Viktor Frankl Quotes

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Viktor Emil Frankl was a neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor from Austria. He is best known for developing the psychological approach known as logotherapy, which is mostly based on the premise that the primary motivational force for human beings is to find the meaning of life.

As an author, Viktor Frankl wrote multiple best-selling books like Man’s Search for Meaning, The Unconscious God, The Will to Meaning, Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything, The Doctor and the Soul, The Unheard Cry for Meaning and other life transforming writings.

Here are some of the best and famous Viktor Frankl quotes on suffering, hope, pleasure, death, attitude, love, success, meaning and other key areas of our day to day life:

Viktor Frankl Everything Can Be Taken Quote

Viktor Frankl Everything Can Be Taken Quote

1. 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

Famous Viktor Frankl Quotes

Famous Viktor Frankl Quotes

2. A human being is a deciding being. -Viktor Frankl

3. What is to give light must endure burning. -Viktor Frankl

4. Religion is the search for ultimate meaning. -Viktor Frankl

5. An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior. -Viktor Frankl

6. It is not freedom from conditions, but it is freedom to take a stand toward the conditions. -Viktor Frankl

7. For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best. -Viktor Frankl

8. I recommend that the Statue of Liberty be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast. -Viktor Frankl

9. No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same. -Viktor Frankl

10. The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while mastering the art of living.

Viktor Frankl

11. The meaning of life is to give life meaning. -Viktor Frankl

12. Fear makes come true that which one is afraid of. -Viktor Frankl

13. It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future. -Viktor Frankl

14. The point is not what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us. -Viktor Frankl

15. There are things which must cause you to lose your reason or you have none to lose. -Viktor Frankl

16. Human kindness can be found in all groups, even those which as a whole it would be easy to condemn. -Viktor Frankl

17. Man is capable of changing the world for the better if possible, and of changing himself for the better if necessary. -Viktor Frankl

18. Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning. -Viktor Frankl

19. 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. -Viktor Frankl

20. 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. -Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Suffering

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Suffering

21. If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering. -Viktor Frankl

22. In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice. -Viktor Frankl

23. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete. -Viktor Frankl

24. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way – an honorable way – in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. -Viktor Frankl

25. But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.

Viktor Frankl

26. To suffer unnecessarily is masochistic rather than heroic. -Viktor Frankl

27. The crowning experience of all, for the homecoming man, is the wonderful feeling that, after all he has suffered, there is nothing he need fear anymore—except his God. -Viktor Frankl

28. The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity — even under the most difficult circumstances — to add a deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal. -Viktor Frankl

29. To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of a gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size” of human suffering is absolutely relative.

30. Dostoevsky said once, “There is only one thing I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.” These words frequently came to my mind after I became acquainted with those martyrs whose behavior in camp, whose suffering and death, bore witness to the fact that the last inner freedom cannot be lost. It can be said that they were worthy of the their sufferings; the way they bore their suffering was a genuine inner achievement. It is this spiritual freedom—which cannot be taken away—that makes life meaningful and purposeful.

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Hope

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Hope

31. Whoever was still alive had reason for hope. -Viktor Frankl

32. Once hopeless, my life is now hope-full, but it did not happen overnight. 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.

Viktor Frankl

33. We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. -Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Pleasure

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Pleasure

34. Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. -Viktor Frankl

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

Viktor Frankl

36. Pleasure is, and must remain, a side-effect or by-product, and is destroyed and spoiled to the degree to which it is made a goal in itself. -Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Death

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Death

37. A life of short duration…could be so rich in joy and love that it could contain more meaning than a life lasting eighty years. -Viktor Frankl

38. The story of the young woman whose death I witnessed in a concentration camp. It is a simple story. There is little to tell and it may sound as if I had invented it; but to me it seems like a poem. This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. “I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard,” she told me. “In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.” Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, “This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.” Through that window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. “I often talk to this tree,” she said to me. I was startled and didn’t quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. “Yes.” What did it say to her? She answered, “It said to me, ‘I am here-I am here-I am life, eternal life.

Viktor Frankl

39. We cannot, after all, judge a biography by its length, by the number of pages in it; we must judge by the richness of the contents…Sometimes the ‘unfinisheds’ are among the most beautiful symphonies. -Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Attitude

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Attitude

40. Our attitude towards what has happened to us in life is the important thing to recognize. -Viktor Frankl

41. Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose. -Viktor Frankl

42. When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. -Viktor Frankl

43. Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. -Viktor Frankl

44. Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.

Viktor Frankl

45. Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude. -Viktor Frankl

46. 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. -Viktor Frankl

47. Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. -Viktor Frankl

48. The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance. -Viktor Frankl

49. 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. -Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Love

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Love

50. Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. -Viktor Frankl

51. Logotherapy sees the human patient in all his humanness. I step up to the core of the patient’s being. And that is a being in search of meaning, a being that is transcending himself, a being capable of acting in love for others. -Viktor Frankl

52. Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance. -Viktor Frankl

53. A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life, I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. -Viktor Frankl

54. 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.

Viktor Frankl

55. The truth-that love is the highest goal to which man can aspire. -Viktor Frankl

56. The more one forgets 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. -Viktor Frankl

57. Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance. -Viktor Frankl

58. Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, though these are things which cannot inspire envy. -Viktor Frankl

59. 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 in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true. -Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Success

Viktor Frankl Quotes On Success

60. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. -Viktor Frankl

61. Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. 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. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. 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 about it.

Viktor Frankl

62. 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. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. -Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl Man’s Search For Meaning Quotes

 Viktor Frankl Man's Search For Meaning Quotes

63. Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for. -Viktor Frankl

64. A man’s concern, even his despair, over the worthwhileness of life is an existential distress but by no means a mental disease. -Viktor Frankl

65. So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now! -Viktor Frankl

66. It is well known that humor, more than anything else in the human make-up, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds. -Viktor Frankl

67. Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant. -Viktor Frankl

68. What is demanded of man is not, as some existential philosophers teach, to endure the meaninglessness of life, but rather to bear his incapacity to grasp its unconditional meaningfulness in rational terms. -Viktor Frankl

69. 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 is his specific opportunity to implement it. -Viktor Frankl

70. Man is not fully conditioned and determined but rather determines himself whether he gives in to conditions or stands up to them. In other words, man is ultimately self-determining. Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment. -Viktor Frankl

71. 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.

Viktor Frankl

72. We dislike talking about our experiences. No explanations are needed for those who have been inside, and the others will understand neither how we felt then nor how we feel now. -Viktor Frankl

73. At such a moment, it is not the physical pain which hurts the most (and this applies to adults as much as to punished children); it is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all. -Viktor Frankl

74. Sunday neurosis, that kind of depression which afflicts people who become aware of the lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes manifest. -Viktor Frankl

75. 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”. -Viktor Frankl

76. Ironically enough, in the same way that fear brings to pass what one is afraid of, likewise a forced intention makes impossible what one forcibly wishes… Pleasure is, and must remain, a side-effect or by-product, and is destroyed and spoiled to the degree to which it is made a goal in itself. -Viktor Frankl

77. Man is originally characterized by his “search for meaning” rather than his “search for himself.” The more he forgets himself—giving himself to a cause or another person—the more human he is. And the more he is immersed and absorbed in something or someone other than himself the more he really becomes himself. -Viktor Frankl

78. For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. 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. -Viktor Frankl

79. 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. -Viktor Frankl

80. A human being is not one thing among others; things determine each other, but man is ultimately self-determining. What he becomes – within the limits of endowment and environment- he has made out of himself. In the concentration camps, for example, in this living laboratory and on this testing ground, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions. -Viktor Frankl