Emily Esfahani Smith

The Pillars of Meaning

Emily Esfahani Smith is the author of the book The Power of Meaningwhere she draws on her personal experiences and lifelong research to identify the key pillars that support living a meaningful life.


Listen and Subscribe on:

 iTunes | Stitcher | GooglePlay


Episode Description


My guest today is Emily Esfahani Smith, author of the book The Power of Meaning.  Emily was the first person I invited as a guest on this podcast and this interview really sets up the perfect framework for what's to come.  Pay special attention here as the pillars that support a meaningful life, as Emily defines them, come up time and again in the guest interviews that follow. 

I spend quite a bit of time talking to Emily about self-transcendence, which I saw as a common thread throughout her book.  It seems that people find the most meaning in life, when they focus outside themselves.  Whether it's serving other people, or becoming absorbed in a specific task, not thinking or even being aware of yourself is highly correlated to sense of meaning, purpose, and ultimately enduring happiness.  We also talk about self-awareness and meditation as places to begin the search for meaning, and I ask Emily about the pros and cons of belief and ideology, and how they can fill us with meaning, but can often be harmful to ourselves or even the world around us. 

Emily has a masters from the University of Pennsylvania in applied positive psychology, and in addition to her career as a journalist and author, she is an editor at the Stanford University's Hoover Institution. 

She's written for many publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Atlantic.  And  as you hear right at the beginning, she has been connected with this question of how we find meaning in life, from a very young age. 

So, let's get to it.  I bring you Emily Esfahani Smith.

Thanks for listening,