Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms ; to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
– Victor Frankl
That powerful quotation is from the excellent and life-changing book Man’s search for meaning, by the Jewish psychiatrist Victor Frankl.
That article is to help you, people, I know among my readers there are people who are happy and successful, and others who suffer, have doubts and change jobs all the time, or worse.
I hope that after reading this on my blog you will feel not only recharged, but also will watch life from another perspective.
That book is exceptional, the writer, Victor Frankl, a famous Jewish psychiatrist, invented a doctrine of psychological survival.
And not based on theory. But on real practice. Victor Frankl survived for 3 years 5 Nazi concentration camps, including Aushwitz and Dachau.
He lost his parents, his pregnant wife and his brother in the Holocaust.
Victor Frankl survived one of the most inhuman treatment in human history.
Inside those horrible camps he was not only unbroken but even found a way to psychologically survive to all the horrors he was living.
His way of survival I am going to try to explain it to you briefly here. It is a doctrine that he invented in those death camps, it is called Logotherapy.
1) People must find meaning in their lives.
Searching a purpose and meaning in life is the only way for people to endure hardship and suffering.
Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the harshest ones.
Victor Frankl tells about prisoners who wanted to commit suicide and finally didn’t. How? They simply found a big reason to continue to live. Like a child to take care of in a foreign country or an important work to do.
He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”,Yo
People deepest desire is to find meaning in their lives. If someone can find that meaning in his life he can survive anything. That’s Frankl doctrine.
Even in the worst situation possible, man always has the freedom to choose his attitude towards life.
2) For Victor Frankl there are 3 ways to find meaning in life
- Love – caring for someone else.
- Work – doing something significant.
- Courage during difficult times.
Victor Franklin also explains that each person is unique, and has a unique task to do in that world that no other can fulfill.
If a man can not find meaning in his life he can develop mental problems.
Frankl describes prisoners who died more by lack of hope or lack of reason to live than by lack of food and medicine.
3) Suffering is meaningless, it is how we react to it that is important.
Victor Frankl explains that people are more than the result of their environment.
For him everyone can choose, not matter what circumstances are, what will become of him mentally and also spiritually.
He writes that the kind of person you are is a result of your own decision rather than your situation, and that suffering with courage is a real achievement.
“It is this spiritual freedom—which cannot be taken away—that makes life meaningful and personal.”
Man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.
– Victor Frankl
Victor Frankl method helped him to survive hell on Earth. He transmitted it to us so we can live better lives with meaning.
You can find his book here on Amazon.