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Thriving vs. Surviving

What is the difference?

There is a fundamental difference between thriving and surviving. Surviving means, “to continue to live or exist,” while thrive can be defined as “to grow or develop well, to prosper or to flourish.” The difference between these mindsets are relatively straightforward. Surviving is doing what is necessary to live.  Thriving is not being satisfied just surviving, but reaching above this to make continual progress. The way thrivers experience life depends not on their circumstances, but on the ways they chose to respond to the hand they are dealt. 


A thriving mindset is defined by continually challenging oneself.  To be a better person.  To be a better spouse, parent, child and friend, being more understanding, more supportive or just being there more.  Challenging yourself to have a better career, being more fulfilled, being more rewarded or just being happier.  Challenging yourself individually to constantly question who you are and whether this is in line with who you want to be.


What does it mean to thrive? How do people who learn how to thrive perceive and interact with the world differently from those who settle or live in a state of survival? What does it take to move from one state to the other? These are pivotal questions we must answer. Consequently, “more” equals success. More stuff, more tasks, more goals, more everything. However, the more we try to do everything, the less we achieve anything. Our biggest concern is the busy state of mind, which is caused by ‘switching’ constanstly  between tasks. Sounds familiar? You can solve this by being seriously and consciously engaged with one thing which is important to you. This will bring focus, less exhaustion, better performance, happiness AND a calm state of mind which allows you to thrive in this world, despite all of the busyness around you. Mastering your life, focusing, being engaged and seizing the moment, are the keys to this minimalist mindset. The opposite of being busy is not relaxing, it’s having full attention for the people and work we truely love. 


The French philosopher Henri-Louis Bergson said, “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” It takes developing the mindset of someone who knows how to thrive in order to become all that we are capable of becoming. What makes this mindset possible is our ability to unlock and use seven key capacities. These include the capacity to trust, to act with humility, to cultivate resilience, to learn to listen to our inner direction, to follow our vision, to assume an attitude of expansiveness, and to take responsibility for the choices we make.


Thriving or Surviving? You decide. 

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The mindset of a thriver also includes an ability to trust in the “flow” of life rather than always needing to try to control it. We have to learn to hold things lightly, rather than grasping tightly to outcomes we feel compelled to achieve. People who know how to thrive develop the capacity to perceive life through a lens of possibilities and opportunities rather than through a filter of obstacles and limitations. They look for why things can happen, rather than why they can’t. And thriving necessitates the ability to be present to what’s happening in the moment, rather than worrying about the future or ruminating over the past.

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