Saturday, January 26, 2008

Live like it’s your second time around!

I just finished reading Viktor Frankl’s book Man's Search for Meaning
Frankl admits that he has mixed feelings about the success his book has achieved becoming a bestseller. He does not see it as an accomplishment, “rather an expression of the misery of our time, in that so many people are reaching out for a book to whose very title promises to deal with the question of a meaning to life”. Are we all so miserable in life that we are searching for some meaning?

The title did catch my attention, but I selected the book based on a recommendation from another author that I was reading concerning human behavior. Besides, if I can squeeze a little more meaning out of this life then I am all for it.

Frankl’s book starts with an autobiographical account of his survival of WWII concentration camps. He is a psychotherapist and provides a viewpoint on human suffering that I had never read or heard about before or even imagined. He closes the book with some very thought provoking maxims that I think can apply to many situations in life – even personal finance.

Here’s one of my favorites:
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.

Frankl says that this suggestion invites one to imagine that the present is past and the past may yet be changed. I had to read this idea a couple of times to really get it. Basically, it is premised on the fact that you must recognize that you are doing something wrong, for at least the second time and that you can change it this time.

One of the personal finance situations that comes to mind is overspending. We first have to be able to admit that we are overspending, then when the impulse to buy comes again and we are about to act wrongly, we can change our ways by reminding ourselves that we have been here before and we have the power to amend this act. This idea is essentially asking us to take responsibility. It’s okay to make a mistake, but the second time around it’s time to become responsible and make the right decision.


  1. just found your blog. FYI - I like what I'm reading.

  2. Thanks! I appreciate all comments.