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Leadership and the Paradox of Pain

Stashed in: Leadership!, #love, Hurt, Awesome, Meaning of Life, Lincoln, Depression

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“Lincoln’s story confounds those who see depression as a collection of symptoms to be eliminated. But it resonates with those who see suffering as a potential catalyst of emotional growth. “What man actually needs,” the psychiatrist Victor Frankl argued,”is not a tension-less state but rather the striving and struggling of a worthwhile goal.” Many believe that psychological health comes with the relief of distress. But Frankl proposed that all people– and particularly those under some emotional weight– need a purpose that will both draw on their talents and transcend their lives. For Lincoln, this sense of purpose was indeed the key that unlocked the gates of a mental prison. This doesn’t mean his suffering went away. In fact, as his life became richer and more satisfying, his melancholy exerted a stronger pull. He now responded to that pull by tying it to his newly defined sense of purpose. From a place of trouble, he looked for meaning. He looked at imperfection and sought redemption.” ― Joshua Wolf Shenk, Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness

We can embrace our pain as a profound resource that enables us in our desire to lead, love, live with purpose and make a difference in the world through the people we serve.

Or we can be ashamed of our pain; hide ourselves behind a mask of certainty and in so doing disconnect from our own hearts and the hearts of others.

I love this. It gives so much to consider.

I guess pain and suffering are the only parts of this physical existence that keep us motivated to transform and transcend it.

Being constantly "fat and happy" is very poor fuel for change.

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