“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
I recently read a book by Viktor Frankl, “Man’s search for meaning” (An excellent book worth seeking out). In this book he describes his experiences of being in the Nazi concentration camps during World War 2. He recounts the utterly horrific and inhumane conditions they had to endure throughout their time there. However, within this he describes how humanity survived within the camp through simple acts of kindness and an appreciation of nature.
Frankl then went on to talk about the survivors. What was it that gave them the strength to survive such torturous conditions? How come they came through it when the vast majority did not? He identified the fact they all had a ‘why’ to stay alive for.
Whether it was a family that was waiting for them or some scientific research that they needed to share with the world. The fact they had a ‘why’ in their life, a reason they were here, gave them an inner strength to endure their simply grotesque experiences and survive until the liberation of the camps.
Following his experiences, Viktor Frankl believed so strongly in his theory he developed a whole new method of psychoanalysis which helped people find their ‘whys’, Logotherapy. He saw that people can survive even the most monstrous circumstances when they have a meaning or a ‘why.’ It provides an inner strength that allows you to work through anything.
This is probably the most extreme example possible, however it only underlines the power of knowing your meaning. If you can search yourself and ask why, you may find that inner core that is driving you in what you do. Find that and all the challenges that arise from being in business will seem just that bit easier.
Throughout my career to date I have faced many things that I have found difficult. There have been times when I have embraced these challenges, others when I haven’t felt I had the strength. Many people in business find that they face huge challenges on a weekly or daily basis, things to get over in order to keep moving forward. Whether that is facing an extremely unhappy major client to iron out some issues or making that sale you need so desperately.
Sometimes the strength to work through these times seems to not be there. If you could only just feel more powerful or it wasn’t so scary, you could deal with it, right? I know that’s how I feel sometimes.
Through examining your life, your circumstances, values and beliefs you can discover your ‘why’. This act will give you a focus, an inner strength and a foundation from which you can cope with almost anything in your life. This has been proven in the most extreme environments ever created by man.