During the concentration camps, Frankl, as a psychiatrist, discovered three rich sources of meaning. These are the three ‘wells of meaning.’ You can turn to these wells when you lose hope and require motivation to get through a difficult period in your life.
1. Pursue a Life Task
If you died today, there would be a task that you and only you could have completed. A piece of work that required your unique collection of experiences, knowledge, and strengths.
If you are unaware of it –
- seek new experiences
- acquire knowledge
- develop a rare combination of valuable skills.
Then, search for opportunities to use your unique collection of experiences, knowledge, and skill and then do the task believing you were born to do this.
According to Frankl ‘Love’ has little to do with the feeling of being in love and more about struggling to help others succeed.
- “Love” is the act of recognizing the potential in others and helping them actualize that potential.
- Love is creating opportunities for your child or introducing your friend to someone who can get them a more rewarding job.
When you lack meaning, find someone you can elevate. Aim to make someone else’s life a little better. Get so busy helping others you forget yourself in the process.
3. Suffer Bravely
You can use your imagination to overcome suffering. Take this incident (from Frankl’s experience)-
While walking in the cold while being beaten by a Nazi guard, he recalls a man whispering to him, “If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don’t know what is happening to us.” Instead of worrying about the man’s comment, this prompted Frankl to retreat into his imagination. He pictured his wife and her smile.
From the book:-
Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor E Frankl