“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” — Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl, Nelson Mandela, and the Stoics followed similar principles. In essence, they all considered that we don’t control what happens and can choose how to respond.
The Stoics sought to remind us how unpredictable the world is and developed ideas to prepare for it.
Nelson Mandela disciplined himself to not allow outside events to control his behavior. He used reflective thinking, contemplation, and meditation to sharpen his mind and train himself to keep his cool and wit.
Viktor Frankl focused on meaning. To survive four concentration camps he had decided that rather than feeling trapped or to react to his external environment he could use exercise his freedom. He considered the freedom to control his inner life the most important freedom he had. He used this freedom to decide how to respond to external conditions.
Frankl described meaning as the idea of the person of what he ought to be and being as what the person is. It naturally establishes a tension between being and meaning. A possible result being that suffering could come to dominate meaning.
Instead of reducing suffering Frankl suggested finding a way to endure suffering. The will to meaning was his answer. He described it as basic to the human being and as opposed to the will to pleasure and the will to power.
He developed Logotherapy based on these three basic assumptions (the will to meaning, the meaning of suffering and the freedom of will).
To find meaning Frankl describes 3 types of values: Creativity, Attitudinal, and Experiential.
Creativity is linked to doing the work.
The experiential value relates to finding meaning in experiencing something without doing anything. May it be to experience nature, truth, the connection with others or the uniqueness of another person.
The third value, attitudinal, is related to dealing with a given situation. If there is no possibility in a given situation or crisis to fulfill the meaning of a situation by giving oneself to the experience or if there is no possibility to do your work, there is a potential to fulfill the deepest meaning by your approach to the given situation.
Choose your attitude.