What the mind perceives, it can achieve. This is the essence of inspiration. We asked the Cacao Media team what inspires them and this is what Jonathan Cohen, our Project Manager put forth.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
“What man needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.” Victor Emil Frankl (1905 – 1997)
This is a powerful statement by Victor Emil Frankl in his novel book Man’s Search for Meaning and it got me thinking about;
- the meaning of life,
- where to find motivation when feeling lost,
- and what is our purpose?
Viktor Frankl (1905 – 1997) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He explained how he survived the Holocaust by finding a personal life meaning and bringing the science of happiness to life.
The narrative in this book happened during 1942 – 1945 when Viktor spends most of his days in four concentration camps in the worst circumstances known to man. Through this time, he elaborates the science of happiness to life, Frankl pointed to research indicating a strong relationship between “meaninglessness” and criminal behaviors, addictions and depression. “Without meaning, people fill the void with hedonistic pleasures, power, materialism, hatred, boredom, or neurotic obsessions and compulsions” he quoted.
The lack of meaning leads to a lack of motivation, therefore, finding a deeper purpose on important things provides the energy to achieve success and overcome difficult moments.
Frankl explains how his identity was erased once he entered the camps. Daily, he got used to facing all the hatred and horror trying to develop new strategies and looking for self-motivation to stay alive while helping others.
Frankl argues that we are not bound to our environment, “The experiences of camp life show that man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples, often of a heroic nature, which proved that apathy could be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress”
These ideals helped him stay alive as he made his way out of the camps and guided him as he later established a new school of existential therapy called logotherapy. This is based on the premise that man’s underlying motivator in life is a “will to meaning,” even in the toughest circumstances.
This makes me think if he could overcome this situation we can also do it even in conditions or situations that we consider terrible.
Without hope we are lost, this is one of the most powerful lessons learned by Viktor Frankl during the 4 years that he spent in different concentration camps. Hope and meaning are the two things that he cherished the most and gave him the power to survive. He had hope for the future, he wanted to finish his manuscript and be able to show it to the world. Since then, this book has been referenced in a lot of courses and lessons around the world, most of them related to coaching.
Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is an inspiring book that empowered me as the reader to take a look at the bright side of life and I hope it does the same for you. This book is a life-changing experience for anyone that has a profound curiosity about the meaning of life since he takes you on a journey where you feel the intensity, and the cruelty he experienced during these hard times of the Second World War.
“The truth- that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.”