Don’t Just Survive Life, Thrive In It

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.” — Maya Angelou
Matthew Hamilton
Matthew Hamilton

The Obstacle Is the Way

You are born to thrive, not just to play it safe in your comfort zone.
You might try avoiding failure because it weakens your self-esteem – although failure is a prerequisite for success.

Ask any entrepreneur or adventurer, and they will tell you failure is essential.

However, I do not wish to embellish this article with positive psychology to make you feel good.

So let’s cut to the truth since something drew you here, whether by accident or as a regular reader.

For many, surviving means getting through the daily grind, only to endure the same battles all over again. This is not living because you are needlessly clutching to life.

I realise you will have commitments and obligations. Mouths to feed, expenses and a mortgage to pay.

Still, there’s a better way.

You may want more, though life can be difficult and challenging at times.

It’s worth reminding yourself, however, that the obstacle is in fact the way.

Some people seem to be thriving under whatever conditions they’re faced with, while we wonder why we are stuck in our predicament.

To thrive means to grow and flourish, not simply to scrape by. This is the premise of the film Groundhog Day, in which a weatherman played by actor Bill Murray, strangely lives the same day over and over again.

No one wants to get by when you have hidden potential waiting to emerge.

“You have everything you need to thrive; you just have to plan for the race of your life. Each person’s journey and process is unique. The key to adopting a disruptor’s mind-set is to honestly assess your internal value chain to overcome every obstacle in the way,” states author Jay Samit in Disrupt You: Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity, and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation.

A Shift in Mindset

Those who thrive nurture their personal growth and step outside their comfort zone. Those content to merely survive are happy not to disrupt their lives because of the anxiety and tension involved.

You can use tension and anxiety to give rise to creativity and opportunity.

Thriving requires a shift in mindset and taking chances on occasions.

The key to thriving is recognising you are unhappy and willing to make changes, irrespective of the steps involved.

There is a staleness to surviving, in that you become wearied and discontent. Your soul calls you to venture into the unknown where freedom and good fortune lies.

“Survive first, thrive later: that’s the motto of the lower brain. The well-documented tendency of our lower brain to encode negative, fear-based memories more readily into our unconscious memory than positive ones is referred to as negativity bias,” affirms author Linda Graham MFT in Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being.

No one enjoys setbacks and mediocrity because the human spirit is full of potential and purpose. Life consists of constant change, for it is sewn into the fabric of our lives.

To shift from surviving to thriving, simply begin by attending to your negative thoughts.

“Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.” — Maya Angelou

Destructive thoughts can run deep into a person’s psyche if left unchecked. Replace the negativity by addressing the underlying beliefs supporting them.

You cannot move from surviving to thriving in days or weeks.

Personal development is a journey of self-discovery and the pinnacle of achievement. You deserve to have more and be more. But, you must take the first step and move forward in that direction.

Dr. Alex Lickerman reinforces this thought in The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self.

“Indeed, the ability to soldier on when obstacles block our way to any goal, whether our life’s mission or our most trivial wish, has to be considered as much a part of resilience as the ability to survive and thrive in the face of adversity.”

Thriving Is a State of Mind

Don’t be concerned getting from point A to B in the shortest time. For as soon as you arrive, there will be another place for you to transition to.

Take responsibility for your life by choosing your conditions, instead of blaming outside circumstances.

As you know, victims are stuck in a despairing mindset, believing the world owes them something. They contend life conspires against them, without realising they create their own circumstances.

It helps to know what you want from life. I’m not talking about superficial things such as the car you drive or house you live in. Yet something deeper: your purpose, what kindles your spirit and makes you come alive?

I realise this is difficult for many to answer. Though it is important to know what is of significance to you.

“When in survive mode, thriving takes a back seat. Although many opportunities might arise for a shift to a positive thriving mode, the brain with this narrowed focus is incapable of registering and capitalizing on them; this is part of what keeps the negative vortex going. Negativity is therefore a self-reinforcing and self-fulfilling mechanism in the brain,” states author Shirzad Chamine in Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential and How You Can Achieve Yours.

Thriving is a state of mind in as much as surviving is a negative state of mind. Therefore, shift your awareness from negativity to what is working in your life.

There is nothing novel about surviving. If you remain in this state for too long, your spirit contracts. This is tied to the deeper purpose for your life, regardless of whether you know about it.

We all want to find meaning in our lives. However, if you do not make empowered decisions, you relinquish it to your unconscious desires.

“This old, struggling ‘you’ is not natural or ‘real’. Your higher self is the most natural ‘self’ for you to be. You were meant to thrive. But you’ll only find this out when you take action,” avows Steve Chandler in Time Warrior: How to Defeat Procrastination, People-Pleasing, Self-Doubt, Over-Commitment, Broken Promises and Chaos.

Take small steps without being fixed on the destination.

Ultimately, your journey is one of self-discovery.

The journey is filled with highs and lows. The lows help you to master yourself, so you gain lessons significant to your personal growth.

As a final point, refuse to accept negative conditions being permanent. It was Charlie Chaplin who quipped; “Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.”

Knowing you were born to thrive is motivating, since there is more to your life’s narrative than you presume.

It involves merging into a grander version of the life you only thought possible. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Self-empowerment author, expert speaker and coach.

Keep up with Tony on Instagram, Twitter, Amazon and

More From Thought Catalog