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If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Book review

“Man’s Search For Meaning”

by the late Austrian psychiatrist and concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl is not the first personal account of a former camp prisoner at the time of Hitler’s reign, but it’s certainly a powerful one. The premise in Frankl’s thinking and practice is that life is a quest for meaning, diverging from his teacher Sigmund Freud, who believed life is a quest for pleasure, as well as from Alfred Adler who stated that life is a quest for power. This meaning, according to Frankl, can be found in work – significant work, in love – caring for someone, and in courage – during difficult times as in suffering, clearly drawing from his own challenging times asking courage, purpose, resilience, hope, and perseverance. Frankl explains that forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except for one thing: your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation, i.e. your attitude. You cannot always control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and what you do about what happens to you.

Frankl’s book is personal as can be expected. It is an easy read with an emphasis on a belief foreign to many of us: The last freedom that noone can take away from us is the freedom of choice. The choice of attitude in no matter what kind of situation. When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. Are you ready to take on the challenge?

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