In the book, Frankl argues that the search for meaning is a fundamental human motivation and that finding meaning in one’s life can provide a sense of purpose and hope, even in the face of extreme suffering and adversity. He developed his theory of meaning-seeking, called logotherapy, as a way to help people find meaning and purpose in their lives and to cope with suffering and adversity.
Frankl suggests that people can find meaning in their lives through three primary sources: their own personal experiences and relationships, their work and their values, and their attitude toward suffering and adversity. He also argues that people have the ability to choose their own attitude and response to suffering and adversity, and that this can be a source of meaning and hope.
“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, to choose one’s own way.”
“So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”
“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”