25 Viktor Frankl Quotes on Life, Suffering and Success

Searching for the meaning behind life and suffering?

These Viktor Frankl quotes give answers to some of life’s most thought-provoking questions. 

What’s your “why” in life? 

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychologist.

He is most well known for his best-selling book Man’s Search for Meaning, which illustrates his time as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp.

Frankl created the concept of logotherapy, which the author describes as “the primary motivational source of an individual is to find meaning in life.”

Many of us can relate to the constant pursuit of meaning in our lives, as we’re all constantly searching for our “why”. 

The Viktor Frankl quotes below highlight his interpretation of life’s many ups and downs. 

Viktor Frankl quotes about life

1. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor Frankl

2. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl

3. “For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”  – Viktor Frankl

4. “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.” – Viktor Frankl

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5. “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked.” – Viktor Frankl

6. “Religion is the search for ultimate meaning.” – Viktor Frankl

7. “Evermore people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” – Viktor Frankl

8. “Challenging the meaning of life is the truest expression of the state of being human.” – Viktor Frankl

9. “Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.” – Viktor Frankl

10. “There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one’s life.” – Viktor Frankl

11. “No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him.” – Viktor Frankl

12. “To the European, it is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to ‘be happy.’ But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to ‘be happy.’” – Viktor Frankl

More Viktor Frankl quotes on life

13. “If you call ‘religious’ a man who believes in what I call a Supermeaning, a meaning so comprehensive that you can no longer grasp it, get hold of it in rational intellectual terminology, then one should feel free to call me religious, really.” – Viktor Frankl

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14. “A man’s concern, even his despair, over the worthwhileness of life is an existential distress but by no means a mental disease.” – Viktor Frankl

15. “When a man cannot find meaning, he numbs himself with pleasure.” – Viktor Frankl

16. “God is the partner of your most intimate soliloquies.” – Viktor Frankl

17. “View life as a series of movie frames, the ending and meaning may not be apparent until the very end of the movie, and yet, each of the hundreds of individual frames has meaning within the context of the whole movie.” – Viktor Frankl

18. “Each of us carries a unique spark of the divine, and each of us is also an inseparable part of the web of life.” – Viktor Frankl

19. “The quest for meaning is the key to mental health and human flourishing.” – Viktor Frankl

20. “An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.” – Viktor Frankl

21. “The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while mastering the art of living.” – Viktor Frankl

22. “We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: 1. by doing a deed; 2. by experiencing a value; and 3. by suffering.” – Viktor Frankl

23. “Humor was another of the soul’s weapons in the fight for self-preservation.” – Viktor Frankl

24. “Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality.” – Viktor Frankl

25. “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.” – Viktor Frankl

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What life lessons did you learn from these Viktor Frankl quotes?

As mentioned previously, Viktor Frankl believed that meaning in life can come from love, work, or suffering.

As you push through obstacles throughout your own life, take time to think them over.

You may be able to learn something valuable from them. 

It may take time and distance from those experiences to evaluate them acco rdingly.

The lessons of some experiences may not be easily summed up.

But, dedicating time to think over those problems can help you never make those mistakes again. 

Did we forget any Viktor Frankl quotes that you always come back to?

Tell us your thoughts down below. 

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  1. MDL

    January 5, 2023 at 11:35 PM

    My favorite quote of his is “What is to give light must endure burning.” It’s a statement I believe, on human suffering and how we can help others through tragedy and grief if we’ve had mutual experiences.

    • Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor

      January 6, 2023 at 3:32 PM

      That is a great quote! Thanks for sharing.

  2. raj

    January 7, 2021 at 8:09 AM

    Amazing quotes. True for all time. Thanks for compiling them, keep up the good work!

  3. Q

    July 8, 2020 at 6:13 PM

    I just found these. I never knew of them. They are amazing. I thank God that Viktor Frankl was able to get these thoughts out to help so many. And thank you for putting them here.
    I am shocked that I am the first person to comment here… in 2020.

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