February 10th, 2012

The Similarity Between Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” and WACKY

By Ron Nakamoto

This is a follow up to the January 25th Post “A Secret to Abundance”

Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” is one of the most insightful, thought-provoking books of our time. It tells his story of surviving the Holocaust and what he learned about the human condition as a result. Frankl discovered that those who survived the Nazi concentration camps were able to do so because they adopted an attitude of “tragic optimism”, that is, “an optimism in the face of tragedy”.


A common characteristic of the survivors was the ability to share, give to others:

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that 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.”

Another quality of the survivors that Frankl identified and discussed was the ability to look forward to the future: “The prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future – was doomed…he let himself decline and became subject to mental and physical decay.”

Frankl also said, “Humor was another of the soul’s weapons in the fight for self-preservation…I practically trained a friend of mine who worked next to me on the building site to develop a sense of humor. I suggested to him that we would promise each other to invent at least one amusing story daily…”

When I was reading “Man’s Search for Meaning”, I was struck by the similarities between Frankl’s observations and the WACKY guidelines:

1) pay it forward through service to others.
2) always have something positive to look forward to.
3) and have fun!

Viktor Frankl endured some of the most horrific circumstances ever recorded in human history. From those experiences emerged his understanding of life and a way of living that focuses on positive attitude and meaningful action. In a surprising way, WACKY is a manifestation of that same sense of positive attitude and meaningful action. WACKY’s guidelines are guidelines for living, rooted in the fundamental human truths that Viktor Frankl discovered and experienced in the Nazi concentration camps.

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