Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl

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Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl von Mind Map: Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl

1. You have a choice

1.1. You always have a choice

1.1.1. Between a stimulus and a response

1.1.1.1. is a gap

1.1.1.2. In that gap

1.1.1.2.1. Is our ability to choose how we respond to any situation

1.2. There will always be external circumstances that you can not control

1.2.1. Something as simple as traffic

1.2.2. Or something as dire as a viral outbreak

1.2.3. You can not control those circumstances

1.3. What you can control is

1.3.1. Your internal response

1.3.2. You have the freedom to choose your reaction

1.4. It's not about what life throws your way

1.4.1. What matters is how you respond to that situation

1.5. "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms.....to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way"

1.6. There is space between what happens to us and what we do

1.6.1. That is the space where we choose our respone

1.6.2. We are responsible

1.6.2.1. Response - Able

1.7. "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."

2. Frankl found - There are 3 ways to find meaning

2.1. Pursuing a Life Task

2.1.1. The Auschwitz death camp

2.1.1.1. When Frankl entered Auschwitz

2.1.1.1.1. Nazi guards

2.1.1.1.2. As he was going through that ordeal

2.1.1.2. He wrote

2.1.1.2.1. "When I was taken to the concentration camp of Auschwitz, a manuscript of mine ready for publication was confiscated. Certainly, my deep desire to write this manuscript anew helped me to survive the rigors of the camps I was in."

2.1.1.3. As he was suffering through the concentration camp

2.1.1.3.1. He used scraps of paper he collected around the camp

2.1.1.4. He knew

2.1.1.4.1. He had to finish the manuscript

2.1.1.4.2. He had to survive the camp

2.1.1.4.3. Because if he died

2.1.1.5. Frankl found

2.1.1.5.1. Those who had a task waiting for them

2.1.2. So the question is

2.1.2.1. What is your life's task?

2.1.2.1.1. Is it a business project or an invention you want the world to have?

2.1.2.1.2. Is it a book you have been meaning to write

2.1.2.1.3. Is it some art work you have been wanting to create?

2.1.2.1.4. Is it a charity you want to support?

2.1.2.2. When you pursue your life's work

2.1.2.2.1. Life feels meaningful

2.2. Experiencing someone/something

2.3. Facing Suffering

2.3.1. During 3 yrs in the Nazi concentration camps

2.3.1.1. Frankl endured inhumane amounts of suffering

2.3.1.2. But he found a way to rise above that suffering in that moment

2.3.1.2.1. By imagining himself

2.3.1.3. He looked at that suffering

2.3.1.3.1. As a learning event

2.3.1.3.2. In some ways his suffering became his work

2.3.1.4. He said

2.3.1.4.1. "I imagined myself giving a lecture on the psychology of the concentration camp. And all that oppressed me at that moment became objective seen and described from Remote viewpoint of science. by this method, I succeeded somehow in rising above the situation above the suffering of the moment, and I observed them as if they were already of the past."

2.3.1.5. As Frankl says

2.3.1.5.1. "Suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds meaning"

2.3.2. When we are faced with suffering or crisis

2.3.2.1. We must ask ourselves

2.3.2.1.1. What is the meaning in this suffering?

2.3.2.1.2. Why is this suffering/crisis going to be helpful/valuable?

2.3.2.2. Often the greatest value in suffering/crisis

2.3.2.2.1. How it strengthens your character

2.3.2.3. We must see every suffering/crisis as an opportunity to

2.3.2.3.1. Strengthen our values and our principles

2.3.2.4. We must see every crisis as

2.3.2.4.1. A brutal workout in the gym

2.3.2.4.2. That will only strengthen us in the long term

2.3.3. Frankly says

2.3.3.1. "By accepting the challenge to suffer bravely, life has a meaning up to the last moment, and it retains this meaning literally till the end.

2.3.3.2. "The most important task every day, is to find meaning and make life meaningful"

2.3.4. Story

2.3.4.1. Once, an elderly general practitioner consulted me because of his severe depression. He could not overcome the loss of his wife who had died two years before and whom he had loved above all else. Now how could I help him? What should I tell him? I refrained from telling him anything, but instead confronted him with a question, "What would have happened, Doctor, if you had died first, and your wife would have had to survive you?:" "Oh," he said, "for her this would have been terrible; how she would have suffered!" Whereupon I replied, "You see, Doctor, such a suffering has been spared her, and it is you who have spared her this suffering; but now, you have to pay for it by surviving and mourning her." He said no word but shook my hand and calmly left the office.

3. Handling fear: Paradoxical intention technique

3.1. Fear brings about that which we are afraid of

3.2. Solution:

3.2.1. Intend precisely that which you fear

3.3. Example

3.3.1. A patient who used to sweat too much and was scared of it

3.3.2. Solution

3.3.2.1. He was asked to intend to sweat too much - to show people how much he could sweat

3.3.2.2. He could not sweat as a result!

3.4. Hyper-intention makes what we wish for impossible

4. "He who has a why to LIVE for can bear almost any HOW" - Nietzsche

4.1. "Any attempt to restore a man's inner strength in the camp had to first succeed In showing him some future goal. Whenever there was an opportunity for it, one had to give them a why, and an aim for their lives in order to strengthen them to bear the terrible HOW of their existence."

4.1.1. "Any attempt to restore a man's inner strength"

4.1.1.1. "Had to first succeed in showing him some future goal"

4.1.2. "One had to give them a Why"

4.1.2.1. "An Aim for their lives"

4.1.2.2. "In order to strengthen them to bear the terrible HOW of their existence"

4.1.3. When the prisoner found a reason to live for

4.1.3.1. The chance of their survival increased dramatically

4.1.4. But those who could not find a reason to live for

4.1.4.1. Decreased their chances of survival

4.1.4.1.1. They were more prone to

4.2. Frankly talks about 2 Prisoners contemplating suicide

4.2.1. Their argument

4.2.1.1. "There was nothing more to expect from life"

4.2.2. But they did not commit suicide

4.2.2.1. Why

4.2.2.1.1. They found a meaning

4.2.2.1.2. They found a reason to keep going

4.2.2.2. For one

4.2.2.2.1. It was his child waiting for him in a foreign country

4.2.2.3. The other man

4.2.2.3.1. He was a scientist

4.2.2.3.2. And he had a series of books that still needed to be finished

4.3. Here is what Viktor Frankl said

4.3.1. "A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward human being who affectionately waits for him or to an unfinished work will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the why for his existence and will be able to bear almost any how."

4.3.2. As Frankl says

4.3.2.1. When a man has a clear reason for his existence

4.3.2.1.1. Whether it be a loved one waiting for him

4.3.2.1.2. or

4.3.2.1.3. Some unfinished work

4.3.2.2. That man will bear almost any HOW

4.3.2.2.1. He will go through the most difficult and trying times

4.3.2.2.2. Because he has something greater to LIVE for

5. "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

6. Suffering behaves like gas

6.1. You pump a small amount into a box and it fills the box

6.2. Pump a large amount into the box and it fills it too

6.3. The density might be different

6.3.1. But suffering becomes pervasive. Just like the gas

7. The last human freedom

7.1. Everything can be taken from us

7.2. Except for the last of human freedoms

7.2.1. The freedom to choose one's response

7.2.2. The freedom to choose one's attitude

7.3. This freedom is never lost

8. Logotherapy

8.1. Greek: Logos = meaning

8.2. Man's search for meaning is the primary motivation in life

8.2.1. Meaning will help us survive the toughest of conditions

8.2.2. "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how." -Nietzsche

8.3. Tension

8.3.1. Our search for meaning leads to tension

8.3.1.1. Between what we have accomplished and

8.3.1.2. What we are going after

8.3.2. Such tension is required for our mental well-being

8.3.2.1. We need to be constantly striving for a worthwhile goal

8.3.3. A state of equilibrium without tension can be very dangerous

8.4. Meaning of life

8.4.1. We should not ask what the meaning is

8.4.1.1. Instead we are being asked by life what the meaning is

8.4.2. Each one of us must answer to life in our way

8.5. Finding meaning in suffering

8.5.1. "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are forced to change ourselves"

8.5.2. Suffering stops being suffering once you have meaning

8.5.3. We humans will go through suffering - if there is meaning behind it

9. Recommended readings

9.1. Emotional Equations

9.1.1. Despair = Suffering - Meaning

9.2. 7 Habits of highly effective people

10. Intro

10.1. Viktor Frankl

10.1.1. During 2nd World war

10.1.1.1. He was a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps

10.1.1.1.1. Auschwitz

10.1.1.1.2. Dakau

10.1.1.1.3. For 3 years

10.1.1.2. All his family

10.1.1.2.1. His Wife

10.1.1.2.2. His father

10.1.1.2.3. His mother

10.1.1.2.4. and his brother

10.1.1.2.5. Died in these concentration camps

10.1.1.3. However, he survived the concentration camps

10.1.1.3.1. Inhumane torture

10.1.1.3.2. Extreme Hunger

10.1.1.3.3. Brutal living conditions

10.1.1.3.4. And major illnesses

10.1.2. While others around him perished every day

10.1.2.1. He managed to find hope and meaning in the midst of all the suffering

11. The Power of Meaning

11.1. Frankl realized during the concentration camps

11.1.1. Most prisoners died

11.1.1.1. Not because of lack of food

11.1.1.1.1. or because of the endless torture

11.1.1.1.2. Or the horrible living conditions

11.1.2. They died because

11.1.2.1. They had lost meaning

11.1.2.2. They had lost hope

11.2. Even though Frankel was living in extremely difficult circumstances, and had been stripped of almost all his humanity, he noticed something,

11.2.1. his ability to find meaning in even the diarist of circumstances helped him to survive

11.3. He noticed two types of prisoners

11.3.1. those that had lost faith, meaning and hope in the future,

11.3.2. those that didn't lose meaning and hope

11.3.2.1. They looked at life as a challenge to be overcome

11.3.3. the ones who had a why to live for were more likely to survive.

11.4. He noticed

11.4.1. In life you can either

11.4.1.1. Make a victory of your experiences

11.4.1.2. or

11.4.1.3. Ignore the challenges and simply fade away

11.5. After world war 2

11.5.1. Frankl saw the same in his psychiatry practice

11.5.1.1. Patients who had lost meaning in life

11.5.1.1.1. Would often fall into

11.5.1.2. And the only way to get people to want to LIVE again

11.5.1.2.1. Was to help them find meaning

11.6. Meaning is a very powerful form of LIFE energy

11.6.1. No matter how challenging a crisis may be

11.6.1.1. Or how great the suffering

11.6.2. When we have meaning

11.6.2.1. We can endure any crisis

11.6.2.2. And triumph over the biggest challenges and setbacks

11.7. "Faith is trust in ultimate meaning."

11.8. So how can we find meaning?

11.8.1. We should not ask LIFE what the meaning is

11.8.1.1. Instead we must create and find our own meaning

11.8.2. Each one of us must answer to life in our way

11.8.3. "Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked"

11.8.3.1. "For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment."