Meaning > happiness

In September 1942, prominent Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist Viktor Frankl was arrested in Vienna and taken to a concentration camp. For three years, Frankl worked as a therapist for the other prisoners. During that time, he learned this about life: Meaning is more important than happiness.

Shortly after liberation, Frankl penned Man's Search for Meaning. In it, he tells the story of two men who came to him, hopeless, feeling they had nothing to live for. Frankl reminded one man of his young child and the other of the series of books he'd yet to finish writing. We often think life is all about happiness.

There was no happiness in the Nazi concentration camp, but there was still meaning.

Frankl wrote: "A man who knows the 'why' for his existence will be able to bear almost any 'how.'"

A recent study examined the attitudes of 400 Americans on meaning and happiness. The psychologists found that leading a happy life is associated with being a "taker" while a meaningful life means you're a "giver".

Frankl put it this way: "The more one forgets himself — by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love — the more human he is.

"Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose."

Source: Morning Smile by

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