In the book, Man’s Search For Meaning written by Viktor Frankl, he chronicles his experiences while an inmate at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Frankl survived death many times, mostly by fate. Through malnutrition and not having a clue when the war might end, Frankl miraculously survived. The events he tells of in his book are bone chilling.
As a society today, we take everything for granted. From waking in the morning to the food we eat. As an inmate, Frankl never knew which day might be his last. The psychological toll the concentration camp gave, led people to give up. They didn’t see that life was worth fighting for.
Frankl gives accounts of life as an inmate. More than the depiction he gives, he takes you inside the mind of himself as to what he was conjuring at each point. He holds nothing back from his story.
There are five takeaways we can use from the book whether in business or life.
When you arrive at Auschwitz, you either go to the left or right. If you were on the left side, your life is over in a few hours. 90% of the people were on the left side, Frankl was the lucky 10%.
Frankl was a psychologist but referred to himself as a doctor. Through his profession, the Nazi’s needed his help in dealing with sick patients. Sometimes he’d get more to eat than others, which wasn’t much. That was more watered down soup.
As the liberation of the war was coming, they had to move the prisoners of the camp. Frankl didn’t ride the boxcars that came as they were filled. He was supposed to wait for the next round of boxcars but never made it on them. He was disappointed until he found out what happened.
The Nazi’s didn’t want to leave any reminiscence of the genocide. They took the people from the boxcars, locked them into huts and burned them alive. Frankl narrowly missed his death once more.
Frankl states how lucky he was to be alive. It’s amazing he made it through the concentration camp. He dispels the account that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
In your business, you will need luck to come your way. Whether that’s through connections in your life, as Frankl did with the Capo’s.
He was unlucky to a part of horrendous acts, but he didn’t let his fate stop him from surviving. He was determined in his mind he’d live.
You might’ve started out unlucky in life, the odds pressed against you. You can complain or you can try to right the situation you’re in. How do you view the world? If Frankl can survive Auschwitz, there’s no reason you can’t get over what you’re going through.
Frankl traded his belt for a piece of stale bread. He did what was necessary to survive. There was nothing to be thankful for, yet Frankl was.
The prisoners and himself became elated over the beautiful sunsets. We take sunsets for granted, but for those inmates, they didn’t know if that’d be their last sunset.
Frankl tried to find gratitude in everything he did. That meant being able to sleep later or having a few days of work off. When serving the soup for dinner, if he got a scoop from the bottom, he’d instantly be happy. Because a bottom scoop meant he’d get peas in his soup instead of just the broth.
If Frankl can be grateful during his time at the concentration camp why can’t you be happy with everything you have? Our world has massive abundance. They’re opportunities everywhere.
When was the last time you thought about your life? Every day there are occurrences you should be grateful for. We overlook the situations because we’re always looking towards the future.
At the camp, inmates had each day to look forward to. They lived each day as if it was their last.
What do you have to be grateful for?
Others have it worse
No matter what you’re going through, someone will always have it worse. This is exemplified throughout the book. Frankl was in a terrible place and he understood what people were going to die. He had to live with that throughout camp.
As hard as it got on Frankl, he still felt grateful that he wasn’t the others. He wasn’t the many that died as soon as they stepped into the camp.
We complain about our problems, not realizing how others have it worse. We consider the world revolves us. In actuality, we’re small. You don’t consider what you’re going through, no one else is dealing with?
The next time you wish to complain, I want you to stop for a second. Is your life as terrible as you believe? Chances are, it’s not. Quit being over dramatic. Each of has our own unique set of problems. You can either let that define you or you can use it your advantage.
Frankl could’ve said, “I guess it’s time to die.” He could’ve complained the entire time. Frankl saw how others had it worse.
Each day offers the chance to rid ourselves of the past. Realize that no matter how terrible the situation you’re in it could be worse.
Find Humor In Everything
The inmates of the concentration camp tried to pass their time with humor. They’d make jokes about the guards or each other. By continually laughing, it allowed the inmates to not be as focused on their situation.
Frankl used humor as an escape from camp life. He took to another world. A world where he was free in his imagination.
We take life too seriously. We don’t realize that we will not get out alive. There’s something to be humorous in every situation you’re in. If you make a mistake, don’t ridicule yourself, laugh at yourself. You’re not perfect and you shouldn’t expect yourself to be.
Have a good laugh every day. Whether that’s at yourself or through watching a video. Humor makes your life more exciting, it won’t be as dull.
When you laugh, you’re releasing endorphins in your body that will make you happy. If everything is going wrong in your life, watch a comedy movie. Do anything that will make you laugh.
Willpower is one of the major reasons Frankl survived. He did whatever it took to survive. He wasn’t going to die at the concentration camp. No matter how hard his situation, he was determined to make it out alive.
Willpower had an impact on the men at Auschwitz. It was those who gave up hope for surviving on the right side who also died. Frankl thought about giving up, but wouldn’t let himself do it.
He’d talk with the other inmates as to what they’d do once they were liberated. This gave a sense of meaning that the war might end. The prisoners didn’t know when the war might end and that took a psychological toll.
With the grave condition he was in, Frankl never lost sight why he had to live. His wife could’ve survived, and he’d never know. It was the hope to see the streets where he once lived.
If Frankl can use his willpower to make it through the Holocaust, you can use your willpower to go after your dreams. If you wish to accomplish your dreams, they can be achieved with willpower.
You can do more than you think is possible. You can absorb more pain than you think is necessary. Frankl shows keen examples of how he used his willpower to get him through the camp.
You have the willpower within to accomplish your dreams, but are you going to use it?
Man’s Search For Meaning is a must read if you want to change your perspective on the world and your life.
What do you think of the book? Let us know in the comments below!
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