What is the most important thing in life?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “what is the most important thing in life?“and provide an insight into the significance of life and how to hold onto the things that make us who we are.

The most important things in life are not only things. They are feelings, emotions, memories and persons. Importance of something for one person may differ in significance for another. 

Life only comes once and we get a chance to ‘live’ it only once too. ‘Life isn’t about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself’ and this is what gives meaning to life.

Every person has a right to live life to the fullest and for each the importance of things is different than the other.

Importance of things in life depends on our experience, the sensation we went through.

Life should be appreciated. To Appreciate life we need to shift our focus from self to around us.

Meaning is different for every person and serves a number of important functions in human lives (Frankl, 1992). 

  1. meaning gives a purpose to our lives. 
  2. It provides standards against which our actions can be estimated. 
  3. It gives us a sense of control over the events in our life, although we as humans do not have full control over the events, we can amanioukate them around. 
  4. It furnishes us with self-worth. This self worth makes life worthy of living.

Though, someone who is suffering from distress and unhappiness due to certain life events claim that he doesn’t care about anything.

Distress occurs when we cannot find a meaning for life, as without a scope there is no goal and without any goal life becomes purposeless.

According to Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, ‘many emotional problems result from a failure to find meaning in life and can be resolved only through finding something to make life worth living’ (Frankl, 1992).

Frankl had witnessed the Holocaust and would surely know what elements hold more importance in ones life. 

  1. Love

The one force in the universe that makes merry the merrier! Love. It comes naturally and is the most beautiful of emotions that can be experienced.

It is the emotion that binds humans to humans and humans to animals as well. 

Love is that one force that is experienced in all relations that exist in society. Love between mother and child, being the foundation of all relations. 

Love between husband and wife, leads to the sustainability of families and propagation of life. siblings, family and friends; all of these require love for sustainability.

It helps to endure the harshest of conditions and emotions, thus enabling the person to overcome all obstacles.

Love cannot be enslaved, it cannot be experienced by force, or be bought. It is the supreme feeling that is felt strongly.

It keeps relations intact and is responsible for the good there is in the world. 

We can safely say that this positive all encompassing emotion is the most important thing in life.

As Morrie Schwartz puts it, ‘The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.  

  1. Happiness

Happiness is a feeling of elation and contentment, mentally and emotionally – a state of well being.  An intense joy and satisfaction that all is well. Another most important in life is being happy and staying happy.

Happiness comes free. It cannot be bought or sold, but yes, it can be handed out to others in multiple forms.

In her 2007 book The How of Happiness, positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky elaborates, describing happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”

Being happy is important because it rejuvenates our immune system. It makes the good chemicals go round the body, making and keeping it healthier. 

The positive emotions throughout the body are due to the D.O.S.E. 

D – dopamine

O – oxytocin

S – serotonin

E – endorphins

These are the four neurotransmitters, (chemicals released in the brain) and are responsible for the positive emotions, meaning these four are responsible for making and keeping you happy. 

Dopamine gives us the instant gratification feeling that we get when we beat levels in a game. It is addictive but short termed.

Oxytocin is the chemical that is responsible for the feelings of love and is also called the ‘hugging drug’ because it is released by the brain during and after physical contact  it is Oxytocin that boosts our immune system and is behind friendships and mutual understanding. It is our body’s best friend. 

Serotonin is the leadership hormone and gives a sense of pride and joy.

Endorphins give us an elation, a ‘high’ 

 3. Family

A unit that makes you who you are and stands by you through thick and thin. Family is also the most important thing in life.

They are the ones who know us and tease about it too!

Family is the first unit that the child experiences and the very unit that enables him to develop schemas about relationships and people. 

Love and happiness the other two important elements in life are also related to family. Families are an embodiment of love and respect.

It is where the child learns which things are to be considered important. 

Family provides security and something to call our own. They are a built in support system and help us to meet all our basic needs. 

 4. Health & Wellness

Health is wealth! When we are healthy we do not need anything other than that. Health is also the most important thing in life.

If we are healthy then only can we engage in different life functions, like education and earning a living.

A healthy body is essential for a healthy mind and a healthy mind makes the body function as per the requirements of its daily routine.

 5. Purpose 

Having a goal in life gives it structure and something to hold onto. If we have a purpose, we have direction and this direction propels us to work hard and strive for the best.

Having a purpose in life keeps us on the verge of action, no boredom, no evil thoughts, only the will to achieve. This will raise our self esteem and When we are on the quest to reach our goals, that is also one of the important things in life.

Why? Because, we work on ourselves and when we work on ourselves, we  understand our wants.

This understanding enables us to understand others as well, thus, leading to the development of empathy and sympathy. Empathizing and sympathizing with people makes the community stronger and better, where each person becomes tolerant of others.

 6. Passion 

Passion and purpose go hand in hand. Hoping to achieve and aspiring to be is a significant element in our lives. When we are passionate about a certain thing we are bound to work hard to achieve it.

All our hopes, dreams and aspirations are connected to simple passion and a purpose in life.it gives us a reason to want to keep learning and excelling. 

 7. Education

Getting a sound education is very important for the cultivation of mind and a contented life. Education is imperative for progress.

Education helps us to learn new things and what is happening around the world. Having a good education will help you progress in life. 

 8. Food – Water – Sleep

These are the necessities of life and cannot be done without. Yes, they are important for each and every individual, regardless of age, gender, race or ethnicity.

Without these the other things in life have meaning and no value for the individual.

According to Humanist Psychologist, Abraham Maslow presented his Theories of Motivation. What motivates humans to achieve and the process they go through. 

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

According to his theory, Maslow described this process through a Hierarchy of Needs. It is a 5 tier needs hierarchy, that supports one need with another.

If the basic needs of humans are not fulfilled then they cannot achieve the next stage of their needs. 

Every human is born to actualize. It is their innate desire. But self actualization can only be achieved when all the other basic needs are fulfilled.

If one need remains unfulfilled then the next tier will not be achieved. 

  1. Physiological Needs

All the needs of Maslow’s hierarchy are the important things that are required for us humans to survive. These involve the physiological as well as psychological needs.

The needs at the bottom of the tier pyramid are the basic physiological needs. These are the need for food, water, sleep and warmth. 

  1. Safety and Security Needs

From here on we move up onto the safety and security needs. If a person is not secure he will be unable to focus on getting his passion and life’s goals accomplished.

This includes financial security, health and wellness and staying safe from harm and injuries. 

  1. Love and Belongingness Needs

This need is encompassed in social needs of humans. A sense of intimacy and a feeling of being attached to someone, thus giving rise to a society and relationships.

Once this need is fulfilled, then the next tier is ready to be probed.

  1. Esteem Needs

Being valued is a desire each of us has. To be acknowledged and to acknowledge others means mutual respect and appreciation. 

Establishing self esteem is of prime importance and is gained through academic achievements, professional competence and athletic participation as well.

If a person has low self esteem he/she will suffer inferiority complex and will be unable to establish healthy relations and work competently.

  1. Self- Actualization Needs

According to Maslow, “in any given moment we have two options; to step forward into growth, or to step back into safety.” self actualization means to accomplish what we actually are here for.

And this can only be done if all our basic needs and requirements are fulfilled. A self actualized person has achieved all the important things in life, is content and has known and served his true purpose. 

The most important things in life are truly around us, all we need to do is recognize them, recognize our own potential to achieve them and strive diligently with motivation to get them. 

In this brief guide we have answered the question, ‘what is the most important thing in life’ and given an insight into the significance of life and how to hold onto the things that make us who we are.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) What are the 5 most important things in life?

The 5 most important things in life are Love. Happiness. Family. Health. Purpose.

Q2) What makes a happy life?

Happy life depends not on material possessions but on mental peace and a sense of security.

Q3) What is the secret of life?

The secret of life is being happy and finding happiness and contentment in small things around us.

Q4) What is the perfect life?

The perfect life is a life where one is happy even if he has less, but is satisfied and has a stress free existence.

Money, though important, is not everything in life. 

Q5) What is the most important thing to succeed in life?

Hard work is the most important thing to succeed in life.

Titles to Read

  • To My Daughter with Love on the Important Things in Life, by Susan Polis Schutz | Blue Mountain Arts Gift Book | Messages of Wisdom, Happiness, Dreams, and Love for a Dear Daughter by Susan Polis Schutz 
  • Invisible Things: The Most Important Things in Life Are the Ones You Can’t See by Tina Quinn and Hidden Wisdom Publishing
  • Toward a Psychology of Being by Abraham H. Maslow  
  • Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth by Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener 

Citations

  • https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/happiness/definition
  • https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
  • https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-maslows-hierarchy-of-needs-4136760

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