Thoughts from Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

‘Man has the potential to be either a swine or saint, which he exhibits is based on decisions not conditions. Man invented the gas chamber and Man entered them with his head held high and a prayer on his lips.’

A sobering passage – not what we usually face in our daily life thankfully. And we have the opportunity to live this spectrum between swine and saint every day based on our decisions in a given situation – big or small.

This notion re-affirms a learning I had from the leadership course I just finished taking (fun and stretching to be a participant rather than a facilitator) which was about being RESPONSE-ABLE. We are responsible for the impact of our actions and words (which come from our thoughts) and by responsible it means we are able to respond how we choose. We are at choice.  If our impact was not positive or not how we intended we can choose to STAY and clean up the mess or shift the impact.

This notion of our human existence as an interactive system where we are constantly in relation with others is confirmed by Frankl’s notion that the true meaning of life is about being out in the world; to direct our being towards something or someone other than oneself. He believes that the more one forgets himself, the more human he is and the more self-actualized he becomes.

So the enjoyment of this human experience is about putting someone or something ahead of ourselves and hence living more saintly for good in daily life. Small acts of kindness not only make others feel good, we feel good too.

What or who is it that gives you meaning in your life?