Much of life may feel like a balancing act between surviving and thriving. Surviving refers to our mundane day to day responsibilities which help to keep us a float and functioning within society. Some of these responsibilities include going to work, going to school, eating breakfast, getting an oil change. These responsibilities add value to our life in the sense that they keep us alive and facilitate our ability to continue fulfilling them. These responsibilities reflect this concept of “surviving”.
Alternately, the concept of “thriving” is less intuitive. Thriving refers to the meaning and value we assign to our lives and how we work towards fostering these values. Instead of the mundane responsibilities that keep us functional within society, thriving entails activities that we seek out primarily for the inherent value and meaning it instills within us, as opposed to the activity serving only as a means for survival.
We Need Both
It’s clear we need both surviving and thriving to live holistically healthy and balanced lives. However, we find that survival can overshadow any attempts towards thriving. We have mounting responsibilities that are central to our life. If we don’t go to work, we risk losing our homes. Surviving is the corner stone of our existence so it is natural that it tends to overshadow the concept of thriving.
In fact many feel surviving is more important than thriving because in order to implement the concept of thriving into our lives we must be surviving at a sufficient level.
Eating healthy, practicing good sleep hygiene, exercising are small steps we can take towards thriving. Finding small moments of relaxation, such as listening to music, reading about a topic that interests you, cooking, and spending time with a friend are also small activities that push us closer to the concept of thriving.
Balancing Surviving & Thriving
The key seems to be balance. Too much of one disrupts our sense of inner peace and overall mental health wellness. When thriving becomes more central to surviving, we may find ourselves unstable financially. When surviving dominates any attempts towards thriving, we may find ourselves extremely stressed, anxious, and in a constant state of worry.
Finding a balance between the two is a day to day process. Our responsibilities are fairly consistent each day, we go to work at a set schedule, we pick our kids up from school at the same time during the week. Our activities for relaxation may not be this structured. It’s good to start with small acts each day and let them facilitate the fulfillment of our responsibilities.
Balancing surviving with thriving makes life more meaningful, more enjoyable, and allows us to make sense of the pain of survival.
Given we have infinite responsibilities that are difficult to “get out of“, we are left with the choice of trying to minimize our responsibilities, or making sense and meaning of them.
In rising above this survival mindset we enter a higher level of thought process and we are able to transform our pain into something greater.