When you have a Meaning in your Life, You can overcome even the most atrocious challenges

Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz, wrote a book that is commonly known as "Man's Search for Meaning". In his book he concludes that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living; life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death. Frankl observed that those inmates who had something meaningful to do upon their release from the concentration camp, such as a teacher returning to his students or a physician taking care of his patients, or someone waiting for their return back home, such as children or a spouse, had a much higher chance of survival than those without any meaningful life back home. Knowing that someone was depending on their return gave inmates the strength to deal with even the worst atrocities imaginable. Frankl himself, in part, survived Auschwitz because he had a loving wife and family who were waiting for him as well as a profession that he loved. He imagined sharing his experiences in the concentration camp with his students at the university in Vienna where he taught and lived.

I quite frequently meet people who, despite facing most challenging times, continue to focus on experiences that give them joy and happiness, such as travel or spending time with their grandchildren.

When my world collapsed around me a couple of years ago: within just a few months I lost my father, my multimillion dollar business collapsed, my girlfriend told me that there won't be a future for us and finally I was told by my doctors that my cancer treatment over twenty years ago, had caused some damage to my heart which I eventually would have to tackle head-on by undergoing surgery, I started to think that this downward spiral would never end and that I would eventually end up on the streets. Despite all the stresses that I was exposed to, somehow I focused on the moments in the future where I could share my experiences with my future family as well as the rest of the world. I envisioned how I would be able to help other people overcome their challenges better and faster through my work: blog, videos, seminars, books and lectures. The focusing on my future, better, life, helped me to step outside of my current situation and gain some distance. With the distance came clarity and focus. The more I was able to separate myself from the collapsing world around me, the more I was able to relax and focus on the life that I wanted for myself in the future. Gradually, with each passing month and with each small success in my life,  my self esteem got stronger and stronger so that I eventually dared to dream big again. Big as in retiring by 45 where I only work because I would want to work and that my work would revolve around travel and people and that it would pay me handsomely. Well, today, just a relatively shot period of time after my financial collapse I may say that I am well into my way of achieving exactly that.

There is no secret to my successes and achievements – if I can do so, I am convinced that you can do so, too. Find something in your life that "turns you on", that makes you happy and that makes you feel wanted and fulfilled. For me this is traveling the world and interacting with people – what would it be for you?

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