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59 Viktor Frankl Quotes (THE SEARCH FOR MEANING)

7 of the Most Inspiring Viktor E. Frankl Quotes of All Time

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Viktor E. Frankl
Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.
Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.
When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves.
When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing - the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing – the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.
In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.
Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality.
Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality.
For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.
For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.

20 Viktor E. Frankl Quotes on The Meaning of Life

Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.”

Viktor E. Frankl
Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning.
Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning.
The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her own life.
The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her own life.
No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him.
No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him.
Faith is trust in ultimate meaning.
Faith is trust in ultimate meaning.
Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.
Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.
Even a genius cannot completely resist his Zeitgeist, the spirit of his time.
Even a genius cannot completely resist his Zeitgeist, the spirit of his time.

For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”

Viktor E. Frankl
Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.
Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.
Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked.
Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked.
Challenging the meaning of life is the truest expression of the state of being human.
Challenging the meaning of life is the truest expression of the state of being human.
Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.
Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.
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.
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.
I recommend that the Statue of Liberty be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast.
I recommend that the Statue of Liberty be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast.
Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.
Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.
Religion is the search for ultimate meaning.
Religion is the search for ultimate meaning.

If you call ‘religious’ a man who believes in what I call a Supermeaning, a meaning so comprehensive that you can no longer grasp it, get hold of it in rational intellectual terminology, then one should feel free to call me religious, really.”

Viktor E. Frankl
The point is not what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us.
The point is not what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us.
There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one’s life.
There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one’s life.
No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.
No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.

21 Viktor E. Frankl Quotes on Success & Purpose in Life

View life as a series of movie frames, the ending and meaning may not be apparent until the very end of the movie, and yet, each of the hundreds of individual frames has meaning within the context of the whole movie.”

Viktor E. Frankl
The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while mastering the art of living.
The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while mastering the art of living.
You don’t create your mission in life – you detect it.
You don’t create your mission in life – you detect it.
We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: 1. by doing a deed; 2. by experiencing a value; and 3. by suffering.
We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: 1. by doing a deed; 2. by experiencing a value; and 3. by suffering.
Decisions, not conditions, determine what a man is.
Decisions, not conditions, determine what a man is.
Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.
Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.
Success is total self-acceptance.
Success is total self-acceptance.
Every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.
Every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.

For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement.”

Victor E. Frankl
The more one forgets himself – by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love – the more human he is.
The more one forgets himself – by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love – the more human he is.
The quest for meaning is the key to mental health and human flourishing.
The quest for meaning is the key to mental health and human flourishing.
Even when it is not fully attained, we become better by striving for a higher goal.
Even when it is not fully attained, we become better by striving for a higher goal.
God is the partner of your most intimate soliloquies.
God is the partner of your most intimate soliloquies.
Each of us carries a unique spark of the divine, and each of us is also an inseparable part of the web of life.
Each of us carries a unique spark of the divine, and each of us is also an inseparable part of the web of life.

A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the ‘why’ for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any ‘how.’

Viktor E. Frankl
Pain is only bearable if we know it will end, not if we deny it exists.
Pain is only bearable if we know it will end, not if we deny it exists.
Humor was another of the soul’s weapons in the fight for self-preservation.
Humor was another of the soul’s weapons in the fight for self-preservation.
When a man cannot find meaning, he numbs himself with pleasure.
When a man cannot find meaning, he numbs himself with pleasure.
An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.
An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.
Man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate.
Man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate.
What is to give light must endure burning.
What is to give light must endure burning.

11 Victor E. Frankl Quotes on Pain, Suffering & Life in Auschwitz

When I was taken to the concentration camp of Auschwitz, a manuscript of mine ready for publication was confiscated. Certainly, my deep desire to write this manuscript anew helped me to survive the rigors of the camps I was in.”

Victor E. Frankl
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.
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.
To suffer unnecessarily is masochistic rather than heroic.
To suffer unnecessarily is masochistic rather than heroic.
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.
At such a moment, it is not the physical pain which hurts the most; it is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all.
At such a moment, it is not the physical pain which hurts the most; it is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all.

As for the concept of collective guilt, I personally think that it is totally unjustified to hold one person responsible for the behavior of another person or a collective of persons.”

Viktor E. Frankl
Despair is suffering without meaning.
Despair is suffering without meaning.
I do the unpleasant tasks before I do the pleasant ones.
I do the unpleasant tasks before I do the pleasant ones.
Since Auschwitz, we know what man is capable of. And since Hiroshima, we know what is at stake.
Since Auschwitz, we know what man is capable of. And since Hiroshima, we know what is at stake.
When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer… his unique opportunity lies in the way he bears his burden.
When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer… his unique opportunity lies in the way he bears his burden.

It is here that we encounter the central theme of existentialism: to live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering.”

Viktor E. Frankl

Viktor Frankl Short Biography

A holocaust survivor who survived four concentration camps: Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Kaufering, and Türkheim during WWII, Viktor Emil Frankl is the founder of logotherapy (Healing Through Meaning) and the author of the best-selling classic memoir: Man’s Search for Meaning (1946).

Born on 26 March 1905 in Vienna, Austria, Viktor E. Frankl was a renowned Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist who dedicated much of his life to helping individuals search for meaning through the psychological approach known as logotherapy.

Logotherapy is widely recognized as the “third school” of Viennese psychotherapy, after the “first school” of Sigmund Freud and the “second school” of Alfred Adler. 

Viktor Frankl spent three long dreadful years (from 1942 to 1945) in the horrendous, unlivable nazi concentration camps.

Despite the gruesome experience of Auschwitz, it taught Frankl the main purpose of life: the quest for meaning.

As Frankl witnessed the brutality and terror unfold around him, he observed that those who had some meanings in their lives were much more likely to survive.

Further reading:

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.”

Viktor E. Frankl

Here are the best Viktor Frankl quotes so you can be inspired to search for meaning and live life to the fullest.

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Viktor-Frankl-Quotes-on-Suffering-The-Meaning-of-Life-Gracious-Quotes

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