a sense of purpose. One of these ways is really clearly knowing our own personal strengths.
And I’ve got a free resource that you can get at the link below that’s called a peak experiences exercise where you get to examine your own life, look at your self-awareness for what things in the past you’ve done that lifted your spirits that made you feel good and gave you healthy pride that this was something you really want to be involved in. So that peak experiences exercise. And then I also pay for every coaching client I deal with, without fail, every single one, I pay to have a Gallup Strengths test. It’s a psychometric assessment administered and there’s a number of them. You can get the $20 one that gets you your top 5 strengths and it’s all you really need if you do decide to go and get it for yourself. Gallup’s Strengths Finder tool basically lays out what are the five generally occupational skills and aptitudes that you bring forward into the world, and of course there’s a total of 34 that are find-outable. You can get those in the survey for more money, but who cares what your 34th strength? Nobody is going to ask you to work in your weakest strength. We want you to work in your top five strengths and these Gallup Strength tools are incredibly well validated. The science is fabulous! Hundreds of thousands of people have done them and I’ve never worked with a client who didn’t really identify with the strengths that were revealed in their survey.
So this assessment, go and get it, and the reason why looking at either the peak experiences from your life or these strengths that are identified by Gallup Strengths Finder create that wonderful thing called “flow”. Flow is when we lose ourselves in the present moment, where we’re involved in some activity that is so engaging that we stop thinking about all the other things that we need to do or worry about the past or the future. We suppress some of our biological needs. We can go without food and go without a pee for a while and we get into that state of flow, and we’re just going, “This is so good!” And we don’t even realize that the activity made us happy until we’re finished the activity. Then we go, ” Aahh, that was fantastic!” And people can identify with all kinds of things. It’s in playing sports. Having a good conversation, singing, dancing can all be things that bring us in flow. When we’re in our our strengths, we tend to get flow pretty easily. And so you know this may sound absurd, but when I’m on a stage speaking to a big audience about happiness I’m in total flow. I love it. I’m in my natural place and that sense of flow.
I don’t think about being happy while I’m on stage, but when I’m done I’m going, “That I was fantastic!” It was just I was in this activity that in and of itself makes this rich reward for me. And it doesn’t matter what your strengths are. When you’re working in them, you have a much more easily accessible state of flow. So that’s one of the major material ways to deal with an existential crisis. Work with your strengths. And the second one is live your values. Values give us direction, they give us a sense of purpose when we have to choose between a fork in the road, should I do this thing or that thing? We say, “Oh, my values clearly point to this fork in the road, this direction. Then we have a real sense that our life has purpose it’s got a real sense of meaning.
Now I’ll sum all this up. Existential crisis is terrible! We all want to have a sense of purpose and there are two ways. One is the material way that we relate to the world we’re in, and that means working your strengths and values.
And finally thanks for reading. It’s been a pleasure to share these few thoughts with you.
Until next time, I’m Paul Krismer, your Happiness Expert.