If you haven’t heard the heading before, then you haven’t heard of Viktor Frankl and his utterly moving book called Man’s search for meaning.
Before you rush out to grab a copy, I should start by saying it isn’t easy reading. What it is, is one man’s account of why, when you put a group of strangers into a concentration camp during the Holocaust, only some of those strangers survive.
It’s not always the strongest that make it through. It’s the ones with hope and a reason to live.
And, while bad things can – and do – happen, they need not define you. You always have a choice about how you respond.
Cancer taught me this lesson. But, it was a lady interviewing me about my experiences who showed me that this lesson is one that Viktor tried hard to share with the world. And it’s one I heard again only last week when a man was talking about breaking his neck in an accident many years ago. (I love the fact TED has a clip of Viktor speaking on their site because, I think Viktor, were he alive today, could have taught us a lot about finding meaning in our over-commercialised world.)
So it was an absolute delight to hear legendary Bob Wilson, co-founder of the brilliant charity Willow, use that phrase to describe me when I was lucky enough to be interviewed on BBC Radio Five in December about my upcoming marathon wedding.
I say that I am the sum of my imperfections. By this, I don’t mean the physical scarring or the rearranged body parts. I mean the bits that life didn’t get right first time. It’s because of those imperfections that I have been forced to look in the mirror and really see whether I like the person looking back. It’s because of those imperfections that I know that while I’m sensitive, I am also strong. It’s because of those imperfections that I try and fill every day with a little bit of meaning.
I didn’t let cancer define me. I chose to make serious illness a force for good.
I haven't changed my job or my career. I've changed my attitude.
I thought I didn't have time. Now I make time. Sometimes the last thing I feel like after a long day at work is writing a charity blog or drumming up support or cash for a volunteering event, but I can guarantee it's the meaningful and purpose-driven acts that feature most in the gratitude diary I write every night.
In some ways, you could say I am one of the lucky ones. I didn't need to find a cause. My cause crept up behind me and then hit me over the head.
Knowing just how important having a little bit of meaning woven into the fabric of every day is one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned. And it's a lesson I want to share with the world.
I started this year with one clear aim: to make it meaningful. I learned back in 2013 that a life without meaning is no life at all. But, this year, I really want to make it count. And the wedding is a big part of that.
If finding meaning makes your day, tweet me about it (@jackie8 #makeitmeaningful).
Success isn’t a nice life, it’s a meaningful one. I know Viktor would agree.
So, let’s go be successful! Starting now…