The Meaning in Life Questionnaire (MLQ)
The Meaning in Life Questionnaire (MLQ)

By: Patrick Williams, Ed.D., MCC

Take a moment to think about what makes your life and existence feel important. Then take the following Meaning in Life Questionnaire(MLQ).

Using the following scale, respond to the 10 statements on the questionnaire as truthfully and accurately as possible. Keep in mind that each statement is subjective, so there are no right or wrong ratings. This is useful for your own clarification, and to open up discussions with your significant relationships, mentor, or coach.

Untrue   True
1 Absolutely untrue 4. Can't say if true or false 5 Somewhat true
2 Mostly untrue   6 Mostly true
3 Somewhat untrue   7 Absolutely true


1. _____ I understand my life’s meaning.
2. _____ I am looking for something that makes my life feel meaningful.
3. _____ I am always looking to find my life’s purpose.
4. _____ My life has a clear sense of purpose.
5. _____ I have a good sense of what makes my life meaningful.
6. _____ I have discovered a satisfying life purpose.
7. _____ I am always searching for something that makes my life feel significant.
8. _____  I am seeing a purpose or mission for my life.
9. _____ My life has no clear purpose.
10. _____ I am searching for meaning in my life.


You can create two subscales from this measure: one for the “Presence” of meaning and the other for the “Search” for meaning.

Presence: Statements 1, 4, 5, 6 and 9 (reverse-coded)

Search: 2, 3, 7, 8 and 10

Note:There is no manual for interpreting this questionnaire. To understand it better, please contact Dr. Steger through his website: The quiz is reproduced here solely to stimulate your thinking and facilitate a conversation with your coach or mentor.

Passion and Purpose

There are no definitive methods for discovering what really matters to you, but passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find that it’s something about which you are tremendously passionate. You will be energetic and experience positive emotions.

In reviewing your life, you’ll find that you've already invested considerable time and effort in pursuit of what really matters to you. Responsibilities to others, however, often sidetrack and distract us from focusing on our core purpose, which may evolve over time. Look for recurrent themes and core interests.

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