How to Live a Meaningful Life

PROVO, Utah – Jan 30, 2019 – Have you wondered what your life is going to be like after college graduation? Do you dream about making a difference with your career, yet worry that it won’t be financially viable?

College is a time of intense decision-making and you’re likely facing enormous decisions with life-altering implications. Don’t forget that amidst the hustle and bustle of life, The Book of Mormon states, “Men are that they might have joy.” To help students find joy as part of their academic career, the Ballard Center is proud to offer a class that helps students understand and define joy for themselves.

The course “How to Live a Meaningful Life: Using Social Innovation, Positive Psychology, and Life Design to Find Lasting Joy” is designed to help students catapult their careers, discover happiness now, and build a financially sustainable future.

Understanding & Implementing Social Innovation

Over the course of two class periods, students learn what social innovation is and how they can make social innovation a part of their work as they search for meaningful careers. 

In order to more fully understand social innovation, class members take time to study the habits and the “why” of socially innovative people. Class teaching assistant Joshua Singer says of socially-minded people, “Distinct characteristics they show are a level of gratitude and financial responsibility.”

Students are encouraged to develop these characteristics throughout the semester. The class also teaches students to be aware of companies’ social impact programs as they apply for jobs or internships.

Positive Psychology & Life Design

Students are encouraged to dig deep and think about what brings them joy and fulfillment. In one assignment, class members are required to record moments when they are experiencing “flow” or a time of high productivity and intense focus. For some students, identifying times of flow has helped them to have a greater understanding of their natural gifts and talents.

 “This class helps students live their lives purposefully,” says Becca Pearson, former class member and current course manager. “So many students want the A in school, but this class is about the journey and changing along the way. The teachers create a loving environment where people feel comfortable being open and having robust discussions about happiness and life meaning.”

Teachers’ Background and Class Vision

Team professors Curtis Lefrandt and Craig Wilson effectively create an uplifting environment by being open with their students and sharing personal life lessons. Both men wish that they had taken a class like this had been offered when they were students at BYU.

“I hope that students learn all the really important things about life that I wish somebody told me when I was in my early 20’s, but nobody ever did,” Wilson says. “I want students to know how to live their lives in such a way that they will accomplish the things God has for them to accomplish with their specific gifts and talents. Perceived lack of time and perceived lack of money will not be their problem. We think this class might be the most important class our students take in college.” And for many students it is.

Even though the class workload is designed to be easily managed by students, one student raised her hand and said, “This class brings more stress than any other,” as she started to cry. Her fellow students were surprised at this remark until she continued. “The reason I feel such intense stress is because I know this is the [class] that is going to impact my life more than any other class I’ve taken.” After this explanation, the entire class nodded in agreement.

Lefrandt and Wilson hope that students come away from the class learning the following principles that can be applied throughout their lives:

  • Know how to pursue a life of meaning and joy
  • See a path of increased choices and opportunities in their lives, not less
  • Have more “aha” moments than in any other class
  • Feel the Spirit bear witness more often about what they should do with their lives
  • Know how to handle money wisely and how to be financially prosperous
  • Have stronger desires to be a modern-day “Good Samaritan”

If you are a student looking to start living joyfully, this may be the course for you. If you’d like to enhance your education with this 2-credit course, register for MSB 491R section 7.

Media Contact: Alicia Gettys (801) 422-9009
Writer: Heidi Phelon