I’ve always wanted to unravel my authentic purpose since I was 11 years old. I started seeking insights and reading books owing to locate a directive wisdom on how I can unleash my best-version to the world. I later landed on this book “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. The author shares incredible primary tenets that I love and that I’m wanna share with you today. (Check the download link of the entire book below or in the free E-books category)
A Recap on the Author
The author Viktor Frankl was an holocaust survivor and throughout the book you read how he was not changed by circumstances but how he in fact changed circumstances. He survived the concentration camps of the second world war and he went into those camps as a psychotherapist and came out transformed with what he called Logotherapy – his philosophy that he describes in this book. He then went on after he survived the holocaust to become an incredible psychotherapist, developing his own philosophy and school of thought.
MY BIG 2 “BIG” IDEAS FROM THE BOOK
1. FREEDOM TO CHOOSE Vs Attitude
Viktor has an idea that “Anything can happen to us…anything can be taken from us. But one remaining thing and that’s our freedom to choose how to respond to any given circumstance”. To quote him, he says “We who lived in the concentration camps….offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way (p.86)”.
We all face rough times, but we still have one remaining option, to choose how to respond to those circumstances no matter how lethal or how tragic they may seem. Most of those problem and challenges are blessings dressed in overalls of work, sacrifice and pain. We need to choose optimism and positive response always no matter what.
Buddhists talk of this concept that everything is neutral (empty). We often like to think that something is good or bad, but it’s not, its the way we perceive something that gives it it’s meaning!
That means that no one can ever force you to think or act in a certain way. No one can ever take away that freedom to choose how to respond to any given situation. Viktor Frankl through his experiences throughout the Holocaust proves that the quality of our lives is found in our decision and not in our condition. Everything in life can be taken away from you he says, except your freedom to choose. You may not be able to always choose your circumstances or what happens to you but you can always choose how you respond to it. Brilliant!
2. REASON BEHIND ANYONE’S EXISTENCE
Viktor poses the idea that we are born with a mission to fulfill- that everyone was born to fulfill an assignment. He asserts that we all have a destiny and a purpose – a reason behind our existence. We were not born to pay bills and die – there’s a reason why we are breathing – a reason why we woke up today. Viktor affirms that it’s not about figuring out how we can have the most luxurious lifestyles but figuring out how we can give ourselves most fully to the world.
Your potential is awaiting you to take action. What man actually needs is not attention or state but rather striving and struggling for some goal worth of him – what he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning – waiting to be fulfilled by him. We need to hold the tension between our ideal life and our current reality (who we are and our dynamic tension between that ideal).
We often make a mistake of getting rid of that tension – we need to be in the now and we wanna love what is. That’s great but not part of the story. We wanna love what is, we wanna be in the power of now , and…we wanna hold the tension of that energy that is pushing us to become even more…to give ourselves even more fully to the world. It’s all about having a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by us then practicing all these ideals we know to be true to move towards that ideal with love, joy and appreciation.
When you look throughout the gospel in the Bible for instance, you gonna find out that Jesus Christ knew this secret and wherever he went he had an assignment to fulfill and that’s how he lived his life on purpose. His main role on earth was to save mankind – and that’s why you see him healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons and so forth. He didn’t do the same thing everyday but we see that each day he had an assignment. And wherever he went, we discover that his daily routine and agenda was assignment oriented and it actually manifested his purpose – and this is the thing that drove him and motivated him. He wasn’t capricious of his activities at all and he never ever allowed someone else to dictate what he did on any given day. He didn’t live outside in but inside out.
Everything in the universe has an assignment. Shoes are meant to be worn in the feet. The moon regulates tides and so forth. Each one of us has to understand that we fulfill our assignment on a daily basis and if you can manage your activities according to the given time frame that has been given to each one of us which is 24 hour period you can live life on purpose and it can become the most exciting thing ever. Your assignment is unique to you and you’re the only one who can fulfill it.
You’ve heard of regrets on the death beds. Bernard Shaw was asked on his death bed, “What would you do if you could live your life over again?” He reflected, then replied with deep sigh: I’d like to be the person I could have been but never was.” Don’t let that be you. Most of us will go to our graves without discerning and fulfilling our assignments on earth. Don’t let that be you. Everyday should be a day of an assignment.
What are you going to accomplish this week, this year..the next 5 years and straight through to the end of your life? You have to give an account of your time and giving an account starts with your assignment.
Music Credit: Jason Gray Music “Remind Me Who I Am”
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy my post, “No Limits: The Will To Succeed” By Michael Phelps and Alan Abrahamson
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