“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Dr. Viktor E. Frankl
Dr. Viktor E. Frankl devoted his life to studying, understanding and promoting the idea of “meaning.” As we journey through life with a commitment to Make Impact, his example is certainly one to follow.
An Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Frankl shared his theories and experiences of how he learned to find personal meaning in all situations. In what is considered one of the most influential books in America, Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl tells the riveting story of how he survived the Holocaust by searching for the purpose in his experience. As he endured the torture of his time in a concentration camp, he held tight to the thought of his loved ones, something he credits as helping him overcome a grueling environment.
Through his practice of finding meaning amidst the unavoidable trials of life, Frankl inspires us to overcome adversity and move forward with renewed purpose. His time in the Nazi concentration camp showed him that while enduring brutality and suffering, those who had a strong sense of purpose and meaning in life were likely to survive longer than those who were hopeless.
Implementing Frankl’s teachings help us shift our focus from pursuing happiness to finding satisfaction and fulfillment in life. He reminds us that while we face daily trials and tribulations, we have the tools necessary to overcome our own traumas and Make Impact on the lives of others.
Frankl went on to develop the psychological approach known as logotherapy, which is based on the belief that through the search for meaning in life, individuals can endure and overcome suffering. In fact, he developed this theory while struggling to survive in the concentration camp.
As we continue down this unknown path of life where trials may come and tragedy may strike, let’s take the deep wisdom of Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, and focus on our own individual meaning in life. We’ll need each other to accomplish this, as Frankl emphasized that the true meaning of each person’s life is not found through introspection, but discovered through interaction with others. This is why it is so important for us to work to help others, as it provides a benefit to ourselves.
Based on Frankl’s theories, here are three ways that you can discover meaning in life:
1. Create value: Creating work or accomplishing a task
2. Experiential value: Experiencing something fully
3. Attitudinal value: The attitude adopted toward unavoidable suffering
Dr. Viktor E. Frankl changed the world as we know it, and because of his experiences and teachings, we know that there is true value in finding meaning in life. Let’s learn from his wisdom and discover our unique life meaning as we go forward to Make Impact in the lives of those around us.