Tag Archives: Victor Frankl

Black or White?

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By this time of year, winter has clearly worn out its welcome—we’re tired of it. If we’re not mindful, the dreariness and cold can transport our mood to the basement. As for the snow, it’s pretty but it does create its share of challenges.

The other day, a colleague and I were watching it come down in the parking lot.  “Here’s some food for thought,” he said. “It could be worse, snow could be black instead of white.”

Black snow. Hmmm … Such stuff would certainly darken things up a bit … or a lot, depending on the quantity.

I’m drawn to ask the question: Are life’s challenges white snow or black snow? Is the universe out to get us or is it out to grow us? Is there a purpose or a positive element lurking behind misfortune?

Victor Frankl, a psychiatrist, dealt with that very question while imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp for three years. During that time, he experienced and witnessed unimaginable horror and suffering including the loss of several beloved family members.

When his camp was liberated, Frankl walked away having learned a profound lesson. We read from his best selling book, Man’s Search for Meaning:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances …”

It’s all in how we look at things. A terrible circumstance can defeat us or it can catapult us to a new way of seeing or being. Snow is white or black—it’s our choice.

Let me know your thoughts.

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