Keynote – Emily Esfahani Smith

Thursday, February 22nd | 9:00AM – 10:00AM | Full Program

The Power of Meaning
Making Your Life, Work, and Relationships Matter

Sponsored by 

To Emily Esfahani Smith, there’s more to life than happiness. But we won’t find it through chasing esoteric secrets, reading the latest self-help book, or following some cultural standard for ‘the good life.’ In fact, our culture’s relentless pursuit of status, wealth, and ‘happiness’ can actually have the opposite effect: loneliness, dissatisfaction, regret. Instead, says Smith, the key to living a richer, more fulfilling life is through the search for meaning.

In this inspiring keynote, Smith presents the latest in psychology and neuroscience (as well as the wisdom of our greatest philosophers) to help us live more satisfying lives. She unpacks what she calls the “four pillars of meaning”—belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence—and how we can each find meaning by building some or all of these pillars in our lives and in our communities. Together, these pillars help us give back, forge deep relationships, set purposeful goals, and make sense of who we are and our place in the world.

Ultimately, a meaningful life lies in connecting and contributing to ideas beyond yourself—whether it’s your family, your job, or humanity at large. Our most meaningful pursuits—from starting a business to nurturing our relationships to mastering a musical instrument—require hard work, sacrifice, and long-term vision. We don’t necessarily do them to be happy; we do them because they’re meaningful. For individuals seeking something more, or for institutions looking to build a culture of meaning at work or school, Smith’s talk gives us the tool we need to build resiliency, gain a broader perspective, and truly deepen our lives.

Author of

The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters

In a culture obsessed with happiness, this wise, stirring book points the way toward a richer, more satisfying life.

Too many of us believe that the search for meaning is an esoteric pursuit—that you have to travel to a distant monastery or page through dusty volumes to discover life’s secrets. The truth is, there are untapped sources of meaning all around us—right here, right now.

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