102+ Best Viktor E. Frankl Quotes That Make You Think

Viktor Emil Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He developed a theory that is through a search for meaning and purpose in life that individuals can endure hardship and suffering. Insightful Viktor Frankl quotes will inspire you to change your perspective to find meaning in anything you do.

If you’re searching for life quotes and sayings that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of best Terence Mckenna quotes, inspiring Alan Watts quotes, and powerful Anne Frank quotes.

Most Famous Viktor E. Frankl Quotes

I do the unpleasant tasks before I do the pleasant ones. – Viktor E. Frankl

Pain is only bearable if we know it will end, not if we deny it exists. – Viktor E. Frankl

I try to do everything as soon as possible, and not at the last moment. This ensures that, when I am overburdened with work, I will not face the added pressure of knowing that something is still to be done. – Viktor E. Frankl

By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true. – Viktor E. Frankl

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 thewhyfor his existence and will be able to bear almost anyhow. – Viktor E. Frankl

An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior. – Viktor E. Frankl

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 E. Frankl

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 E. Frankl

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. – Viktor E. Frankl

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 E. Frankl

Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. – Viktor E. Frankl

I do not forget any good deed done to me and I do not carry a grudge for a bad one. – Viktor E. Frankl

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

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

When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer… his unique opportunity lies in the way he bears his burden. – Viktor E. Frankl

Man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate. – Viktor E. Frankl

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 E. Frankl

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

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 E. Frankl

The more one forgives 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 E. Frankl

Man is not fully conditioned and determined but rather determines himself whether he gives in to conditions or stands up to them. – Viktor E. Frankl

The last freedom is choosing your attitude. – Viktor E. Frankl

As for the concept of collective guilt, I personally think that it is totally unjustified to hold one person responsible for the behavior of another person or a collective of persons. – Viktor E. Frankl

In times of crisis, people reach for meaning. Meaning is strength. Our survival may depend on our seeking and finding it. – Viktor E. Frankl

When a man cannot find meaning, he numbs himself with pleasure. – Viktor E. Frankl

Man can only find meaning for his existence in something outside himself. – Viktor E. Frankl

Every human being has the freedom to change at any instant. – Viktor E. Frankl

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 E. Frankl

View life as a series of movie frames, the ending and meaning may not be apparent until the very end of the movie, and yet, each of the hundreds of individual frames has meaning within the context of the whole movie. – Viktor E. Frankl

God is the partner of your most intimate soliloquies – Viktor E. Frankl

Despair is suffering without meaning. – Viktor E. Frankl

Ultimate freedom is a man’s right to choose his attitude. – Viktor E. Frankl

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

Each of us carries a unique spark of the divine, and each of us is also an inseparable part of the web of life. – Viktor E. Frankl

To suffer unecessarily is masochistic rather than heroic. – Viktor E. Frankl

The quest for meaning is the key to mental health and human flourishing – Viktor E. Frankl

This is the core of the human spirit … If we can find something to live for – if we can find some meaning to put at the center of our lives – even the worst kind of suffering becomes bearable. – Viktor E. Frankl

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 E. Frankl

Self-actualization cannot be attained if it is made an end in itself, but only as a side effect of self-transcendence. – Viktor E. Frankl

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

It is here that we encounter the central theme of existentialism: to live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering. – Viktor E. Frankl

Even when it is not fully attained, we become better by striving for a higher goal. – Viktor E. Frankl

We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: 1. by doing a deed; 2. by experiencing a value; and 3. by suffering. – Viktor E. Frankl

Just as a small fire is extinguished by the storm whereas a large fire is enhanced by it – likewise a weak faith is weakened by predicament and catastrophes whereas a strong faith is strengthened by them. – Viktor E. Frankl

Humor was another of the soul’s weapons in the fight for self-preservation. – Viktor E. Frankl

Man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life. – Viktor E. Frankl

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality – Viktor E. Frankl

Life asks of every individual a contribution, and it is up to that individual to discover what it should be – Viktor E. Frankl

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 E. Frankl

You don’t create your mission in life – you detect it. – Viktor E. Frankl

If we take a man as he is, we make him worse, but if we take man as he should be, we make him capable of becoming what he can be. – Viktor E. Frankl

It isn’t the past which holds us back, it’s the future; and how we undermine it, today. – Viktor E. Frankl

There are two races of men in this world but only these two: the race of the decent man and the race of the indecent man. – Viktor E. Frankl

Being tolerant does not mean that I share another one’s belief. But it does mean that I acknowledge another one’s right to believe, and obey, his own conscience. – Viktor E. Frankl

Our greatest human freedom is that, despite whatever our physical situation is in life, WE ARE ALWAYS FREE TO CHOOSE OUR THOUGHTS! – Viktor E. Frankl

Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude. – Viktor E. Frankl

What is to give light must endure burning. – Viktor E. Frankl

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

Success, like happiness, is the unexpected side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself. – Viktor E. Frankl

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. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her own life. – Viktor E. Frankl

When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure. – Viktor E. Frankl

Religion is the search for ultimate meaning. – Viktor E. Frankl

To the European, it is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to ‘be happy.’ But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to ‘be happy.’ – Viktor E. Frankl

Fear may come true that which one is afraid of. – Viktor E. Frankl

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 E. Frankl

Faith is trust in ultimate meaning. – Viktor E. Frankl

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

No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. – Viktor E. Frankl

There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one’s life. – Viktor E. Frankl

Even a genius cannot completely resist his Zeitgeist, the spirit of his time. – Viktor E. Frankl

A human being is a deciding being. – Viktor E. Frankl

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

Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself – be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. – Viktor E. Frankl

Since Auschwitz, we know what man is capable of. And since Hiroshima, we know what is at stake. – Viktor E. Frankl

Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. – Viktor E. Frankl

The last of human freedoms – the ability to chose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances. – Viktor E. Frankl

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. – Viktor E. Frankl

Man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips. – Viktor E. Frankl

Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives. – Viktor E. Frankl

When we are no longer able to change a situation – just think of an incurable disease such as an inoperable cancer – we are challenged to change ourselves. – Viktor E. Frankl

Challenging the meaning of life is the truest expression of the state of being human. – Viktor E. Frankl

Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time. – Viktor E. Frankl

For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment. – Viktor E. Frankl

If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete. – Viktor E. Frankl

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 E. Frankl

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 his specific opportunity to implement it. – Viktor E. Frankl

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 E. Frankl

A painter tries to convey to us a picture of the world as he sees it; an ophthalmologist tries to enable us to see the world as it really is. The logotherapist’s role consists of widening and broadening the visual field of the patient so that the whole spectrum of potential meaning becomes conscious and visible to him. – Viktor E. Frankl

When I was taken to the concentration camp of Auschwitz, a manuscript of mine ready for publication was confiscated. Certainly, my deep desire to write this manuscript anew helped me to survive the rigors of the camps I was in. – Viktor E. Frankl

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 E. Frankl

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 E. Frankl

If you call ‘religious’ a man who believes in what I call a Supermeaning, a meaning so comprehensive that you can no longer grasp it, get hold of it in rational intellectual terminology, then one should feel free to call me religious, really. – Viktor E. Frankl

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. 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. When we are no longer able to change a situation-just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer-we are challenged to change ourselves. – Viktor E. Frankl

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 E. Frankl

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 of it. – Viktor E. Frankl

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. Regardless of what happens to you you can always choose to be grateful by imagining how it could have been worse! – Viktor E. Frankl

[Speaking of his experience in a concentration camp:] As we said before, any attempt to restore a man’s inner strength in the camp had first to succeed in showing him some future goal…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. – Viktor E. Frankl

Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in its 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 E. Frankl

Being human always points, and is directed, to something, or someone, other than oneself—be it meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. 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…. What is called self-actualization is not an attainable aim at all, for the simple reason that the more one would strive for it, the more he would miss it. In other words, self-actualization is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence. – Viktor E. Frankl

One should not search for an abstract meaning of life … Life can be made meaningful in a threefold way: first, through what we give to life … second, by what we take from the world … third, through the stand we take toward a fate we no longer can change … – Viktor E. Frankl

As a professor in two fields, neurology and psychiatry, I am fully aware of the extent to which man is subject to biological, psychological and sociological conditions. But in addition to being a professor in two fields I am a survivor of four camps – concentration camps, that is – and as such I also bear witness to the unexpected extent to which man is capable of defying and braving even the worst conditions conceivable. – Viktor E. Frankl

Those who know how close the connection is between the state of mind of a man-his courage and hope, or lack of them-and the state of immunity of his body will understand that the sudden loss of hope and courage can have a deadly effect. The ultimate cause of my friend’s death was that the expected liberation did not come, and he was severely disappointed. – Viktor E. Frankl

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