Victor Frankl Quotes:

“The essentially self-transcendent quality of human existence renders man a being reaching out beyond himself.”

“When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.”

“What is to give light must endure burning.”

“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.”

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

“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 than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”

“No one can take away my freedom to choose how I will react.”

“Man’s search for meaning is the chief motivation of his life.”

“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, 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.”

“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.”

“What you have experienced, no power on earth can take from you.”

“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”

“The meaning of my life is to help others find meaning in theirs.”

“The salvation of man is through love and in love.”

“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”

“Decisions, not conditions, determine what a man is.”

“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.”

“In times of crisis, people reach for meaning. Meaning is strength. Our survival may depend on our seeking and finding it.”

“If we take a man as he is, we make him worse, but if we take man as he should be we make him capable of becoming what he can be.”

“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked.”

“The quest for meaning is the key to mental health and human flourishing.”

“The point is not what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us.”

“Man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life.”

“Love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire.”

“Self-actualization cannot be attained if it is made an end in itself, but only as a side effect of self-transcendence.”

“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”.”

“There are two races of men in this world but only these two: the race of the decent man and the race of the indecent man.”

“I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run- in the long run, I say! – success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.”

“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.”

“The last of human freedoms – the ability to chose one’s attitude especially an attitude of gratitude in a given set of circumstances especially in difficult circumstances.”

“When man can’t find meaning in his life, he distracts himself with pleasure.”

“I recommend that the Statue of Liberty be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast.”

“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.”

“No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.”

“For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.”

“Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a “secondary rationalization” of instinctual drives. This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone; only then does it achieve a significance which will satisfy his own will to meaning.”

“It is not freedom from conditions, but it is freedom to take a stand toward the conditions.”

“At any moment, man must decide, for better or for worse, what will be the monument of his existence.”

“Even when it is not fully attained, we become better by striving for a higher goal.”

“You don’t create your mission in life – you detect it.”

“The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”

“Happiness cannot be attained by wanting to be happy – it must come as the unintended consequence of working for a goal greater than oneself.”

“Every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.”

“Just as a small fire is extinguished by the storm whereas a large fire is enhanced by it – likewise a weak faith is weakened by predicament and catastrophes whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them.”

“What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.”

“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features.”

“A human being is a deciding being.”

“Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.”

“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.”

“Either belief in God is unconditional or it is no belief at all.”

“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.” “The more one forgets one’s own self, the more human the person becomes.”

“Set me like a seal upon thy heart, love is as strong as death.”

“It is the pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.”

“As the struggle for survival has subsided, the question has emerged: survival for what? Ever more people have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.”

“The more one forgives himself – by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love – the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself.”

“I do the unpleasant tasks before I do the pleasant ones.”

“I would say that our patients never really despair because of any suffering in itself! Instead, their despair stems in each instance from a doubt as to whether suffering is meaningful. Man is ready and willing to shoulder any suffering as soon and as long as he can see a meaning in it.”

“Our main motivation for living is our will to find meaning in life.”

“Man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate.”

“Man can only find meaning for his existence in something outside himself.”

Everywhere man is confronted with fate, with a chance of achieving something through his own suffering.”

“Challenging the meaning of life is the truest expression of the state of being human.”