Monday Motivation: A company’s search for meaning, inspired by Viktor Frankl

In this week's Monday kick off, CEO and founder Sammy Rubin shares how the lessons from one of his favourite books - Man's Search for Meaning - can be applied to businesses.

Sammy Rubin - 22 June 2020

I want to talk this week about one of my favourite books, one that influenced me while I was going through an important stage of my life. This book spoke to me, and millions of other people, as it's one of the top 10 most influential books of all time.

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl is so inspiring, and I’d like to look at the lessons that can be learned from it in business and dig into a company’s search for meaning, taking some of his wisdom from 70 years ago and distilling this into what it means for building a company and for us as we build YuLife.

Viktor Frankl was a Holocaust survivor who developed a new form of psychotherapy called logotherapy after surviving the concentration camps. He developed the theory that, through a search for meaning and purpose in life, individuals can endure hardship and suffering. He believed that humans are motivated by something called a “will to meaning,” which equated to a desire to find meaning in life.

“What is the meaning of my life?”

Let’s first talk about this idea of searching for meaning. We frequently ask “What is the meaning of life?” But Frankl believed we should switch the question from “What is the meaning of life?” to “What is the meaning of my life?”  

“This search for one’s personal meaning is inherent to individuals yet also applies to any company.”

This search for one’s personal meaning is inherent to individuals yet also applies to any company. The best companies are those who put meaning at the centre of their work and their life. It’s more than surviving, it’s about thriving and connecting to something bigger than ourselves.

Every company needs to embrace this and put meaning at the centre of its focus. How do I bring meaning to the mission of our company? What meaning can we bring into the world?

“Between stimulus and response there is a space, and in that space sits choice”

Events are happening to us all the time. In that space between these stimuli is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom. This ability to respond in the way we choose becomes our responsibility.

It’s really important for companies and businesses not to react emotionally and respond wisely. Taking time to respond intelligently and from our best selves. Those are the best choices that we can completely make, rather than just reacting to situations.

“Everything can be taken from a person but one thing - The freedom to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”

Viktor Frankl was subject to a lot of horrors but ultimately, as we all are, he was free to choose his attitude. Attitude is so important as it is what shapes us. There are different mindsets; having a fixed mindset or a growth mindset when we respond to stimuli can change our response.

We can see challenges as opportunities to grow and keep developing. It is our attitude that really shapes our success. The same things can apply to companies and the way a company orients itself, the attitude to its customers and to their product. This is freedom.

Applying these lessons to running a successful business

These three points can be applied to companies and their search for meaning. We work hard at YuLife to embody these lessons, and they are embedded in our values. Firstly, in our attitude and orientation - the attitude of coming from a place of love, giving more than we take and seeking the win-win with compassionate leadership.

When we talk about the space that lies in between stimulus and the place we respond, it’s about being vulnerable, calm and present to be able to respond wisely and intelligently.  

And finally the search for meaning - our North Star. It's about unlocking our potential, owning our goals and, ultimately, building the world we want to live in. Because building the world we want to live in ultimately inspires us to do what we're doing, with passion.

Sammy Rubin

Sammy Rubin is the Founder & CEO of YuLife, a life insurance company that strives to offer effective life cover and improve the health and overall wellbeing of its users.