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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30 Most Famous Quotes of All Time to Motivate You
It seems in the last decade or so, motivational quotes and inspirational quotes are front and center on Facebook and Instagram feeds. It’s no wonder why. They really do have that impactful kick to make you get up and do stuff!
I know for me, it was all these quotes that I kept reading that:
- pushed me out of my comfort zone
- gave me courage to smash goals
- helped me believe in myself
- soothed my broken heart sometimes
- helped me out of rock bottom, and
- kept me strong in times of trouble
Legends like Les Brown, Joel Brown and Tony Robbins motivated the crap out of me. I stayed strong and focused because of their powerful words. I mean, they did quote all these inspirational words to motivate us, no?
Of course they did. So I’ve searched high and low for the best and most empowering famous quotes of all time in hopes they inspire you like they did me.
Do quotes really help?
The answer is yes and no. No they won’t work if you read them, brush them off and never feel the power of their words.
Yes they will work if you make them work for you and you want them too. Quotes are like affirmations. Many of us recant affirmations either as part of our morning routine, evening routine or just whenever we need a boost.
When you read them and repeat them out loud and feel each and every word in every ounce of your being, they work!! Besides, I’m living proof they help. Empowering quotes have helped me out of rock bottom twice, depression a few times, and helped me smash and achieve goals.
So yes, they work. And these most famous quotes I’ve chosen are famous for a reason. They have inspired, motivated and empowered millions of people around the world to chase their dreams, believe in themselves and never give up.
Without further ado…
10 famous quotes on taking action and not giving up
1. The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. ~Walt Disney
2. Anybody who ever accomplished anything big or new or worth raising a celebratory fist in the air did it from their comfort zone. They risked ridicule and failure and sometimes even death. ~Jen Sincero
3. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way, you’re right. ~Henry Ford
4. The woman I am today would like to thank the woman I was 5 years ago for not giving up. You’re awesome. ~Iva Ursano
5. I’ll try is the battle cry of wimps. ~Tony Robbins
6. You must be the change you wish to see in the world ~Ghandi
7. If you judge people, you have no time to love them. ~Mother Teresa
8. Those who dare to fail miserably, can achieve greatly. ~John Kennedy
10. I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage, or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time. ~Brené Brown
10 famous quotes on life
11. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~Maya Angelou
12. If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough. ~Oprah Winfrey
13. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~Lao Tzu
14. The mind is everything. What you think you become. ~Buddha
15. Everything you do and every decision you make should be from a place of good. You should always be striving to make the world a better place. ~Les Brown
16. You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. ~Mae West
17. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too. ~Paulo Coelho
18. When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. ~Franklin D.Roosevelt
19. If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way. ~Napoleon Hill
20. Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. ~George Bernard Shaw
10 famous quotes on success
21. The secret of getting ahead is getting started. ~Mark Twain
23. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~Martin Luther King Jr
24. Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies. ~Nelson Mandela
25. If you surround yourself with positive people who build you up, the sky’s the limit. ~Joel Brown
26. Tough times never last but tough people do. ~Robert H. Schuller
27. You miss 100% of the shots you never take. ~Wayne Gretzky
28. If you’re going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill
29. I have not failed. I just found 10,000 that won’t work. ~Thomas A. Edison
30. Often our most rewarding dreams are staring us right in the face but for some reason we focus on how hard things are, how we are scared of the unknown and what would happen if we failed. ~Joel Brown
Write them out!
I always tell people to write that out and stick it in a place you will see it and read it everyday. That’s how quotes work.
My favourite famous quote of all time and one you should read over and over again, Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you’re right. Read that when self doubt creeps in.
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