Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s search for meaning” has been one of the most influential books I’ve read. I try to live by it every day. Maria Popova has a wonderful article about the book:
Here the main message in my view:
Everything changes in life, so the best thing one can do, is choose one’s attitudes:
[E]verything 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.
This attitude is the ultimate freedom:
Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.
There is no meaning other than the meaning we experience while we live life:
Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he 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. (…)
This emphasis on responsibleness is reflected in the categorical imperative of logotherapy (Frankls school of thought, VL), which is: “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!”
This idea is part of a wonderful movie “About time”, well worth watching: