In Viktor Frankl’s writing, the topic of logotherapy is discussed. Within that framework, the concept of how we find meaning or purpose in our lives comes in three forms. The first is focused on actions creating meaning. This meaning comes from doing things, having experiences, and creating memories. It is the meaning we often think of when discussing living a full life.
While this is the least discussed, it is an important topic to examine further. It makes us question the entirety of our motivations for completing tasks – what could be more important than finding out why we’re doing what we’re doing?
The happiest people have a connection between their actions and their vision of society. More importantly, they can connect how their efforts improve the world. A person with this outlook can see their own life as valuable, and they are constantly reminded of the importance of their actions – they know that they’re not just going through the motions but making a real impact.
The concept of finding your meaning through actions is again taught in the fable of the three masons. The masons are each asked what they are doing.
The first says he is laying bricks, the second says he is building a wall, and the third says he is creating a cathedral.
The first two have a job to do, and they see their task as simply completing that job. The third mason has a higher purpose. He is building something that others will use, lasting long after he is gone.
The three masons provide a great example of how we can find meaning in our lives. The first two are Content with simply completing their task, while the third has a higher purpose and sees his actions as having a more significant meaning. This gives him a sense of satisfaction that the other two do not have.
Frankl is making the point that to have fulfillment, we must find the vision behind our actions. So, ask yourself, what is your vision? Are you a police officer? Have you lost sight of how important that job role has become? If so, remember that you are not just doing a job. You are fulfilling a higher purpose. Remember that what you are doing matters, and it is up to you to make it count.
It is no wonder that society is fighting over who supports the police. Society forgot for a while how vital that role is. Now we see rising murder rates, thefts, and violent crimes. While it may not always seem like it, the action of policing contributes to a better quality of life and society.
Find meaning in your every day. Put actions into vision. Be a beacon of hope to those around you.