“Everything can be taken from a man (person) but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

There are still those young genius who work for the larger corporate institution who will believe that the surrender of their values, the attention to long hours of excessive work, the subordination of their true nature will win them a prize. It will not. It will lead to illness, disease, disharmony and loss. We must not let the good intentioned “one shoe fits all feet” ideas by corporate speakers like Simon Sinek convince us that our individuality, our individual spiritual uniqueness must be quashed. Success never comes from this…

 As the world becomes more technically efficient, it seems increasingly necessary for people to behave communally and collectively, now do you think it’s possible that the highest development of man may be to submerge his own individuality in a kind of collective consciousness? 


That’s hardly possible. I think there will be a reaction — a reaction will set in against this communal dissociation. You know, man doesn’t stand forever, his nullification. Once, there will be a reaction, and I see it setting in, you know, when I think of my patients, they all seek their own existence and to assure their existence against that complete atomization into nothingness or into meaninglessness. Man cannot stand a meaningless life.


But what about human liberty? Must we lose our spiritual freedom in regard to behaviour and reaction to any given surroundings?

Most important, do individual reactions to the singular world of the corporate cultural norms prove that people cannot escape the influences of their surroundings? Do people have no choice of action in the face of such circumstances? 

We can answer these questions from experience as well as on principle. The experiences of life show that there are two scripts: the first is compliance and this will deliver promotion and success within the hierarchy of power of one firm, the second is to go find a culture that is more aligned with the true nature of the individual. One does have a choice of action. We can, and must for the sanity and wellbeing of our family and self, preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in pressured conditions of psychic and physical stress.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Viktor Frankl

Finding Purpose and the Meaning of Life… by Viktor Frankle

Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost. The typical reply with which such a man rejected all encouraging arguments was, “I have nothing to expect from life any more.” What sort of answer can one give to that? 

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. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life — daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. 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. 

These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way. Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements. “Life” does not mean something vague, but something very real and concrete, just as life’s tasks are also very real and concrete. They form man’s destiny, which is different and unique for each individual. No man and no destiny can be compared with any other man or any other destiny. No situation repeats itself, and each situation calls for a different response.

Sometimes the situation in which a man finds himself may require him to shape his own fate by action. At other times it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation and to realize assets in this way. Sometimes man may be required simply to accept fate, to bear his cross.

Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand.

And this is the question: which answer is the right answer? If we know our purpose in life there is a core around which this answer can be made, but if we do not, there are seven competing areas of life, with seven different levels of thinking in mind, body and emotion competing for priority in the short, medium and long term outcomes of the right answer. Hence, confusion and indecision reflect a lack of purpose. This lack of purpose is a surrender of the core of spiritual freedom that can preserve the richness of self while working intensely.

Good coaching requires this perspective to ensure “right choices” are made against a backdrop of competing forces and expectations.

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