Through our Reflections series we share nuggets of wisdom from our ongoing research for the Holstee Membership as well as personal experiences that have changed how we see the world.
August 23, 2017

Pain ≠ Suffering

"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 Frankl

And Frankl should know.

In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, he describes the experience of arriving at a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. He is immediately stripped of everything he has, his hair is shaved, and he is left to stand in a room of similarly affected people -- some strangers, others he’d known all his life.

It is at that moment that Frankl has the realization that even though everything -- his possessions, his family, his dignity -- had been taken away from him, he still had the power choose how he would react to the situation in front of him.

This is an extreme example, but it’s a reminder that painful moments in life are inevitable, but the way we react to them is always our choice.

We can react to them in a way that amplifies the pain or we can respond in a way that allows us to learn or take steps in a better direction.

Pain is inevitable but suffering is not.

Viktor Frankl is one of many brilliant minds we explore through the Holstee Membership. Join our community today →

Mike Radparvar
Co-Founder, Holstee

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