The Existential Vacuum

I am reading Viktor Frankl’s book "Man’s Search for Meaning". He postulates that the process of an individual’s search for meaning is the centerpiece of their existance. Those that  are not actively seeking or do not have a clear understanding of meaning in thier own life are destined "…to do what other people do (conformism) or [do] what other people wish [for them] to do(totalitarianism)." He defines the meaning in one’s own life as [my interpretation] that which one is passionate about and is driven to achieve.

In an organizational context, I see Frankl’s conformism and totalitarianism at work, all too frequently. Just think how powerful an organization would be if most (or all) of its members found true meaning in their work as opposed to just blindly following along with the masses, or even worse following blindly behind the epic hero-leader.

I found a strong alignment in this thought-line and Kathy Sierra’s post today. When she said:

When people aren’t brave enough for one reason or another, …

I realized these are the same people that have not found their own meaning in life. They have no basis for standing up and being heard, they have no passion to call their own.  … You know what, the reflection in the mirror doesn’t look so great.  This is about each of us, so few have truely found that deep connect to the meaning of their life, and many that do, find that connection outside of work.

How do we bring meaning and passion to our work? How do we avoid the "Existential Vacuum"?

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One Response

  1. This is an interesting juxtaposition to your ‘Why do big Organizations go “bad”?’ post. Seems pretty likey that small, young organizations are full of vision, passion, and meaning.

    THe more organizations grow, the more compartmentalized they become, the less connected people feel, and the more likely they are to recruit people who don’t have vision and passion – they’re just there for a paycheck.

    The corporate infrastructure, as it grows, just reinforces (literally) this inevitability. Will Web 2.0 solve this or will the big monoliths miss the boat? Time will tell.

    Lee – I’ve noticed that many of your posts tie in nicely together 😉

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