Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning has profoundly impacted my life in so many ways. I refer to it often when I need some extra help finding bravery.
That’s why I was so stoked to recently listen to an interview with the author, Haddon Klingberg. Mr. Klingberg wrote a profound biography of Viktor and Elly Frankl called, “When Life Calls Out To Us”.
The author shared why Frankl’s book has so much resonance, even 70 years later. It largely revolves around the stubborn conviction that human beings can rise above unavoidable suffering and circumstances. We can’t do it perfectly, but we can do it.
Rising above isn’t defined by the glossy version of heroes from comic books or movies. It doesn’t mean getting our way or winning the prize that we feel we deserve. Rising above doesn’t even mean getting justice in our times.
Rising above means that when life calls out to us we will choose the one thing that will always be ours to own.
The choice of becoming a better version of ourselves; of choosing to have our humanity be defined by something more than self centred goals. To choose generosity, forgiveness and grace when it is still ours to choose.
Professor Klingburg’s project took eight years to complete. It involved hundreds of hours of taped conversations with the Frankls.
Underneath it all, the author felt that the most deeply grounded part of Dr. Frankl was his deep faith that helped him to remember there was something greater than this experience.
I was mesmerized listening to him recount his relationship with Viktor and Elly Frankl. My imagination was captured by the profound message of their life’s work that was retold in his book.
After the interview was over, I jumped online. I was going to order this book now!
I couldn’t find a copy of the book anywhere for less than about $60 used. No ebooks. No audio books.
Okay, no big deal. I can get it at the library.
I signed in to the Toronto Library site and typed in “When Life Calls Out to Us.”
I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw the list on the screen. There were 6 copies available and I could place a hold for my copy.
My place in the line? Number 54.
I sighed. At that rate, I should be able to borrow the book, “When Life Calls Out To Us” by the time I am as old as Mr. Frankl himself when he breathed his last.
Why do I and so many others want to have the chance to read this largely unknown little gem? Perhaps it’s less about curiosity and more about something that pulls on the inside of all of us:
The need to know that we are not alone in this struggle towards finding meaning and fulfillment in what we are putting our hands to every day.
Life calls out to all of us from time to time.
But will we listen?
I have been doing more interviews for the Finding Bravery podcast and my guest hit list is getting longer. There are so many amazing people among us who have found the bravery they needed to do that which life was calling them to.
But to say that and allow the truth to end there would leave us incomplete in the journey.
Yes, bravery can be found in the split second decisions of our lives (as you will find in Kristina’s story which is coming out this week) but it is more often found in something much more difficult to pinpoint. I have been discovering so much more as I have embarked on this little adventure with learning the stories of others. I am learning about how bravery has a consistency about it that can be found the we look below the surface.
Bravery is found in the daily, moment by moment decisions we all need to make – when life calls out to each of us.
Speaking up for yourself
Choosing to speak up for someone else
Deciding to take a step towards where your heart is leading you
Telling someone you love them
Choosing to believe in something more for your life
Letting the past stay in the past
Finally dealing with a conversation you know you have needed to have
Putting pen to paper to express what’s inside
Putting yourself out there by doing something new
Choosing to learn something today for the sheer thrill of it
Choosing gratefulness when you don’t feel like it
Standing up for your faith and convictions
Getting strategic and focused on what you know you need to do in life
Over the next little while, here on the blog, we will be looking at how we can use the stories we are telling to build something bigger than what we initially see, feel, or experience. By asking questions about your own story and what it means, you will uncover something far more valuable than a simple narrative.
You will uncover why that story is important for you and the world you are a part of creating. You can find your why if you are willing to ask some bigger questions.
“He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.” Nietzsche
Perhaps life is calling out to you today. Do you hear it? It might be calling you to be a better version of you than you were yesterday. Maybe it’s calling you to get brave and consider what your story, ideas, talents or skills can mean to the world on many different levels.
It might even be calling you to dream again of the beauty and meaning you can add to our world.
You have a place to fill here. Understanding it changes how you see your story and gives you the bravery to be a part of something bigger than what you see right now.
What do you see and hear as life calls out to you?