Highly regarded as one of Viktor Frankl’s greatest works, “A Man’s Search For Meaning” highlights Dr. Frankl’s perseverance and survival through the Auschwitz concentration camp. His insights, both harrowing and enchanting, can be readily applied as a sort of spiritual compass for the modern-day man or woman.
With more distracting information than ever available today, most people quietly yearn for wisdom. Rather than fabricate a guidance system that may but probably won’t be applicable to your unique situation, I’ve leveraged one of the finest minds in recent historical memory to forge a more universal guidance system.
Here are 5 of my favorite and most applicable excerpts from one of Dr. Frankl’s most classic writings:
1. “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.”
This is where emotional agility resides. Always, even if only for a split-second, we’re given a choice in our response after an event unfolds. Things become increasingly complicated when we either forget we have a choice or don’t believe we have one (even though, in essence, you’re choosing not to believe it).
Taking five full seconds to process events prior to responding — especially the ones we’re taken aback by — shifts the balance of power back in our favor. This space between is our mental fortress — the command center for life-altering actions to be triggered. Make sure you treat it as such.
2. “The more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself.”
Some of the hardest, yet most freeing advice I’ve ever received is the statement “It’s not about you.” There are moments in life when we “do the right thing” and fill with spiritual joy. We don’t think about who may have been watching, if we’ll get credit, or how it may come back around. We just do it.
Those moments when we get outside of ourselves and stand for a greater purpose deliver the onset of lasting fulfillment. The times where you light up not because of the recognition you’ve received, but because you committed an act of true nobility are the one’s when you leave your mark on the world in a positive manner. The more you look to be a moon instead of the sun, the happier you will be along the way.
3. “In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.”
You’ve heard it before: “Life has no meaning except for the meaning we give it.” While this understanding does give off a grim outlook, it’s actually quite the contrary. This grants us the freedom to assign whatever we see fit. When we realized a meaning isn’t necessarily fixed, we can sift through our options until we land on what’s most empowering.
In the book, Frankl recounts a story of a boy dying an early death. He shares how the boy once saw a situation unfold where he revered a terminally ill person’s courage and dignity in handling ultimate demise. Instead of cursing the heavens upon his own diagnosis, the boy stated fate was granting him a similar opportunity.
Luckily for most of us, our everyday experiences aren’t life or death. This is the case, however, until it’s not. The fragility and beauty of life are collapsed. It’s essential we maximize our time and minimize our suffering to make the most of it. Don’t cling to the first thing that shows up when a tough situation presents itself. Scan your optional meanings and make a wise, empowering decision.
4. “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
The majority of suffering occurs today when the blueprint of someone’s life doesn’t match reality. This gap between expectation and actuality is where pain resides. We can usually do a few things to shift the occurrence of reality, but much of it is outside our locus of control. To continue closing the gap, we must change the hard expectations we have for our lives.
Immediately after, feelings of resignation may show up, like we’re compromising what we deserve. However, the lasting change can be found in our values and what we place at highest importance. For example, many people want things like love and passion in their lives, but only if it’s packaged a certain way. Perhaps other desire success, but it must be distinct type of success. Reevaluating what we want the most versus what we want right now can be a prudent “saving grace” for making the most out of difficult situations.
5. “For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.”
As Don Miguel Ruiz asserts in “The Four Agreements,” always doing your best is critical to life working for you. Who gets the pick of the litter in terms of fame and fortune is damn-near a crapshoot, but there will be far less spoils for any of us to garner unless each of us does our best. This is where a certain degree of faith is required to continue making sacrifices for the sake of your contribution to the world, even if no one is watching.
The silver lining for those of us reading this article that we get to choose. Engaging in activities we legitimately enjoy puts us in a better state, which increases the likelihood we will be kind and supportive of others as we come in contact with them.
Life is hard enough for each individual. When left to our own devices, our minds often wander into darkness – sometimes unlikely to return. It is with this in mind, we do our best. We continue getting up, helping others, and doing as much of what we love as time permits. We may not shake the world this way, but we can certainly move it.
Which one of Viktor Frankl’s quotes is your favorite and why? Let us know in the comments below!
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6 Inspiring Quotes From Lucille Ball That Will Motivate You to Stand Out and Reach for the Stars
The original “Queen of Comedy” Lucille “Lucy” Ball, continues to be an icon of fiery sass and humor for every generation. Her timeless comedic talent still sets the standard for those desiring to follow in her celebrated entertainment footsteps.
Here are six inspiring quotes from her that will motivate you to stand out from the crowd and never give up on your dreams:
1. “One of the things I learned the hard way, was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”
In business and our personal lives, we are bombarded daily by outward criticism and inward self-doubt. In order to realise the success we strive for and attain the goals we hope to achieve, it’s important to practice a strong positive outlook.
Although Ball was known for being an inherently shy girl, when she was 15 years old, she convinced her mom to allow her to attend New York Drama School. The administrator of the school, unable to see the talent hidden behind the shyness, wrote to her mother telling her not to “waste her money and the school’s time with this shy, awkward young lady.”
Refusing to be deterred by the shortsighted criticism, Ball dug in her heels, overcame her shyness, and went on to become the talented comedic actress and icon we know and love today. Just imagine how unfortunate it would have been if she had taken the negative criticism to heart and decided to give up her passion.
2. “Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work—and realising what is opportunity and what isn’t.”
Today, we are very much conditioned to expect instant gratification in all areas of life. It’s important to remember, however, that true personal and professional success is achieved through tenacity and hard work. Very seldom does “luck” play a substantial role in building a solid and promising future.
Few people may realise that beyond the laughter and crazy shenanigans that Ball is so well known for, she was a trailblazing businesswoman who mapped out her professional path and keenly took advantage of opportunities that came her way.
Behind the scenes, she was co-creator, owner, and partner of Desilu Productions with her husband, Desi Arnaz. I Love Lucy was the first real sitcom developed by a husband and wife team, and under Desilu Studios, the show pioneered the multi-camera shot and filmed in front of a live audience—something no one else was doing at the time.
Being a female owner of a film production company in the 1960s was unprecedented. But, Ball didn’t stop there. Instead, she would eventually buy out Desi and become the first female CEO of a major television and movie production company. Her hard work and perseverance created a legacy to last for generations.
3. “I’d rather regret the things I have done than the things that I haven’t.”
Regrets are a fact of life both personally and professionally. However, most of us would probably admit that we learned some valuable things about ourselves from past mistakes and mishaps. Most would agree that our biggest regrets are related to the opportunities and experiences that we didn’t seize when we had the chance.
Ball’s career in the entertainment world was full of various ups and downs that included many B movies and lackluster performances. However, she continued to forge ahead learning from each and every experience. She was forty years old when she finally hit her stride and began her journey with I Love Lucy. Ball didn’t let the fact that Hollywood considered her to be “old” to stop her from fulfilling her dreams.
Instead of letting the long road of disappointments and closed doors discourage her, Ball refused to give up and found a way to create her own destiny and achieve the success that she had worked so hard for.
4. “I dyed my hair this crazy red to bid for attention. It has become a trademark, and I’ve got to keep it this way.”
We live in a culture where most of us just want to fit in. There is a pressure to conform to a set of expectations in both our professional and personal lives. However, it’s often when we take a risk to set ourselves apart, that doors of opportunities and experiences open for us.
For example, Ball’s natural hair colour was a light to medium brown with reddish tones. Early in her career, she bleached it blonde in hopes of being able to compete with the plethora of bombshell blondes of the era. She eventually realised, however, she needed to stand out, not blend in!
In a past interview, Ball is quoted stating, “Not being a beauty, I hated any part in a picture which depended on beauty. I resented work where looks were that important. There are so many glamour girls that I felt it was silly for me to try to compete with them.”
Dyeing her natural brown hair the colour red was one of the greatest risks Ball took early in her career, but it became one of the late comedian’s most beautiful physical features that helped her stand out and succeed in Hollywood. She shared, “I had to learn to concentrate on developing my personality—to have an individual approach. The way you feel about yourself has a lot to do with the impression you make.”
5. “The more things you do, the more you can do.”
We should never stop striving to learn new skills and grow in knowledge. Taking the steps to constantly evolve in our understanding of our professional and personal life—as well as the world around us—helps build a firm foundation for our present and future.
Ball was a true pioneer for the women of her time. She was not afraid to tackle new things or learn more about the production and business side of her career even though she was encroaching on a man’s world at the time. She knew that any knowledge she gained about the entertainment business would help ensure her future success.
For example, behind the scenes, Ball was an integral part of the business operations of Desilu Productions. She was one of the final voices in all decisions made regarding the show and the production company. And it didn’t stop there. In front of the camera, she portrayed a determined woman diligently trying to work outside of the home in various careers while still tackling the responsibilities of being a housewife and a mother. To put it simply, she just wasn’t scared to try something new.
It’s important to not let fear of failure, or the unknown, deter us from taking chances to break the mould and step out of our comfort zone. The possibilities for growth, success, and achievement are endless.
6. “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
It’s quite profound how much we can learn from the fortitude and spunk exuded from Lucille Ball, the “Queen of Comedy.” As we’ve seen through these quotes, Ball refused to let others dictate who she would become or what she would achieve. Instead, she had a firm grasp on her own self-worth and was determined to forge ahead to fulfill her dreams.
She demonstrated that self-confidence and inner strength are vital to professional and personal success—a lesson that we would all be wise to remember.
Which one of the above Lucille Ball quotes was your favorite and why? Share your thoughts with us below!
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