Man playing guitar in nature

Pleasure, meaning, and motivation can most often be found in small acts, adding to your life and perhaps those of others.

Fifty percent of men who’ve completed our Stress Test report that a lack of meaning or purpose is a major stressor in their lives. Despite how common it is among men, feeling a lack of meaning or purpose in one’s life is not something a lot of men talk about.

Happiness, meaning, and purpose can be found in the most simple of things. Don’t assume that an activity has to be some huge altruistic, ‘save the planet’ type of thing to have purpose or meaning. Pleasure, meaning, and motivation can most often be found in small acts, adding to your life and perhaps those of others.

Here are some examples of how somebody can find meaning and purpose.


  • If you like using local a hiking trail, you could help to maintain the trail by picking up trash on the trail or making small repairs when you notice they are needed. You not only get outside to enjoy nature, fresh air, and physical activity, but you also contribute to the pleasure of others who also like to use the trail.

Artistic pursuits

  • Art, like painting, ceramics, and wood carving, not only provides a great way to exercise your brain in a different way, but also allows you to express yourself in a way that might be difficult with words. The point isn’t to be able to sell or display your work in a gallery, but instead to focus on the process and enjoyment of being creative.

Pursuing interests

  • If you have an interest in anything, no matter how small, it’s a good idea to explore it. For example, if you want to learn how to speak another language, that itself can be a worthy goal and add meaning and purpose to your life.  Maybe you’re interested in how to make beer or stuffed pastas or furniture out of broken hockey sticks – it doesn’t matter – be curious and follow your curiosity. There are lots of tutorials online or classes you can attend where you can also meet other people who share your interests as well, helping you to stay socially active.

Altruistic activities and social contributions

  • When we give back to our communities, we feel good about ourselves. Simple things like volunteering at a seniors home, fundraising for a food bank, or coaching a little league sports team can have a huge impact on the lives of those you share your community with.

When men are stressed or feeling down, it’s harder to feel like they have purpose, find pleasure, and appreciate what they have to offer to others in their lives and communities.

Working on this takes time, patience, goal setting, and follow-up. Stick with it and you will learn what motivates you and makes you happy – this can be more than one thing, or change over time.

By being curious, exploring interests, appreciating the small things in our lives, and believing we all have something to contribute, we can begin to find meaning and purpose in life.