Practical Existentialism to live a good life

What I learned from Monsieur J.P. Sartre.

Chengeer Lee


I often hear from young people that they think their life is meaningless. This crisis of senses is the scourge of our generation and we need to realize that the only way to tackle this problem is to approach it by raising the awareness of the right mindset.

You think life is meaningless?

Here is the bitter truth.

It is.

There is no meaning in it whatsoever.

You are standing on the corner of a busy street imagining that you don’t exist. Pedestrians are walking, cars are signaling, markets’ doors are opening, passengers on the bus stop are changing. The world continues to live without you. The realization of it hurts. But it is important.

Sergey Bodrov Jr.

Your life is a blink of the Universe.

You are space dust on the windshield of planet Earth.

You are a grain of sand in the millstone of time.

Your existence is so insignificant and temporary that at times you can feel disarmed.

Yet there is a power in feeling tiny and petty.

If you keep questioning the meaning of life you will eventually come down to understanding that

Life has no meaning unless you give it a meaning.

I remember myself sitting alone in the park on a bench in Almaty watching naked late fall trees.

I was intensively reading J.P.Sartre at that time. I think it was the “Nausea” that I was reading when I coincidentally bumped into the passage where the author was describing the tree with the highest and detailed precision.

It hit me.

The Existence.

For a moment I had a feeling of a deep fall.

I suddenly questioned if my life is worth living.

I lost all of my reasons and I realized how unique and untransferable to others my experience is.

In a sense, I was an uncrackable nut, and no one could ever be able to see what is going on under the nutshell.

The movements of my soul and the true depth of me are forever hidden from others.

This feeling was overwhelming.

However, soon after it started to dissipate another thing came to displace the ultimate meaningless.

The insight.

If Life is essentially everything that is going on in my head then there is only one person who can find a sense in all of this mess. It’s me.

The meaning was found the moment it was lost.

I absorbed the main ideas of existentialism and after some time they became invaluable pieces of my core mindset.

I do not find meaning. I create it.

Even if ultimately life has no meaning, on the scale of separately taken individual the meaning is a matter of choice.

We are our choices

says the father of existentialism J.P. Sartre.

Primarily we are comprised of the choices to take action, to speak up, to show up, but most importantly by the ability to choose our own mindset about what has a meaning for us and what doesn’t.

What I experience is mine and mine only.

No one can judge me, as they don’t know what I have been through.

They have never been me hence they can’t understand the true motivation behind my actions.

Same is fair for me, I shall not judge anyone, as I never walked the path in their shoes.

I don’t know their pain and their background.

I don’t know how hard life hit them before we met and what it took for them to get up.

I do what I believe is right.

And that is important to remember — we all do.

Creating my own system of beliefs will condition my actions.

My experiences are defining the degrees of my freedom.

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done by you.

J.P. Sartre.

I am alone. Always.

I was born alone, I live alone, I die alone.

It doesn’t mean that I should distance myself from people, quite the opposite.

Relationships are the things that give life its meaning.

Relationships this is how we will measure our life when the sun goes down.

I take 100% responsibility.

I am the total sum of my choices.

What I possess, the place I am, the people around me, the thoughts in my head, the world around me.

Everything is me.

Everything lives within me.

I live taking 100% responsibility for what I let inside myself and what happens to me.

Just do it.

Do people create things because this is our nature or just because we are bored?

That’s an interesting existential question, and I could spend days contemplating about it but at the end of the day, it is irrelevant for the outcome.

All I have to do is to do.

There are so many things that existentialism taught me but there is something that monsieur Sartre missed.

He claimed:

My thought is me: that is why I cannot stop thinking. I exist because I think I cannot stop thinking.

Jean-Paul Sartre.

This is his existential interpretation of famous proposition once formulated by René Descartes:

Cogito ergo sum.

I think, therefore I am.

René Descartes

Apparently, both of them have never practiced meditations.

We CAN stop thinking.

Yet we do not stop existing in the thoughtless state.

“I” exists in the duality of I-Observer and I-thoughts.

The ability to separate them from each other gifts mindfulness required to take control of your life and create the long-wished meaning of it.

Final words

I am sure you will have your time questioning life.

Existentialism in its terminal form can bring you to isolation. Be aware of that and don’t use it as your exclusive philosophy.

As all of the philosophies out there it has its strengths that should be subjected to incorporation into your mindset and flaws that are absolutely impractical in modern life.

I am just saying that there were many smart men who lived before you meditating quite enough about the things that you might think of right now.

Existentialism might be considered a sad way of thinking about things, but its sobering power making it a beautiful philosophy which has taught me a lot.

I squeezed the practical things and moved on.

Study it diligently and it will help you too.

Create your meaning and enjoy the journey.

Just because we are all doomed, doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time.

Anonymous existentialist.

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Chengeer Lee

Coach | I help Servant Leaders build Unshakeable Confidence and fulfill their Life Purpose ⚙️🔝