Fulfillment and Identity: Search for meaning by Howard Fischer (Director, DNL)

YOLO!  You only live once!  Nothing lasts forever. So live it up, drink it down, laugh it off, party hard, avoid the drama, take chances, live for the moment and never have regrets, because at one point everything you did was exactly what you wanted… this quotation, attributed by some to Marilyn Monroe, is the mantra of advice given to young people.

But, does it answer the vacuum that exists in most of our hearts?

Freud, Adler and Frankl

Sigmund Freud said that the number one drive in humanity is the will to pleasure.  He claims that the vacuum inside of people only exists because they withhold certain pleasures from themselves.  His claim is that the Judeo Christian worldview restricts people from this primary drive, and thus, they live unfulfilled lives.  Fulfillment will only come when we give ourselves to every pleasure we can imagine!  It is only in the surrender to pleasure that we find our true selves.

Alfred Adler on the other hand says that humanity is driven by the will to power, and that our neurosis and psychosis exist because we need to be free to be ourselves and to make our own decisions in every circumstance.  We must dominate, or we will never be fulfilled.  Fulfillment will only come when we live as we wish; by our own credo and our own rules; deciding for ourselves what is right and what is wrong!  We find our true selves, when we live as we choose!

Viktor Frankl, a survivor of Auchwitz, considered both these strands of psychology and used his prisoner of war camp experience as a test case.  Everyone was stripped naked, yet pleasure was furthest from their minds.  Power was only demonstrated by the prison guards over prisoners, and the prisoners bound together to survive.  There was neither the will to pleasure, nor the will to power!

Frankl determined that both Freud and Adler were found to answer the HOW question of life, and it proved insufficient in the prison camps.

Frankl developed his logotherapy in this moment, the will to meaning.  He proposed that when man found the WHY for living, he could endure any HOW.

John Maxwell says that Purpose puts steel in the backbone of discipline.  You are able to endure the tough disciplines it takes to succeed in life when you know why you are doing it.  It is only with a clear vision, and a clear hope for the future, that you will put in the effort and discipline yourself in education, art, sport, relationships and vocation.

You must have the end in sight, then you will be able to live with discipline!

When you answer the WHY question of life, you will better answer the HOW!