Your Search For Meaning
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Health and Wellness

Your Search For Meaning

A reflection on different philosophies, especially some found in Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

Your Search For Meaning
Emily Crombez

It's 2017.

Welcome to the new year! You've passed another milestone in the markings of time. How do you feel about it? Do you feel like you have a new beginning? Or do you feel like everything is the same and you're stuck in the same old routine? if you feel that way, let me tell you something that many other people will tell you and many other people have already said:

You have the power to choose how you view what happens to you.

When I started at Central Michigan University as part of the Honors Program, I was given a book to read and reflect on, called Man's Search for Meaningby Viktor Frankl. It was an interesting book, at first a little difficult to pick up, but once I really got into it, I couldn't put it down. The story in itself is fascinating - once you start considering the morals and ideas that are woven into the book, you'll find yourself entranced in the reading. There are a lot of concepts that can be applied to our lives now even though the events of our lives might not mirror the events of his.

With that being said, here are a couple more ideas for you to consider in this new year to change how you see the world and feel better about your existence.

If you have a reason for doing something, you can overcome almost anything.

To paraphrase the book, "He who has a why can bear almost any how." (He quoted Frederick Nietzsche.) If you have a goal, an endpoint, a reason for doing something, you can make it through tremendous obstacles and overcome great challenges. When you have an idea of what you want to do and you're truly excited about it, the path to it might seem long, especially if it requires training or education. I know it's true for me, especially when I have a class that's required for my major that isn't as interesting as I would have hoped or is extremely difficult. (To all those pre-med/neuroscience/chemistry students out there taking organic chemistry, I know you can do it. It might be difficult, but you'll make it!) Just remember the reason why you want to go into whatever field it is that you're working toward and continue to push on.

Perspective matters.

How you view something greatly affects how you go about doing something. If you see something as an obstacle, then it will hinder you. If you see something as a chance to improve, it will be more fun and easier to accomplish. If you see something as an impediment, especially a skill or tendency, it will slow you down. If you see it, rather, as a way of looking at the world differently, I hope it helps you enrich your view of the world.

In order to better put your perspective "in perspective", try considering how someone else would view the world - or better yet, ask them! Go talk to people that have different backgrounds, different life experiences, different ideas, and think about what they have to say. Exchange ideas and stories about your lives in an effort to better understand what someone else sees. But don't just do this with one person, do it with multiple people. There are many more ways to view things than just "right or wrong" or "left or right", and when you start acknowledging other perspectives, you'll find out how wonderful it is to see things in a different light.

A new year might not mean much, but any time is a good time to start.

Make a small change today. If you have a routine in your life, challenge yourself to go about something a little differently than you would otherwise. Try some new foods. Visit a new shop. Talk to a new person at work or school. Grab a book that you might not have read otherwise. Try a new hairstyle. Make any change of any scale and work from there.

Once you start making some changes, especially those that positively influence your life, you'll find that you won't be able to stop. It takes time to get used to things, so of course it will feel weird, but that's all part of the fun. I decided to take a risk and get my hair cut super short. I loved it! Then I missed it. Then I loved it again. This cycle continued for about 5 months, and about a week ago I decided that I loved my hair at a shorter length. For some, it doesn't feel like a big deal, but my hair was part of how I identified myself to the world. But it changed, and so have other things.

I hope this new year brings lots of learning and new, fun experiences to everyone, and I hope you can find it in you to embrace the changes the world makes and make some of your own, both to yourself and the world.

Here's to another banner year!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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