Viktor Frankl is a Holocaust survivor from world war 2. His most famous work is called Man’s Search For Meaning.
In the book, he describes his time in the Nazi Concentration camps and talks about how in the midst of all that evil, he found the will to live.
If you are unfamiliar with world war 2 and concentration camps, these were the Nazi Death camps that they used against the Jews. The prisoners were made to work till they died. The visuals from those years are horrific.
But in the midst of all that, Viktor Frankl managed to find the will to live. It is an amazing book to read. Somehow in that hell, he managed to find his purpose.
Here are 5 lessons we can take from the book
We always retain the ability to choose our attitude.
There will be Suffering – It’s how we React to Suffering that Counts
The Power of Purpose
The True Test of Our Character is Revealed in How we Act
Human Kindness can be found in the Most Surprising Places
If these ideas have sparked an interest in you, please read his book.
Viktor Frankl is most famous for learning that the survivors from these concentration camps often had a deep sense of purpose that made them want to live. It could have been a child or a family member that had escaped and was waiting for them.
Purpose is one of the most important concepts when it comes to living that awesome life. Purpose is what makes you want to jump out of bed every morning excited! Purpose is what keeps you afloat and helps you through the rough times in life. Purpose gives your life meaning.
In today’s world, purpose is used and thrown around a lot.
People come up with all kinds of ideas around purpose. You hear so many people talk about purpose so loosely. It’s become fashionable to have one.
The problem with that is you start feeling like a loser for not having one. You feel stuck that you can’t figure out your purpose. After all if it is your purpose it has to be larger than life. It has to be serious. It has to be something that all of humanity will benefit from! Uff, that’s stressful!
I see so many of my clients go through a similar turmoil. They fret that they don’t have a purpose yet! And while I think it is important and essential to have a purpose, I say chill relax.
Let’s start with something a little bit easier. If finding your purpose is difficult, the first step is to find something to be responsible for.
Think of responsibility as a smaller version of purpose. While a purpose is big and scary, a responsibility is smaller and more action oriented.
You can be responsible for taking care of your pet. Or you can be responsible for taking care of your parents. You can start a business and be responsible to your clients.
The trick here is to choose something to be responsible for. Very often in life we have responsibilities that are thrust upon us. These are the responsibilities that we do out of duty or compulsion but have no personal interest in. These kinds of responsibilities do not feed our souls.
However, if we find something we are passionate about and choose to be responsible for it, that becomes a different story. For example, you are a father, of course you are responsible for your child’s education and safety and food etc. Those are things that are thrust upon you. You have always loved football and your child shows great promise in kicking around a ball. You now take the responsibility of teaching him and making sure he gets better and better.
If you wake up feeling purposeless. If you feel that sense of low energy through the day. If you feel that drain of having too much to do, without the satisfaction. Then I think it is time you choose something to be responsible for.
Use this simple 3 step formula for arriving at something to be responsible for.
Step 1: Find something you are madly passionate about. Dance, singing, a new project at work. Something that excites you as a person.
Step 2: Join a group that is excited about something similar or make a plan for growing that particular passion or join a class to learn more about it.
Step 3: Choose to lead and take responsibility for it within this group or class.
It will be scary to do. You will wonder how on Earth will you find the time to do this extra thing! But trust me, if you are passionate about it, the time will magically appear.
Will this responsibility turn in to your purpose? Who knows? Maybe it will maybe it won’t.
But it will give you the foundation and the building blocks needed for your purpose.
So your habit to finding the stepping stones towards your purpose is to choose something to be responsible for. Something you are passionate about or like doing. Dig deep into what you probably liked as a child. Or like doing now.
As time passes on, start collecting more and more of these kinds of chosen responsibilities.