This week we talk to Emily Esfahani Smith
Emily Esfahani Smith is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters
She graduated from Dartmouth College and earned a master of applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.
She writes about psychology, culture, and relationships. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times,Time, The Atlantic, and other publications. Emily is also a columnist for The New Criterion, as well as an editor at the Stanford University’s Hoover Institution,
In This Interview, Emily Esfahani Smith and I Discuss…
- The One You Feed parable
- Her new book: The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters
- The difference between happiness and meaning
- That the defining feature of a meaningful life is connecting and contributing to something that lies beyond the self
- The three criteria of a meaningful life: feeling that one’s life is significant in some way, feeling that one’s life is driven by a sense of purpose and feeling that one’s life is coherent
- That human beings are meaning-seeking creatures
- That there’s more to life than feeling happy
- That our current culture doesn’t emphasize meaning and purpose
- Victor Frankel’s important work related to the role of meaning in our lives
- The role of meaning when facing adversity
- That responsibility and duty are wellsprings of meaning
- That the wellsprings of meaning are all around us
- The four pillars of a meaningful life: Belonging, Purpose, Storytelling, and Transcendence
- The wisdom in what George Eliot has to say about the people that keep the world going in small yet indispensable ways: that the goodness of the world is dependent on their unhistoric acts
- What kind of relationships lead to a sense of belonging
- That purpose can come in all shapes and sizes
- That reflecting on the story of your life can lead to a greater sense of meaning in your life
- The two different types of storytelling
- That transcendent experiences are crucial to having a greater sense of meaning in life
- The good news about what’s happening to us as a species
Emily Esfahani Smith Links
A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other.
One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.
The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”
The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feedThe Tale of Two Wolves is often attributed to the Cherokee indians but there seems to be no real proof of this. It has also been attributed to evangelical preacher Billy Graham and Irish Playwright George Bernard Shaw. It appears no one knows for sure but this does not diminish the power of the parable.
This parable goes by many names including:
The Tale of Two Wolves
The Parable of the Two Wolves
Which Wolf Do You Feed
Which Wolf are You Feeding
Which Wolf Will You Feed
It also often features different animals, mainly two dogs.