The Pessimist Vs. The Optimist – Dr. Viktor Frankl

The excerpt below came from one of the most influential books I have read, Mans Search For Meaning by Dr. Viktor Frankl.  If you have not read this please pick up a copy, it will change how you view the world forever.  In this excerpt, Dr. Frankl captures the essence of optimism versus pessimism perfectly.  Everything in life is about perspective and the fact that the same situation can be interpreted in a many different ways, thus, ones life is entirely dictated by the way they view and react to situations.  I thrive to be the old man in the excerpt below.

The pessimist resembles a man that observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he tears his daily sheets, grows thinner with each passing day.  On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back.  He can reflect with pride and joy on the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest.  What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old?  Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth?  What reasons has he to envy a young person?  For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him?  “No, thank you,” he will think.  “Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and love loved but of sufferings suffered.  These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, though these are things which cannot inspire envy.”



  1. Nice! Frankl’s MSFM is one of my all-time favorite books as well.

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