Man's Search for Meaning Quotes

26 of the best book quotes from Man's Search for Meaning
  1. #1
    “If . . . one cannot change a situation that causes his suffering, he can still choose his attitude.”
  2. #2
    “Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to ‘be happy.’ Once the reason is found . . . one becomes happy automatically.”
  3. #3
    “A passive life of enjoyment affords . . . [man] the opportunity to obtain fulfillment in experiencing beauty, art, or nature.”
  4. #4
    “Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in . . . terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress.”
  5. #5
    “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.”
  6. #6
    “When we are no longer able to change a situation . . . we are challenged to change ourselves.”
  7. #7
    “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.”
  8. #8
    “There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.”
  1. #9
    “An active life serves the purpose of giving man the opportunity to realize values in creative work.”
  2. #10
    “The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity—even under the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self-preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal.”
  3. #11
    “He knows the ‘why’ for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any ‘how.‘”
  4. #12
    “We may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed.”
  5. #13
    “Optimism is not anything to be commanded or ordered.”
  6. #14
    “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.”
  7. #15
    “When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task.”
  8. #16
    “I only insist that meaning is available in spite of—nay, even through—suffering.”

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  1. #17
    “A human being is not one in pursuit of happiness but rather in search of a reason to become happy . . . through actualizing the potential meaning inherent and dormant in a given situation.”
  2. #18
    “I know that without the suffering, the growth that I have achieved would have been impossible.”
  3. #19
    “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.”
  4. #20
    “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.”
  5. #21
    “It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.”
  6. #22
    “One cannot . . . force oneself to be optimistic indiscriminately, against all odds, against all hope.”
  7. #23
    “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 about it.”
  8. #24
    “Every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.”
  9. #25
    “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.”
  10. #26
    “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 is his specific opportunity to implement it.”
Book Topics › freedom
Children's Books About Freedom