Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for. -Viktor E. Frankl
As a young man in college during the 60’s (in California no less) I found myself questioning things I had previously taken for granted. It was the height of the Vietnam War and we all began to question the judgement of “authority”. At the same time I was also searching for my own set of life principles to guide me on my journey out of being a student and into a productive member of society.
Earlier I wrote a blog entitled “Corporate Culture is . . .” about a very small but remarkable book I read early in my freshman year, As A Man Thinketh by James Allen. A book that helped me understand the role of thought and the mind in living a successful life.
Another very influential book for me during that time was written by a survivor of the holocaust death camps who later became a leading psychiatrist and humanitarian. The book was Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl. If you haven’t read this book, then I highly recommend it, as his work has been described as one of the 10 most influential books of modern times. It certainly made an impact on me.
While most of us cannot begin to understand the horrors and situations faced by those in the Nazi death camps, Frankl found not only compassion, love, courage and overwhelming humanity, but also a fundamental principle for living a successful life. How could anyone experiencing such depravity find the courage to carry on with humanity and compassion, as many of the prisoners did?
By having something meaningful to live for. By having a purpose, something bigger than their own self existence that compelled them to strive to do their best and be their best, no matter what the conditions.
To thrive, human beings need a purpose. A clear, positive, compelling purpose. Whether it be to write a piece of music that touches others, to paint in a way that helps others understand themselves or the world a little better, to be a worthy and loving parent, or to invent something that improves people’s lives. By having a compelling purpose and keeping that purpose in clear sight, no matter what the circumstances, an individual can live an extraordinary and useful life. I am thinking of Steve Jobs as I write this; in my mind a perfect example.
What’s your purpose? Is it crystal clear? Is it compelling? Does it bring out the best in you every time you think about it?
Where your talent and the needs of the world cross, therein lies your purpose. – Roy Spence
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress