What, How, Why (and Endurance)


What gives you the power to endure and to persevere? What keeps you moving on when things are difficult and you would like to give up?

Victor Frankl, quoting Nietzsche says, "A man can eudure almost any how if only he has a why."

Here is a meager example to illustrate that profound thought. I spent two years working a very hard job, in very difficult circumstances, with a "boss" who was terribly dysfunctional, mean, angry and who "hated me." (The boss part lasted about 4 months.) Most days I did not want to go to work, but I did. Why? Well, that is the key. I had a "why" / reason I went to work.

The pay was good and I had a dream. That dream meant going to seminary and staying out of debt to do so. But even this reason was a subordinate reason. I had a call to vocational Christian minsitry and that required a seminary degree. My dream was a vocational one to serve the Lord in a certain way.

This hard work-job was the key to that desire and dream. So I kept going, every day, to that hard job I did not like, but which paid quite handsomely. I even took all the overtime I could get. I chose to work extra hours at a job I did not like. Because I had a "WHY" / reason that gave me the motivation.

Frankl wrote about a horrible experience. Why did some survive the Nazi prison camps while others gave up. Frankl concluded those who endured that hell, had a profoundly motivating reason that kep them struggling, surviving, living... What worked for horrible, tragic, eveil circustances has the power to work in our own lesser sufferings and costs.

When you have DEEP MEANING and SIGNIFICANT PURPOSE, then you have your reason... you have your why? That is what gets you through the "what" or the "how." 

So the only real question is simply:
(1) What is your deep meaning, your vital optimism, your relentless purpose, your defining meaning? And...
(2) How often to you dwell on, reflect about and pray over that deep meaning?

That is what will keep you going.

For Jesus, it was "the joy set before him" that empowered him to despise the shame and pain of the cross. Jesus endured because he had a "why" / reason (see Hebrews 12:1-4). 

You also will endure when you have a reason.
So - what is your reason?

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International
BrianRice@lcileaders.org