“Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” —Viktor Frankl
This is a quote from a psychiatrist called Viktor Frankl who wrote a book called Man’s Search for Meaning in 1946. He makes the case that those who deal best with the most challenging and difficult life circumstances are those who can find meaning and a sense of control over their environment. What makes his argument incredibly powerful is that he’s describing his own experience as a concentration camp inmate during the Second World War.
The changes we’ve experienced in our lives over the past year may have caused some to ask questions about the meaning of it all, and feel as if their own sense of meaning has somehow come adrift. Others may have discovered a new sense of meaning in their lives.
Over 70 years ago, Frankl identified three ways in which we can find meaning:
- Creativity – or giving something to the world through self- expression,
- Experiencing the world by interacting authentically with our environment and with others, and
- Changing our attitude when we are faced with a situation or circumstance that we cannot change.
Another way which I’ve found important is to re-visit my own core personal values from time to time. What we value has a big impact on the meaning we attribute to things, and different aspects of our lives. When we lose sight of what we value in life, it’s easy to lose energy, motivation and our sense of direction.