Literary Birthday – 26 March – Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl was born 26 March 1905, and died 2 September 1997.

Seven Quotes

  1. When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
  2. Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognise that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.
  3. But there was no need to be ashamed of tears. For tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.
  4. An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behaviour.
  5. 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 of it.
  6. Man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life.
  7. What is to give light must endure burning.

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust. Frankl founded logotherapy, a form of existential analysis. His best-selling book Man’s Search for Meaning chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate and how he was able to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence.

Source for Image: Prof. Dr. Franz Vesely, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 26th March 2014