I was reminded of the life of Viktor Frankl a few days ago.
Viktor Frankl was a psychologist who while writing a book on his findings the Nazis came to town.
Foreseeing the capture, his wife sewed his writings on to his clothes hoping to save years of his work.
As soon as he was captured however, all his clothes were burnt down.
What followed was years of torture at various concentration camps along with the loss of every person in his family in the process. The details are harrowing.
Yet, Frankl kept his spirit, survived the experience and went on to write his seminal work ‘Man’s search for meaning.’
I found myself thinking about my life for a few moments..
While his experiences were probably as severe as they can possibly ever get, every one of us have had our share of ups and downs.
We face challenges every single day. They never stop. The more we choose to do, the more we choose to take on, the more challenges we face.
There is no running away from that.
Along the way, we taste bad luck, stumble, fall and then move on. That’s part of life.
There are many things in life that we do not have control of. That’s also part of life. In fact, over time, we realise we are not in control of most things.
It is a chaotic journey. And we are all working hard to play our part in the act.
What we do have complete control over is the meaning we attach to it. It does not matter if it is just an additional project, if it is just a note to say thank you, if it is just a small task at work or if it is just a catch up with a friend, we can make it meaningful. We can make it count.
We can choose to quit talking about the weather and talk about things that matter to us.
We can choose cut the small talk and talk about what matters.
We can choose to switch off the television set and actually get out and do something with our lives.
We can choose to make every minute in our day count.
We can choose to be interested, engaged and passionate.
We can choose to be present.
We can choose to be the best we can be. Just for a day for starters..
Maybe we will do it for a whole day today.
And maybe we will like it and do it again day after.
But careful now, as Seth Godin would say, it may become a habit.
One of my favorite quotes from Viktor’s book:
“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run, in the long-run, I say! success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”