Having a Mindset of Making a Contribution Enhances Life

Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist who survived Nazi death camps. His classic book “Man’s Search for Meaning” emphasized the importance of having meaning for one’s life.

Here is an example from a classic tale. A man was walking down the street when he came upon three men working at a construction site. All the men were doing the same job. He asked the first worker what he was doing. The man replied, “Breaking up these rocks.” The man then asked the second worker what he was doing. This worker said, “I’m earning a living.” The man asked the third worker who responded, “I’m building a cathedral.” Clearly the third man had a vision. He understood the larger significance of his work.

Regardless of what you do in life, you can be making a contribution that gives meaning to life. For example, just greeting or smiling at someone enhances that person’s life. When your mindset is that of focusing on others, life becomes more meaningful.

Her is another example of this idea of focusing on others. I have been taking Pilates lessons once a week for a number of years. My instructor is returning to her home state to take care of her elderly parents. On our final session last Saturday, she said to me,” I have been living In Southern California for 31 years and I only have one friend.”

I suggested to her that reflecting on relationships is quite natural especially for females in contrast to men who generally are more task oriented. However, I also suggested that she was reflecting on the wrong aspect. The more important vision would be thinking about how she helped others. I told her that I was a living testimonial to that. My posture has improved, my walking properly has improved, my scoliosis is in check, and I am more physical fit because of her influence.

Tip: Keep the larger vision of your influence on others. When you realize that you are making a contribution, stress is reduced and empowerment is increased.