First let’s define our terms so we know what we’re dealing with.
SURVIVE: continue to live or exist, especially in spite of danger or hardship.
THRIVE: grow or develop well or vigorously
To survive means to continue to exist or “live”. It means to get by or to make it through. Thrive, on the other hand, means you grow or develop from the situation or condition in spite of it.
It will become obvious why this is more mindset-based than a limitation of an circumstance. For example, I have been diagnosed with several health issues that once diagnosed, most people will simply take the prescribed pills and hope for the best. I’m not one to take pills.
The Cliff Notes version of my issues are fibromyalgia (chronic back pain and IBS), type 2 diabetic, herniated discs in my neck and lower back which have led to sciatica and diabetic neuropathy in my feet. Sitting in a chair like a normal person hurts my back, so after a short time I simply can’t do it. I have issues with standing as well which has left me with lying down. The issue with lying down is eventual muscle atrophy.
Exercise is the recommended course of action for me but its difficult with chronic pain. So, I’d all but given up. I was in so much pain that I was tired of the fight and tired of the same answers, get up and move. It HURT to get up and move. But now I’ve found a better way. I could continue down the road I’m on and “survive” but I’d rather see what’s out there and try this newly presented method. I know where the path I’ve been on leads, and that’s not where I want to be.
After recently seeing a pair of physical therapists I discovered how lounging to avoid the pain has left me with atrophied muscles to the extent that they barely, if at all, do the job they’re intended to do which actually leads to more extensive issues. I can continue along this path or I can find another way to rebuild the muscles. The therapists have shown me ways to develop the muscles without causing any pain so I’m doing the exercises daily. Had this option been presented to me before, I may not have deteriorated to this level.
I can either continue to survive this and live, and do the best I can, OR I can thrive and push to the next level. This being a “decision” makes it a mindset issue. I have to decide whether I want to “survive” or “thrive”. I’ve chosen THRIVE, since the survive mentality has probably made my situation worse.
In my case I have to understand that this isn’t an overnight process, it’s going to take some time. I’ve moved my mind from survival mode to thrive mode simply by keeping moving and seeing progress. But in some cases this is nothing more than a decision to thrive instead of just surviving. Once that decision is made the mind will take over.
Where could each of us be doing better, at work, a relationship, our health our finances? Are we surviving or are we thriving?
There’s an old saying that says “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” If we think we can do something we can because our mind will find ways to do whatever we’ve decided we want to do. However, if we think we can’t we won’t be able to because our mind will find excuses to prevent us from even trying.
The difference between surviving and thriving is a decision. We can decide to go on ‘business as usual’ and make the best of it, OR we can decide to try something different until we find what works for us. Not making a decision is a decision in itself. In the words of the Templar who was guarding the cup that Jesus drank from during the Last Supper in the movie Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, “You Must Choose…Choose wisely.”