Frankl believed that humans are motivated by something called a "will to meaning," which equates to a desire to find meaning in life. He argued that life can have meaning even in the most miserable of circumstances and that the motivation for living comes from finding that meaning. Taking it a step further, Frankl wrote:
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.
This opinion was based on his experiences of suffering and his attitude of finding meaning through suffering. In this way, Frankl believed that when we can no longer change a situation, we are forced to change ourselves.
"Logos" is the Greek word for meaning, and logotherapy involves helping a patient find personal meaning in life. Frankl provided a brief overview of the theory in Man's Search for Meaning.
Frankl believed in three core properties on which his theory and therapy were based:
Each person has a healthy core.
One's primary focus is to enlighten others to their own internal resources and provide the tools to use their inner core.
Life offers purpose and meaning but does not promise fulfillment or happiness.
Going a step further, logotherapy proposes that meaning in life can be discovered in three distinct ways:
By creating a work or doing a deed.
By experiencing something or encountering someone.
By the attitude that we take toward unavoidable suffering.
An example that is often given to explain the basic tenets of logotherapy is the story of Frankl meeting with an elderly general practitioner who was struggling to overcome depression after the loss of his wife. Frankl helped the elderly man to see that his purpose had been to spare his wife the pain of losing him first.
Logotherapy consists of six basic assumptions that overlap with the fundamental constructs and ways of seeking meaning listed above:
1. Body, Mind, and Spirit
The human being is an entity that consists of a body (soma), mind (psyche), and spirit (noos). Frankl argued that we have a body and mind, but the spirit is what we are, or our essence. Note that Frankl's theory was not based on religion or theology, but often had parallels to these.
2. Life Has Meaning in All Circumstances
Frankl believed that life has meaning in all circumstances, even the most miserable ones. This means that even when situations seem objectively terrible, there is a higher level of order that involves meaning.
3. Humans Have a Will to Meaning
Logotherapy proposes that humans have a will to meaning, which means that meaning is our primary motivation for living and acting and allows us to endure pain and suffering. This is viewed as differing from the will to achieve power and pleasure.
4. Freedom to Find Meaning
Frankl argues that in all circumstances, individuals have the freedom to access that will to find meaning. This is based on his experiences of pain and suffering and choosing his attitude in a situation that he could not change.
5. Meaning of the Moment
The fifth assumption argues that for decisions to be meaningful, individuals must respond to the demands of daily life in ways that match the values of society or their own conscience.
6. Individuals Are Unique
Frankl believed that every individual is unique and irreplaceable.
Logotherapy in Practice
Frankl believed that it was possible to turn suffering into achievement and accomplishment. He viewed guilt as an opportunity to change oneself for the better, and life transitions as the chance to take responsible action.
In this way, this psychotherapy was aimed at helping people to make better use of their "spiritual" resources to withstand adversity. In his books, he often used his own personal experiences to explain concepts to the reader.
Three techniques used in logotherapy include dereflection, paradoxical intention, and Socratic dialogue.
Dereflection: Dereflection is aimed at helping someone focus away from themselves and toward other people so that they can become whole and spend less time being self-absorbed about a problem or how to reach a goal.
Paradoxical intention: Paradoxical intention is a technique that has the person wish for the thing that is feared most. This was suggested for use in the case of anxiety or phobias, in which humor and ridicule can be used when fear is paralyzing. For example, a person with a fear of looking foolish might be encouraged to try to look foolish on purpose. Paradoxically, the fear would be removed when the intention involved the thing that was feared most.
Socratic dialogue: Socratic dialogue would be used in logotherapy as a tool to help a patient through the process of self-discovery through his or her own words. In this way, the therapist would point out patterns of words and help the client to see the meaning in them. This process is believed to help the client realize an answer that is waiting to be discovered.
It's easy to see how some of the techniques of logotherapy overlap with newer forms of treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). In this way, logotherapy may be a complementary approach for these behavior and thought-based treatments.
An anthropologist who was studying a tribe in South Africa put down a basket full of fresh sweet strawberries and promised to give all the fruit to the first child who got to the basket. That was translated and told to the kids. However the kids held hands and started running together. They were happy to arrive at the basket and share the fruit together.
The anthropologist was curious so he asked the kids, "I told you all that I was going to give one first place person all the fruit so why did you all hold hands and run together?" Then from one little child's lips shot out the word, "Ubuntu." If all others are sad how can one person be happy?
Ubuntu. I could use more of this today and the day after that.
More: behaving well towards others & acting in ways that benefit the community.
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4: 12)
When Jaycee, my first child was born, I remember the deep want I had to try and be a "Great Parent". I didn't have a clue how to do it or what to do. What I quickly realized was the new position of parent was not a Noun but instead a Verb. This landed for me one night in particular when I learned the hard way. In a feeble attempt to "be" a great parent I volunteered to do one of the middle of the night feedings. On this occasion I had the bottle prepped with my sweet infant girl in a bassinet rocker next to my bed. I became delighted when I discovered in my middle of the night grogginess how well it worked to just passively hold my outstretched arm over the bed with the bottle in hand, it was a perfect distance to her mouth and most importantly it allowed me to fall back to sleep. What I quickly discovered as my wife woke me from my clever bonus sleep was that about 50% of the bottle contents were being consumed by the intended target and the rest spread evenly throughout the bassinet.
Being a "Great Parent" requires an embracing of verbs. I had to get a mitt and get in the game and begin to embrace and do the active actions that were required to raise my child.
Similarly, in my work life embracing my verbs forces me to think outside of what's coming in my direction, verbs are the things in terms of what I am supposed to do. What am I actively doing to accomplish the intended goal?
Thinking in terms of verbs can be useful to re-frame personal purpose from static Nouns to what actions will I take Verbs.
Embrace fun and innovation, initiate challenges, and pursue curiosity.
Uplift others through influence, education, and engagement.
Put empathy into action.
Lead with integrity, promote gratitude, and never stop learning.
Do all that I can, the best that I can.
When you compete on price your margins eventually get small, when you compete on purpose more than price your margins grow.
Connect to the heart of your customer. The heart of the customer is the battle ground - if you win their heart, you win! In other words win their heart to grow your Brand Loyalty.
To say I am a "big fan" of sports movies would be an understatement!
At the top of my list is the 2004 movie, Miracle, a story about the 1980 U.S. Olympic Men's Hockey Team that beat the odds and won the gold medal. In the movie legendary coach, Herb Brooks gifts to us one of the often-quoted lines in my house, "Legs feed the Wolf". Coach Brooks tells his team, "We may not be the best team out there, but we will be the BEST conditioned team." His hockey players would not win on talent alone - instead, they would win by working harder than everyone else, being better conditioned than everyone else, and playing together and achieving the kind of synergy where 1+1 = more than 2.
"The legs feed the wolf, gentlemen." What does this mean?
Let's guess at it - What do wolves do to eat? They hunt in packs - there is no such thing as a "lone wolf" who can survive in the wilderness. Wolves live together, hunt together, and eat together. How does a pack of wolves hunt? They typically chase their prey until for miles and miles until their prey tires out and drops to the ground out of fatigue. The wolves outlast their prey. They don't have to be faster to win - they just have to be able to run farther and longer than the animals that they hunt. Strong legs can run farther than weak legs, so it is indeed the legs that feed the wolf.
For me, it reminds me to be sure to do these 3 things:
- Be in a Wolf Pack you want to hunt with.
- Condition to run further and longer.
- When one wolf "tires" bring back provisions to sustain them because the pack needs each other, and when I "tire" accept the sustenance to be able to re-join the pack.
"my whole life I've been doing meaningful things and I am tired of it." - said No One Ever
It's in me to want to have some purposeful meaning in life, and chances are it is in you as well.
"The point of purpose is to determine how you will serve others. If you don't plan to serve you don't need a purpose." - Cheryl Bachelder
A starting point for purpose is perhaps answering - "who am I here for?"
Or for an organization "who are we here for?"
For me on this day, I want to pay closer attention to what stirs my heart to help clearly answer the question "who am I here for?"
because perhaps - If I can devote to something more than myself, ultimately I may have something more than myself to show for it.
People want to know what to do but they often don't until somebody models it.
During WWII when the Nazi planes would bomb London, Winston Churchill would not go to the shelter, instead he would go to the roof with his revolver and fire at the planes. Now, he wasn't stupid enough to think he was going to bring down the plane - he was taking symbolic action.
Daring to act, even symbolic action can be essential. There are times as leaders we have to show there is no fear. Become the symbol of what you want your people to do - More is caught than is taught.
Its about taking the time to just be. Realigning yourself with nature. Practicing patience. It's a chance to center your thoughts.
I don't fish. But, to the same end - I do take aimless rides on my slow - patience inducing, retro-cool, 50cc Honda Metropolitan Scooter, named "where'd justin go?"
What's the fishing activity in your daily routine?
you're not alone in this. I see you. I hear you. I feel your pain. I was reminded recently how important and powerful this can be. In whatever way possible let's find someone to show up for.
As author and "doer" Bob Goff models it for us - "Be available. Take it from a guy who had the audacity to put his cell number in the back of his book: there's a huge power in just being present, being available, to those around you. What if you took time for the people in your life? What if you made some audacious plans to rock their lives? Try it and see what happens!"
"Try not to suck' became the mantra for the 2016 Chicago Cubs.
Joe Maddon, fmr. Manager Chicago Cubs put it in these terms for his team - "put the ball in play and pressure the defense to not flub it. And then turn those tables when taking the field: coach drilled down on his ball clubs to make those very defensive plays, so as to not give the opponent a chance to capitalize due by mucking it up on “D.”
See where this is going, Bueller? Convert that routine play, and you’re more than halfway there. In other words, simply try not to suck.
I heard an interesting phrase recently: “Is the juice worth the squeeze". It caught my attention because it could mean so many things. The context in which it was used was attempting to determine if trying to achieve a goal would be worth the effort. Said another way, would the reward outweigh the risk?
Mistakes – Big or small, we all make them; what matters are the lessons we learn. When given the opportunity to measure options, make choices that will make you proud.
At the end of the day, you have to decide if the juice was worth the squeeze.
1% Better Everyday
A concept made famous by British cycling coach Dave Brailsford, who lead the British cycling team to 10 gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, He decided that he and his team would focus on improving every aspect of performance and these aggregations would add up. Prior to this, the team had not managed any significant wins.
Brailsford believed that victory at the Olympics would be achieved by focusing on a 1% margin for improvement in everything they did. He decided that he and his team would focus on improving every aspect of performance and these aggregations would add up. Examples of seemingly insignificant things they focused on, included:
"We searched for small improvements everywhere and found countless opportunities. Taken together, we felt they gave us a competitive advantage." (Source)
He believed that if you improved every area related to cycling by just 1%, those small gains would add up to remarkable improvement.
"It’s not hard to make decisions once you know what your values are". - Roy Disney
What are your core values? Are you living your life in relation to the things that are really important to you?
Understanding our values and the things that are truly important helps keep balance in our lives. If we are forced to do something that does not fit with our values then we feel uncomfortable, unhappy or stressed.
What is that for you? What do you want to be known for?
Who do you want to be?
if you have a dream but not a team. You either have to give up the dream or build up the team.
Embracing challenging circumstance can be a gift.
#1 Go Headfirst. Literally, Headfirst. Start with a shift in the six inches between your ears. Adapt your thinking towards what's possible, what can be done at the moment?
#2 Resist the urge to feel stuck.
- Name it. whats the challenge? What's at stake?
- Own it. Admit that its here and that it matters.
- Use it. Find a subtle joy in the discovery of opportunities that are unveiled.
In football terms, as a called play breaks down - it becomes a 'scramble drill', in a scramble drill the focus instantaneously shifts to breaking free, buying enough time until the qb can find another option.