Acumen Presents: Emily Esfahani Smith on A Meaningful Life
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Acumen Presents: Emily Esfahani Smith on A Meaningful Life

Learn practical steps to build meaningful connections, strengthen your purpose, and pursue a life that matters
4.3 (83 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
592 students enrolled
Last updated 7/2017
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Current price: $10 Original price: $100 Discount: 90% off
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 10 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Turn everyday interactions into meaningful connections to build your sense of belonging and help others feel valued
  • Set a far-reaching goal that allows you to uniquely contribute to the world and then implement practical, daily steps to pursue that goal
  • Assemble your life experiences into a coherent narrative
  • Take practical steps to feel connected to something bigger than yourself on a daily basis
  • Build a culture of meaning in your workplace, organization, or home
View Curriculum
  • This course is open to anyone who wants to learn how to pursue a more meaningful life. There are no prerequisites.

There's more to life than being happy. People who lead the most meaningful lives have a far-reaching purpose. They forge relationships where they help themselves and others feel valued. They assemble their experiences into a coherent narrative. And they contribute to something bigger than themselves.

If this all sounds abstract, it doesn’t have to be. In this 3-hour, video-based course, Emily Esfahani Smith, the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters will teach you concrete strategies for implementing elements of belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence into your everyday life in practical ways and achievable steps.

Drawing on the latest research in positive psychology; along with insights from philosophers across the ages, Emily Esfahani Smith will share strategies from real people and companies that have effectively built meaningful lives or established cultures of meaning. You’ll create a Meaningful Life Notebook where you can implement and record the results of the experiments you take to start pursuing a life that matters. In the process, you’ll immeasurably deepen your own life, and start to figure out how you can help others in the process.

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone who wants to take concrete and practical steps to build a more meaningful life--for themselves and for others
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Curriculum For This Course
Introduction to Building a Meaningful Life
7 Lectures 09:11

Emily welcomes you and introduces the concepts that will be explored in this course.

Preview 01:47

Introduce Yourself to the Course Community

In this lecture, Emily defines meaning and describes the three main elements that people draw from it.

What is Meaning?

In this lecture, Emily will highlight the distinct differences between living a meaningful life and a happy life. She explains how living with meaning enriches your life far greater than purely seeking a happy life.

Preview 01:53

In this lecture, Emily will examine why it is that despite historically high standards of living in today's world, many people are left unfulfilled and unsatisfied with how they're living their life.

The Crisis of Meaning

In this lecture, Emily will dive into what she's discovered are the four pillars of meaning: belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence.

The 4 Pillars of Meaning

Take the Quiz: What's Your Pillar of Meaning?
BELONGING: Pillar of Meaning #1
4 Lectures 08:33

In this lecture, Emily will describe how feeling a sense belonging is a critical need that humans require in order to thrive.

What is Belonging?

In this lecture, Emily will describe with anecdotes and studies how creating high-quality connections with one another can foster purpose in your life.

The Importance of High-Quality Connections

In this lecture, Emily will encourage practical, easy steps you can take starting today to cultivate belonging into your daily life.

How to Build Belonging In Your Own Life

EXERCISE: Build Your Sense of Belonging
PURPOSE: Pillar of Meaning #2
7 Lectures 12:43

In this lecture, Emily will describe how directing and focusing on one's own purpose can be a life-changing discovery, using the story of an ex-convict to highlight this.

What is Purpose?

In this lecture, Emily will guide you in revealing what your purpose is by first looking at your passions, curiosities, and talents.

How to Uncover Your Purpose

In order to guide your search for purpose, Emily in this lecture will ask you to start small and build up to what you eventually want to contribute to the world.

A Practical Question to Find Purpose

EXERCISE: Small Purpose to Larger Purpose

In this lecture, Emily will present examples and stories for how you can change your mindset and attitude toward your job in order to build purpose into your work.

Preview 03:20

EXERCISE: Service Mindset

Use this free optional resource to uncover your character strengths.

EXERCISE: Take the Via Character Strengths Finder
STORYTELLING: Pillar of Meaning #3
6 Lectures 10:05

In this lecture, Emily will introduce the importance that storytelling can bring into enriching your life.

What is Storytelling?

In this lecture, Emily will dig into the two most common stories we tend to tell and how we can alter them in more positive ways.

Preview 03:28

In this lecture, Emily will explain that how we decide to view and tell our story can direct a purpose into our life.

How Stories Shape Us


In this lecture, Emily will encourage you to begin developing storytelling habits through journaling and counter-factual thinking.

How to Practice Storytelling

EXERCISE: Counter-Factual Thinking for Good
TRANSCENDENCE: Pillar of Meaning #4
3 Lectures 05:13

In this lecture, Emily will define the last pillar of meaning, transcendence, and draw a parallel to how astronauts feel when returning to Earth after space exploration. 

What is Transcendence?

In this lecture, Emily will suggest ways to discover transcendence in your daily life, starting with putting down your phone on a walk and staring at art for a longer period of time.

How You Can Tap into Transcendence

EXERCISE: Micro-Ways to Become a Part of Something Bigger
Build a Culture of Meaning
3 Lectures 06:22

In this lecture, Emily will uncover different instances of cultures of meaning that are occurring for communities to share with one another and deepen their sense of purpose.

What are Cultures of Meaning

In this lecture, Emily will offer advice on how to foster a culture of meaning authentically in your work place.

How to Build A Culture of Meaning

EXERCISE: Tangible Traces of a Culture of Meaning
1 Lecture 01:48

Emily offers concluding thoughts on how to take all you've learned and live a life with deeper meaning.

How to Foster a Meaning Mindset
About the Instructor
Emily Esfahani Smith
4.3 Average rating
81 Reviews
592 Students
1 Course
Bestselling Author of The Power of Meaning

Emily Esfahani Smith is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters. Her writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and TIME. She is an instructor in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, a columnist for The New Criterion, and an editor at the Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

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