Believing in the Power of Dreams: Lessons from the life of Anne Frank

Srikrishna Chaitanya
Published on: 20th November 2013
Most often, a great life is a combination of brazen optimism, inimitable virtue and all absorbing faith. One such lesser known life, whose philosophy is worth adopting, is that of Anne Frank.

For the most part of her life, her family was a victim of Jewish persecution by the Nazis. Her family migrated to Holland and went into hiding. On her 13th birthday, she received a diary as a birthday gift. As someone who had a lust for life, her deepest expressions found their place in her diary. To this day, her diary remains the only recognized record of Nazi atrocities written by a victim. 'The Diary of a young girl' has since then been translated into 65 languages and innumerable film and play adaptations.
believing in the power of dreams,optimism
Anne Frank died in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp when she was 16. The quotes below are taken from her diary

1. Look for the Silver lining

"It's difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart."

In Today's day and age, most of us perceive a lag between our present state of life and the one we've imagined; the job that we don't like to do, the relationship that was broken, that quarterly target that you just missed and that big university in the US that denied you admission. Frustration naturally ensues. But where we are, is almost never an indication of where we can go. While most of us may never solve all our problems, it's a good idea to actively look for the good in all and try to enjoy the journey. We are en route to great heights when we realize that a key component of Individual/entrepreneurial success is about enrolling a lot of other people into your realm of possibilities. Just wait and be watchful. Everybody and everything has a good side to show you.

2. Only the Test of fire makes fine steel

"And finally I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and could be, if there weren't any other people living in the world"

Nature always makes our lives an intelligent concoction of pleasure and pain. They work in tandem to produce the best version of you. Just as metal is toned in fire to produce hard steel, we better enjoy the fruit of happiness when it succeeds a flat period in our life. But what's important is to embrace the learning and forget the rest. In fact, it's said that to remember tragic and unpleasant circumstances is a grave misuse of the gift of memory. As the saying goes, the first to forgive is the wisest and the first to forget is the happiest. The bad should always be outside your heart.

3. Your dreams never die; even if you do

"The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings; otherwise I'd absolutely suffocate. I want to become a journalist, because that's what I want! I know I can write... it remains to be seen whether I really have talent... I want to be useful and bring enjoyment to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that's why I'm so grateful to God for having given me this gift".

Destiny bows in front of those with unflinching willpower. In spite of a life threatening holocaust with very little hope for survival, Anne believed in the beauty of her dreams. She began rewriting her diary in the form of a novel to get it published someday. As a hobby, she wrote tales and collected beautiful sentences. She may not have turned a journalist when she was alive, but posthumously, her writings got her immortal fame and glory in far greater measure than what she, perhaps, dreamt of. True greatness comes when one is dedicated to a cause larger than oneself. She hoped to convince people of the world through her writings that it was a far greater matter of pride to take a stand for human dignity than mere nationalist or religious cues. Anne Frank teaches us that reasons NEVER come in the way of those with passion.
On the 8th of October 2013, as a deeply emotional moment, I had the opportunity to visit the 'Anne Frank House' in Amsterdam, Holland -12 years after I first read her diary. To describe that feeling of antiquity and the mélange of emotions in that house is beyond my capacity. The surreptitious 'Secret Annex' gives you the feel of an unpleasant solitude and insecurity. But, what a welcome change it is when you step into Anne Frank's room. Her walls are embellished with the then heroes of Hollywood, dancers and other works of art with her writing table in between- 'THE place' where she wrote her world famous diary. Her room reflected her personality as much as her diary. Most immortal legacies indeed have humble beginnings. I saw her original diary, kept open in a glass case and her hiding place - now a museum with a million visitors. I imagine what it must have been like, for a 15 year old girl to have gone through such trauma.

In 1999, Anne Frank was included in the list of 'Time 100' - The hundred most important people of the century: for her literary merit, stunning honesty and for being the single largest voice of the millions of Jews who were victims of the most horrendous holocausts in history.

Greatness is all around you. Are you looking for it?
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