“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.” – Viktor Frankl
This is my quote of the week.
It originates from Viktor Frankl who is the author of Man’s Search For Meaning. The book details the author’s experience in a Nazi concentration camp. A short read, it is nothing short of profound. The author discovers that everything can be taken away from a man. Food, clothing, shelter, even his life. What can not be taken, however, is the choice of how a man responds to a situation. That is not to say that we should deny ourselves the recognition of a situation as it exists. Frankl recognized how bad life was in the concentration camp. He also recognized that he could choose how he responded to the camp. That attitude, if you will, is what allowed him to survive.
Frankl, through an experience that we would never wish on another human being was able to recognize a very important fact. How we respond to a situation is more important than the situation itself. He also recognized that we have the power to choose our response to a situation regardless of the circumstances surrounding it. Between stimulus and response is the power to choose.
It’s also the basis the for a lot of the get rich quick self help books out there. Skip the junk and check out the real thing. You’ll be glad you did.
Man’s Search for Meaning PDF
As you may have already gathered I’m a big fan of Stoicism. One of the main stoics, Marcus Aurelius had a fantastic outlook on life. We are fortunate that he shared that outlook in Mediations even though he never intended it for mass consumption. Here’s a little something to think about this week.
“If it is not right do not do it; If it is not true do not say it”
Valentines Day is an interesting day. Originally the day was, of course, named after St. Valentine who is believed to have been imprisoned, tortured, and martyred some time around 14 February 273. So, of course, this directly relates to our need to go out and buy overpriced chocolate, cut flowers flown in on a jumbo jet from South America, and $7 Hallmark cards destined for an enormous pile of trash we refer to as a “landfill.” Perfectly logical…
Instead, I’ve been holding on to a quote from Og Mandino that does a much better job of summing up the message I’d prefer to convey to my children. It’s a message that I believe is better for them and for the world we live in. Here’s the quote of the week:
“Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were an hour old I would die for you. To my child, this is the miracle of life… you are the miracle.” – Og Mandino
Admiral William McRaven gave a fantastic graduation speech to the University of Texas in 2014. During the speech he talks about making your bed. It’s inspirational on many levels. After seeing the speech on YouTube my wife and I began making our bed every morning. It does have a positive effect. We decided that it would for our children too and I showed them the speech about two weeks ago. We asked them to begin making their beds as well. It hasn’t been perfect but, so far, it’s working out well. We don’t require perfection from them in the task just an honest effort. The quote of the week is from Admiral McRaven:
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day that one task completed will turn into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce that little things in life matter”
Sometime around the middle of last November I began thinking about how my children are effected by the continual external influence they get from media, advertising, and people who do not have their best interests in mind. Children are always learning and sometimes they need a helping hand in the right direction. I realized that although my wife and I attempt to lead by example it would be helpful if we could do more.
Enter the quote of the week. After years of reading I had some favorite quotes that I had gathered from books, the interweb, and other sources. They sat dusty, hidden, and unloved in the bowels of my Mac. What my wife and I have been doing is printing out a quote each week and posting it on the refrigerator. Each Sunday we make up a new one. We try to choose a guiding principle or something relevant to a current event in the external world or within our family. I ask one of the kids to read it and then each day during the week we spend just a couple minutes focusing on it and how it applied during the day.
As an example here’s the quote hanging on my refrigerator as I type:
“The first requisite for success is the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary.” – Thomas Edison
I already have next weeks quote formatted and ready to go for next Sunday. The kids are getting into it and get a kick out of seeing the new nugget of wisdom each Sunday.
Do you have any favorite quotes? Lets hear them!