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  • Writer's pictureNoel Williams

How to Live a Meaning Life and Purposeful Life with TimeBank

The search for meaning in life is an age-old quest that has boggled the minds of some of the most brilliant people to ever live. There many things to strive for in life, but a common issue is that nothing means anything without meaning. So, human society continues to search for the answers of how to create a meaningful life.

We have found that the biggest way to give your life meaning is by living with a purpose. Living with a purpose means living for something greater than yourself. It means transcending your personal desires to serve something greater. Timebanks are a way in which we can live out that purpose. They can help us connect to our true nature as well as connect us to a bigger community that serves each other.

Timebanks as we know them have been around for a few decades. The principle, however, goes back much further than that. For as long as there have been communities, there have been people helping each other in a form of a timebank. They were not as formal of course, and they were based on the community value of 'I will come to help you when you need help and you will come to help me when I need help'.

This article will cover a variety of valid points in regard to what makes a life meaningful, how to live a more meaningful life, how to find purpose, the role of timebanks in living a meaningful life, and how can timebanks help us with our search for meaning.

What Makes a Meaningful and Purposeful Life?

There has been much discussion about what the meaning of life is. This question has driven so many philosophers crazy, and now even psychologists are trying to find the answers. It is a question that comes up for every deep thinker. Why do we do things? What does it mean to be alive? What do I want to do with my life? These are some questions that sit on the hearts of thinkers.

It is a very important question to ask ourselves because it will help us to make choices to get what we want in life. Many people grow up and just do what they are expected to do, either by parents or peers or society. Only later in their lives do they start to question things. Ultimately, each person must decide for themselves what the meaning of life is and what it is that will give their life purpose.

According to psychologists, there are a few features that seem to give meaning to the lives of most people. These features are purpose, comprehension and mattering.


The purpose is a big topic of discussion, but it is also one of the most common answers to the big meaning of life question. Purpose is something that gives meaning to your life. Your life has a purpose, it has meaning.

What is the purpose of life then becomes the question? This can be different for everyone. Some might say the purpose of their life is to make music, or to be a loving parent to their children, or to make art, or to teach others, or to grow food.

To have a purpose is to have something that is very important to you, something significant that you live for. Each person has to find their own purpose, but most go through life without ever doing so.


Comprehension means to comprehend the things that have happened in your life and to understand that it all had to be that way. It is seeing that everything had to happen to bring you to this point in time where you can make the next decision that will shape your future.

To come to this deeper understanding is to gain a lot of peace. You no longer fight what could have been. You are simply happy to be where you are and you go from there.


Mattering is simply the belief that you matter. It is to feel valuable. If you feel that nothing you do matters then it will not have meaning and this is exactly what happens to many people. Due to unfulfilling lifestyles, they feel they don’t matter.

It is important to find things in life that you can do that matter. This starts with identifying the things that matter to you and then finding something you can do that matters to others.

How to Make Life More Meaningful

Making life meaningful is mostly to focus on the things that give your life meaning, like, for example, the things mentioned above (purpose, comprehension and mattering). By keeping this focus, you forget about the things that do not matter, all the things that bring you down, and you only give energy to the significant things.

There are some simple steps that you can take to make your life more meaningful. These steps are all related to purpose, significance and coherence. That is bringing more things into your life that give purpose and living a life that is significant and coherent.

Foster a passion

A passion is something that you feel so strongly about that it will change your life. People are passionate about all kinds of things, so it is up to you to find what works for you. Finding a passion will help lead your life to a purpose.

Develop social relationships

Healthy social relationships help to give purpose and significance to your life. Also, when building social relationships with people who share your passion is very beneficial. Those with fewer social relationships report more feelings of loneliness and meaninglessness. You can read more about social innovations that encourage social development on our previous blog.

Build relationships that increase your sense of wellbeing

Relationships can have a positive or negative effect on your wellbeing. It is important to build relationships where you feel seen, appreciated and loved. If your relationship is not doing those things, then it might be doing more harm than good.

Be aware of your mood

Being aware of your mood will help you build coherence in your life. Your mood is directly related to how meaningful your life is feeling at any given moment. It is good to be aware that your mood changes, so by being aware of what your current mood is you can understand your feelings better.

It is also very important to try to regulate your mood. Do things that put you in a good mood, like living healthy, getting enough sleep, taking good care of yourself, etc.

Have more control of your environment

This can also help you to build more coherence in your life. You can design your environment in a way that has the best results. This can include building a healthy routine that includes time for resting, exercising, doing hobbies and cleaning. Living in a clean and organised space can also help you to be more in charge of your life.

The Benefits of a Meaningful life

For some people, the call to find meaning is too loud to ignore. For others, it might just be a nagging thought. Whatever the case may be, to live a more meaningful life has positive psychological effects that

are undeniable.

Some of these benefits include the following:

  • A meaningful life will increase your overall health

  • It will make you feel good over the long term

  • You will be full of energy and vitality

  • Meaning will help you cope with difficulties

  • Productivity will increase drastically

  • Self-confidence will be boosted making you feel great about yourself

  • You will get more satisfaction out of your life

What are Timebanks

Timebanks are small community groups that make use of a time-based currency. The group consists of members who both contribute and benefit from the group. Members can contribute any skill that they might have and that others might need. In return for their time, they will receive credit which they can then use to get an equal amount of time from another group member offering a skill they might need.

For example, a teacher might give 1 hour of her time to teach a member a foreign language. That teacher can then exchange her 1-hour credit to get 1 hour of help from the electrician. In this way, timebank members serve each other and the currency they use is time.

Timebanks are based on a time-based currency which dates back to the 19th century. The first existence of this idea was brought forward by Joshiah Warren, an American anarchist. He started the first of several stores in 1827 that made use of labour as a medium of exchange. Later in the 20th century, Edgar S Cahn coined the term “time dollar”. This time also saw the first timebank open in Japan, where community members could trade their skills in a time-based currency.

Timebanks function to create a community that serves each other. It builds a strong sense of community where everything is locally based.

Timebanks are built of the following core principles:

  • Everyone is an asset

  • Some work is beyond a monetary price

  • Reciprocity is helping

  • Community with social networks are necessary

  • Respect for all human beings

As it can be seen through these principles, timebanks put a big value on building a strong community and building strong individuals. It allows people space where they can build the skills that they truly want to offer others. It also builds a space where people can give and receive in a more meaningful way as using money. It makes it necessary for everyone in the community to come together and work together.

How to Live a Meaningful Life with TimeBank

It is strongly proven that timebanks can help bring back more meaning into our lives. It is indirectly the sole purpose of timebanks to create individuals and communities with meaning and purpose.

By being a part of a timebank, you get to offer the skills that you are most passionate about. This means you get to work on the things you feel most passionate about and you get to offer them as a service to your community. Also, by serving each other, there are much stronger relationships built compared to when services are bought with money. You therefor before a truly valued member of your community.

When all the members share this greater sense of community and service, everyone will also feel like there is more meaning in their lives. Serving their community through their passions will become their purpose, and they will do so with all the joy in the world. This joy will be returned to them twofold, and the process will continue.

Timebanks touch on all the areas that give our lives meaning and if offers us a way to work on those areas. In this way, timebanks help us to build a more meaningful and more purposeful life.

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