Life’s Lesson: Viktor Frankl on Suffering and Meaning

zig ziglar motivational speakers, motivational speakers tony robbins, how to become a motivational speaker, motivational speakers websites, motivational speeches, motivational speakers videosWhen I lived in my car the most difficult aspect was the haunting, “Why?” The subsequent, “Things happen for a reason” from family and friends seemed trite. I knew some of my adversity was avoidable. The result of decisions I had made.

Nevertheless, having paid penance I presumed my suffering would miraculously dissipate. However, my pain increased long after I had corrected my actions, nay, inactions.

What invariably lifted me from the bowels of depression were two things:

I could stay where I was or I could climb out. I asked myself what would God desire of me? Praying under a street lamp in San Pedro, Ca without a friend in the world, I cried mercilessly. Then I retrieved a copy of Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.” I dropped the book on my littered seat with the page opened to this section as though it been penned for me:

“There are situations in which one is cut off from the opportunity to do one’s work or enjoy one’s life; but what can never be ruled out is the unavoidability of suffering.  In accepting this challenge to suffer bravely, life has a meaning up to the last moment, and it retains this meaning literally to the end.  In other words, life’s meaning is an unconditional one, for it even includes the potential meaning of unavoidable suffering…

The question that beset me was, “Has all this suffering, all this dying around us, a meaning?  For, if not, then ultimately there is no meaning to survival; for a life whose meaning depends on such a happenstance–as whether one escapes or not–ultimately would not be worth living at all.” Viktor Frankl

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Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work www.jimwoodsgroup.com. He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website www.jimwoodsgroup.com.

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