My youngest son Anthony is currently experiencing a bit of a tough time and as we were chatting about the situation I was so proud when he said “It is what it is Dad.”

Wise words from someone still so young, and while he gets that the emotional journey is part of the human experience, he is also able to put it all into perspective (It is what it is), and is managing the personal situation with poise and an obvious strength of character.

I love the way that as you reflect and think deeply about something, all of a sudden, as if by magic, messages in the form of articles, posts, and discussions with others appear and help you gain even deeper understanding.

Yesterday, I saw this quote from Arthur C. Clarke in a post on Brain Pickings by Maria Popova (highly recommended reading).

“A wise man once said that all human activity is a form of play. And the highest form of play is the search for Truth, Beauty and Love. What more is needed? Should there be a ‘meaning’ as well, that will be a bonus? If we waste time looking for life’s meaning, we may have no time to live – or to play.”

And this from the poet Charles Bukowski…

We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”

One of my favourite songs by John Lennon, is Beautiful Boy, and Lennon shares with us that …

Life is just what happens to you, while you’re making other plans.”

When Anthony said “It is what it is”, I reckon that is such a liberating way to view the world. Without trying to over simplify a really big question, in that small statement of Anthony’s, in my opinion, he has pretty much answered the question of the meaning of life – It is what it is!

While I applaud the pursuit of deep thinkers to search for the meaning of life, and to bring meaning into their lives, for the majority of us, that pursuit will more than likely take us down a dead end of unanswered questions, frustration and a headache.

However to live a purposeful and intentional life is a totally different approach, and is much more practical and achievable.

Our purpose in life is to live it… not to pursue its meaning, but to live it… not to exist, but to live it… to live a happy, flourishing and prosperous life.

In Dr. Henry Cloud’s book “Integrity” he writes, “Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult.  Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters”.

It is what it is!

And although it has been written by many people, who have experienced life in many different ways, the reality is that we can’t control what life brings to us… it is what it is, but we alone choose (once we accept it) how we think, feel and the intentional actions we take to best deal with what happens to us in our lives.

The inescapability that we choose how we react, as well as choosing our own proactive intentional actions brings with it an inescapable accountability. Perhaps that’s why some people would rather contemplate the meaning of life, rather than hold themselves accountable for choosing to live a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life.