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How Important is Your Attitude

  • Broadcast in Business



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The law of averages determines the long-term inevitability of things, i.e., it establishes odds. However, when it comes to the human experience, there's an important additional factor to consider. Human beings, unlike any other species, are much more than just conscious creatures. Human beings can plot, plan, conceptualize, and even will things to happen. Unlike the flipping of a coin, human beings have the capacity to alter events.

I thought about James's quote when I read Viktor Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning. Frankl was a world-renowned Austrian psychiatrist who followed in the footsteps of fellow Austrians Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler. The most remarkable thing about Viktor Frankl was that the majority of his remarkable accomplishments in the field of psychiatry came after he had spent three horrifying years in Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Dachau.

He recounted how the Nazis tormented him, beating him and hitting him on the back of the head with rifle butts, and what it was like to see friends and relatives stuffed into gas chambers or buried alive. Then, at the end of each brutal, agonizing day, sick from the pangs of starvation, he and his fellow prisoners would be given a cup of watered-down soup, with a single pea at the bottom of the cup, as their daily ration. He told of even having to sleep in his own excrement.

Make no mistake about it, Viktor Frankl's positive attitude didn't guarantee his survival in Auschwitz and Dachau, but it did guarantee that his odds would be much better than if his mind had been negative regarding the possibility of survival.

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