When We Cannot Change a Situation, We Must Change Ourselves


If you have not yet read “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl, you need to add this to your “Must Read” list. Reading books like this should be part of your plan for personal growth.
Dr. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, was a Holocaust survivor who spent five years imprisoned at Auschwitz and Dachau. He knew what it was like to be in a situation he could not change. Despite the conditions that caused many to despair and give up all hope, Dr. Frankl not only survived, he improved himself and his outlook on life while in that concentration camp. He knew that, despite the physical conditions, he alone was responsible for his mindset.
You may be in a situation from which you cannot physically remove yourself. Nevertheless, you are 100% responsible for how you think and how you respond to situations.
“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl
It’s easy to be the victim. It’s easy to point fingers and make excuses for things you don’t like about yourself or your life. It’s easier to remain miserable than it is to take responsibility for your life and take the actions necessary to change it.
Dr. Frankl found strength in the knowledge that, despite our circumstances, each of us is alive and on this Earth for a purpose. Every life has meaning and significance and every human has a contribution to make to humanity.
We are more than the sum of biology and environment. We are part of something that is much bigger than we are, yet we are significant in it. In fact, we have a responsibility to make our life significant for the benefit of others.
Dr. Frankl noticed, in the death camps, that those who chose to make the best of the circumstances, those who helped and encouraged others, those who gave their last piece of bread to someone else, were the ones who usually survived the longest and who proved that everything can be taken from a person except one thing: his ability to choose his attitude in any situation.
“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” — Zig Ziglar
Do you realize that your attitude has more to do with your success in life than your skills?
Your attitude may be costing you relationships and money!
Your attitude – how you think about yourself and others, how you treat people, the words you use, your body language, and the way you act and interact with others – has more impact on your current and future success than how knowledgeable or skillful you are at something.
You may be the best athlete on the team, but if you are arrogant and can’t get along with your coach or teammates, you’ll not get very far in that sport because no coach will want to work with you.
You may be the smartest student in your graduating class, but it will be your attitude about making a valuable contribution to a company that will get you hired for the job.
If you have had trouble getting and keeping a job, or trouble getting and keeping friends, it is probably the result of your attitude more than anything else.
The better your attitude about life and people, the better your chances for success.
People want to be around a person with a positive attitude. Bosses want to hire a person with a positive attitude. Your ability to rise to leadership will be determined by your attitude. It’s that simple!
How far you go in life, what contribution you make to the world, will largely be determined by your attitude.
I don’t buy into the idea that all you need in life is a positive attitude, but I do agree with Zig Ziglar, who also said, “A positive mental attitude will not let you do everything, but it will let you do everything better!”
A positive attitude is no guarantee for success, but a negative one will always hold you back and limit your potential. And the good news is you don’t need to have any special skills or training to have a positive attitude – you simply have to choose it!


About Author

Bruce Van Horn is a Life Coach, writer, speaker, runner, and Dad. He is the host of the popular Life is a Marathon podcast and author of the best selling book You Can Go the Distance. His life’s motto is: “Life is a marathon, so let’s train for it!” His mission is “to reach, teach, and empower others to overcome challenges, think and act on purpose, experience true peace and joy, and live as the fullest expression of who they were created to be.” Learn more about Bruce at www.BruceVanHorn.com/COMag

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