Apologies for the hiatus. At least I’m back with a suitably grand title! I’ve finally made the leap to leave the Foreign Office, after being on unpaid leave for a year. It is pretty scary leaving the security and structure of such a huge hierarchy to go solo and build my own career. I will shortly unleash my new projects on the world – watch this space… But in the meantime I have been finding comfort from Victor Frankl’s amazing book, Man’s Search for Meaning.
Frankl’s circumstances were somewhat more extreme, to say the least! He had the most horrific experiences in various concentration camps as an Austrian Jew during the Second World War. But he used the experience to test his theory of logotherapy, that the key to life was to find meaning. In the concentration camp he observed how men who lost this sense of meaning died quickly: “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.”
I’ve also seen people be made unhappy by a constant search for meaning. I think Frankl’s answer to this is particularly profound. He doesn’t suggest we should spend all of our time asking what the meaning of life is. Instead, “We had to learn…it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.” I find this hugely comforting because it allows for circumstance to buffet you around, and just asks that you to do your best – which is a lot easier than trying to control circumstance.
So now when I feel worried about all the possible pitfalls in the path I’ve chosen, I just remind myself of my basic purpose: to help people be happier. As long as I focus on that, I know I’m going in the right direction.