10 Meaningful Character Selections

Nathan Miller
5 min readJan 3, 2021


If you feel like your life is lacking in purpose, pick a new character in the videogame of life to bring that sense of meaning back.

Photo by Ryan Quintal on Unsplash

In videogames, you often get to design a character: how you are going to look, what special skills you are going to have and what sort of decisions you are going to make. You get to start with a blank slate. This isn’t something we get to do in real life. In real life, a whole load of your character creation decisions have already been made for you. However, we do get to make some choices about how we might move forward.

For this article, I have come up with ten possible character choices you might choose to make in life. Each one is a new way to create meaning in your life. You might want to pick one and specialise in it, or you might want to mix and match, taking abilities and preferences from multiple options. Good luck!

1. Master Craftsman

Some people find meaning in life by picking a vocation. This is one area in which you are going to excel. You need to pick a skill which has no theoretical limit on excellence and spend your days improving at your chosen craft.

Examples: sportsman, carpenter, doctor, actor, painter, lawyer.


  • Join a community of others aiming for the same thing.
  • The satisfaction of watching your skills improve.
  • See life through the unique lens of your profession.


  • Can lead to obsessive tendencies (e.g. perfectionism).
  • May make you compare yourself to others.
  • Can shut you off from other worldviews.

2. Effective Altruist

A growing community advocate the mathematical maximisation of good deeds. Working on big problems like global poverty, animal cruelty or the long-term future means you can have a best guess at how to have the most positive impact on the world.

Examples: earn a high salary to then give a high proportion to charity, or direct practices such as scientific research.


  • A structured and systematic approach.
  • The satisfaction of alleviating the suffering of many.
  • Join a community of others aiming for the same thing.


  • High-earning professions may not be enjoyable.
  • High-earning professions may corrupt your altruism.
  • Can shut you off from other worldviews.

3. The Caregiver

While effective altruists look for impact on a global scale, you might instead choose to do good on a local scale. Helping your family, neighbourhood or a particular community can be an extremely rewarding endeavour.

Examples: stay-at-home parents, social workers, Mother Theresa, therapist.


  • Helping others makes you feel good.
  • Crucial for child development.
  • Exponential positive effects on the local community.


  • Your individual impact is small.
  • Focusing on others can lead to neglecting yourself.
  • Systemic problems can become intensely frustrating.

4. Knowledge Dispenser

Society keeps running because of information distribution. Humans have a collective knowledge which is constantly morphing and flowing around the world, not unlike capital. You might find meaning in shaping that distribution.

Examples: teacher, journalist, writer, academic.


  • Pass crucial information onto the next generation.
  • Shape how we collectively view the world.
  • Perfect the craft of communication.


  • Pass your biases and prejudices onto the next generation.
  • Find yourself drowned out by louder voices.
  • Propagate corrupt systems, damage effective ones.

5. Knowledge Creator

Some people choose to be on the frontline of information discovery. You can change the world if you are a scientific pioneer. Or you might uncover corruption or bad behaviour as a researcher or investigator.

Examples: scientist, researcher, academic, investigative journalist.


  • Be part of the march of scientific progress.
  • Change the world.
  • Uncover corruption.


  • Few people are free to investigate whatever they want
  • New discoveries can make the world worse.
  • Most discoveries aren’t helpful.

6. Hobbyist Harry

Maybe you’re quite happy with your 9–5 office job. It pays the bills and is satisfying. Maybe you want to be more creative with your spare time and become an enthusiastic amateur.

Examples: gardening, model making, amateur artist, origami.


  • Less pressure to excel.
  • Hobbies can be very mindful activities.
  • Your hobby can eventually become your profession.


  • Minimal buy-in may result in a lack of commitment.
  • You might resent professionals of your hobby.
  • Can provide procrastination from jobs that need doing.

7. Free Spirit

Why all this talk of careers and jobs? Can’t we just have a good time? Some people are more interested in having fun and socialising than they are in traditional forms of success.

Examples: partying, adventuring, outdoor activities, travelling the world.


  • Socialising brings a lot of meaning and joy.
  • Exploring the world expands your horizons.
  • Taking risks increases your confidence.


  • Can provide procrastination from jobs that need doing.
  • Chasing fun can lead to unpleasant come-downs.
  • Sudden existential crises can hit you when comparing yourself to others.

8. Organiser Extraordinaire

Leaders are vital parts of society. Without them, human cooperation is virtually impossible. Leading a team can help you achieve large-scale projects you could never have completed alone.

Examples: entrepreneur, politician, mayor, local leader, party planner.


  • Bring large-scale projects to life.
  • Interact with lots of people.
  • Learn to take responsibility for your team.


  • Can lead to exhaustion and burnout.
  • Can lead to an obsession with leader status.
  • You’re only as good as your last project.

9. The Activist

Is there something you feel passionately about? Maybe it’s the climate, animal rights or racism. Make it your own personal mission to move the needle on your chosen issue. Can you make real change happen?

Examples: Nelson Mandela, Greta Thunberg.


  • Make the world a better place.
  • Work with like-minded people.
  • A singular focus feels meaningful and you will garner respect.


  • Can be frustrating. Change takes time.
  • In-group disagreement is common.
  • Can lead to constant anxiety about a lack of change.

10. Culture Vulture

Consuming culture is a big part of most of our lives. Engaging with fashion, architecture, art, technology can be enriching and enjoyable.

Examples: shopping, reading, watching TV, playing videogames, going to the theatre.


  • Can be entertaining.
  • Ownership can be enjoyable.
  • Can be enlightening.


  • Can be addictive.
  • Can distract from other work.
  • Some content is better than others. So are some objects.

Thanks for playing!