Saturday, August 1, 2009


While attending graduate school a friend recommended a book by noted Existential Psychologist Victor Frankl. I was struck by the poignancy of “Man’s Search for Meaning” and the central tenet of both Frankl’s thesis and his therapeutic approach: human beings must find meaning and purpose in order to live a contented life. Lack of meaning and purpose in life allows for the expression of neurotic symptoms ranging from depression, anxiety, and frustration to addiction and other self-injurious behaviors. The challenge, I believe, is in discovering one’s life’s meaning and developing purpose from it.

Several years ago I attended a workshop during which the leader challenged the participants to discover their purpose. The key was that the purpose had to be greater than ourselves, it had to be a gift to the world, and the outcome had to be improbable. Essentially, we needed to find something really hard to achieve for the world, and then strive to achieve it. She called it our “improbable promise.” The outcome of that workshop, and of that exercise, has been following me around for years and is the ground of just about everything I do these days. It has given meaning and purpose and direction to my life. Such a promise can do the same for yours.
What improbable promise can you make to the world?

Some examples that I have come across have been "to reveal the presence of Grace"; "to see peace in the world through right relationship"; “to provide succor to the dying”; “to defend the rights of animals.”

As always, I appreciate any comments or feedback and hope you have found this blog post helpful and meaningful. Please also visit my website at

My best,