Without purpose, life can be tinged with futility and emptiness.
Viktor Frankl saw this manifest in “giveupitis” amongst his patients and fellow inmates.
I’d like you to meet Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust Survivor and bestselling author of “Man’s Search for Meaning”. In this marvelous book of his, he recounts his ordeal in a Nazi Concentration Camp and what kept him alive.
On 19 October 1944, Frankl was stripped of all his worldly possessions and dignity, and spent the next four years in Nazi Concentration Camps during World War II. Shortly after, his entire family (father, mother and his wife) perished in camps or were sent to the gas ovens.
How could Frankl – every possession lost, every value destroyed, suffered from hunger, cold and brutality, hourly expecting extermination – could find his life worth living?
Frankl, as well as other inmates who survived the illness and mistreatment, almost always had a deeper purpose in their lives. In Victor’s own case, he was determined to survive to be reunited with his wife, the love of this life (he wasn’t aware of his wife’s death then).
With this PURPOSE in heart, this drove him to dig frozen earth, endure countless beatings and fight off the scourges of malnutrition and tetanus for four years.
On the other hand, Frankl also watched fellow inmates who succumb to what he called “giveupitis”. One day, they would simply lie in bed and refuse to get up, ignoring beatings and abuse from the guard.
At this point, Frankl sadly noted that they had given up their reason for living and their death usually came within a day or two. Without purpose they had no reason to go on.
Frankl’s groundbreaking work has huge significance
Without purpose, life can be tinged with futility and emptiness. Frankl saw this manifest in “giveupitis” amongst his patients and fellow inmates.
Today this lack of meaning can lead to a lack of motivation, energy and excitement. It can hold back from chasing your goals and keep you stuck in the ordinary.