Today I'm going to give you a reading assignment. You may have already read it, as I have-if so, reread it to get the salient points, as I am going to do today. The book I want you to read is called "Man's Search for Meaning," by a man named Victor Frankl. Of all the books I have read throughout my life (and trust me-I read a LOT), it is the book that has affected me the most, the one piece of literature that I truly credit as changing my view of life, pain, and suffering. OK..now that I'm thinking about it, I did promise that nothing I would have you (and I) do for these 30 days would be too difficult, so as not to discourage you. Not that reading a book is THAT difficult, but some of you might not have the time to finish a whole book (even a short one like this one). For you lazy bastards, go to Wikipedia and read up on logotherapy. Surely you can do that much-it's only a page. Just try to grasp the basic theory of logotherapy, even if you do nothing else.
For those of you who are completely in the dark about Viktor Frankl and his theories, he was a psychiatrist who was imprisoned during the Holocaust. His entire family was killed, everything was taken from him, and he had no reason to live. Instead of giving up hope, he used the opportunity (!-talk about turning lemons into lemonade!) to develop a theory about how people react to suffering. He stated that the search for meaning is the ultimate driving force in all of our lives, and that if we can find meaning in our pain, we can survive anything. This is the basic premise of logotherapy. In a nutshell, here are the three principles of logotherapy (btw, I swiped this straight from wikipedia, because it was boiled down so well):
Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones. Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life. We have freedom to find meaning in what we do, and what we experience, or at least in the stand we take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering. Seriously, you want to read this book. You might not have time this week or this month, but make it a priority to read it at some point. It will change your sense of perspective forever.