Searching for Meaning – Are You Aiming High Enough?
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One of my favorite books is Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning.”
It’s a powerful book, divided into two parts.
Part One is an account of Frankl’s experiences as a prisoner in several concentration camps during the Second Word War. His recollections are sad, moving, and inspiring.
One of my favorite passages:
“… any attempt to restore a man’s inner strength in the camp has first to succeed in showing him some future goal. Nietzsche’s words, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how,”…Whenever there was an opportunity for it, one had to give them a why–an aim–for their lives, in order to strengthen them to bear the terrible how of their existence. ”
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Part Two – Frankl summarizes his therapeutic model, Logotherapy – meaning-centered psychotherapy.
In his words:
“Let me explain why I have employed the term “Logotherapy” as the name for my theory. Logos is a Greek word which denotes “meaning.” Logotherapy… focuses on the meaning of human existence as well as on man’s search for such a meaning. According to logotherapy, this striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man.”
[Tweet “Striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man –Frankl”]
Following with his words:
“Thus it can be seen that mental health is based on a certain degree of tension, the tension between what one has already achieved and what one still ought to accomplish, or the gap between what one is and what ones should become.”
I hope these excerpts, and this podcast episode, stirs your curiosity to read this book, and learn more about this great man – Viktor Frankl.
Listen to this recording of a lecture he gave at a conference in Toronto:
So, what does this imply for Self-Employed Professionals?
Let’s start with what Frankl learned from his experiences:
“This striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man.“
This is important for psychotherapy, personal growth, and for Self-Employed Professionals.
In order to Self-Employed Professionals to be resilient and overcome the challenges on the road to a successful business –that really makes a difference– they must connect with their WHY.
Another quote from Frankl:
“…mental health is based on a certain degree of tension, the tension between what one has already achieved and what one still ought to accomplish, or the gap between what one is and what ones should become.”
Life and Business Coaching aims to close this gap. Coaches strive to support their clients to go from where they are now to where they want to be. This is also crucial to keep in mind for our own businesses – the gap between where one is, and where one want to be.
From the video and paraphrasing some of Frankl's ideas:
“They wish to make a lot of money… Really? Only 16% said their goal or concern was to make lots of money.”
“78% were concern to find meaning and purpose in their lives.”
Is this the same goal for most Self-Employed Professionals who want to make a difference?
The powerful metaphor of his flying lessons.
He explains that if we start in point A to get to point B – on a horizontal line – because of the crosswinds, we will drift and land below point B – below our initial goal.
However, if we aim to land above point B – higher than we think we should go – and we fly as if we were heading above point B, it's more likely that we reach our initial goal (point B).
Think how important this is for any Self-employed Professional.
“If we take man as he is, we make him worse, but if we take man as he should be, we make him capable of becoming what he could be.” – Goethe (1749 – 1832)
This should be the motto for ourselves, for those we serve, and for our own businesses.
Think about the possibilities.