[This question in the blog post title was posted on Quora. Below is my response.]
Life is 100% meaningful so there’s no need to measure it. The simplest explanation is this, in the cosmic sense either life is meaningful or it is isn’t.
In some scientific manner, I can’t prove that life is meaningful. So it takes a leap of faith, not necessarily religion, to embrace the concept of absolute meaning. In short, each of us gets to choose our absolute worldview: either life is meaningful or it is not. Semi-meaningful isn’t a choice.
Given the choice of life is meaningful or meaningless, why choose coloring your life with the despair and hopelessness of the latter? Even when the current condition or situation or relationship appears meaningless, meaning is at work in the background waiting to frame it with hope and possibilities. It means being expectant and seeking it. The other option casts us deep into the darkness of the ultimate “living” void.
Purpose provides a more personal connection to the cosmic meaning of life. It’s our unique understanding of who we are and how we belong on the planet. Purpose, like meaning, is always present in our lives.
Where it gets confusing is our awareness of whether we are on our purpose–aligned with and giving expression to our purpose or not. That’s being on-purpose or off-purpose, respectively.
“Highest and best use” is a term used in the appraisal (measurement) industry. In times of “highest and best use” of the expression of purpose we’re apt to check the box and say, “Yes, that’s meaningful.” In “bad times,” we’re erroneously declaring, “That’s not meaningful.”
The measure of meaning, therefore, is relative against an absolute benchmark. In this sense, how meaning is measured is up to the individual to define their version of “highest and best use” and “lowest and worse use” and all that is in between.
The point is this: you have one life that is rich in meaning and capable of higher and better expression of your purpose. Your choice is free of your current condition or circumstance. Therefore, choose the life is meaningful worldview and you’ll inherently have a 100%.