Man’s Search for Meaning

Last week, A retired pastor approached me after a talk and asked if I knew the work of : Logotherapy. I replied Yes!, Viktor Frankl’s book changed my life “In fact, that is why I put his teachings in my own book.” The book was introduced to me by my psychology professor at Shepherd University, Dr. Joe Merz.  I do not believe in coincidences, so I am revisiting the book.

Briefly, Viktor Frankl accounts his personal experiences from the concentration camp of Auschwitz in WWII….

“An abnormal reaction to abnormal behavior is normal”:He stated that our greatest strength is that we can find meaning in every moment, even during our suffering. In fact, we have choice and freedom even in extreme suffering. The power is in hope….Not surprisingly, Jim Collins’ Book: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t: discusses Dick Stockdale who was also a prisoner of war.  Dick Stockdale lamented: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end…BUT confront the brutal reality of your current state.”

Frankl stated  that we find meaning in our lives in 3 ways: 1) creating a work or doing a deed- makes sense…When we do something productive, we feel good about ourselves. 2) experiencing something or someone-spending time with friends, loved one’s, or even experiencing the concept of truth can spark our deepest emotion of love. 3) attitude we take toward suffering…whoa! wait! suffering??!

It is our attitude toward events that we can’t control, only through suffering can we transform a tragedy into a triumph, our predicament into an achievement—we are challenged to change ourselves—Suffering is not necessary to find meaning, but it is unavoidable…..

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