Are you Thriving or Just Surviving?


Do you handle challenges with dignity OR do you kick and scream and expect the worst?

No matter where you are in your life, you have an opportunity to make it better.
If you’ve just gone through divorce, even if it wasn’t your choice, you can thrive. If you’ve just lost a loved one, you can thrive. If you’ve had a serious illness or still do, you can thrive.

You can make the decision between just hanging on by your fingertips OR being resilient and surpassing the difficulties of wherever you are.

I know that might sound airy-fairy or perhaps a little impossible to you, but I’m here to reinforce to you that it is all your choice.

Case in point. A couple of years back, there was a man named Randy Pausch. He was a young professor and a married Dad of two young children. He also had a serious case of pancreatic cancer (actually all pancreatic cancers are serious and almost always fatal.) Randy became very public by his attitude of LIVING even in the face of death. As his condition worsened, he held a “last” lecture for all of his students. The lecture was transcribed and lengthened into a book called The Last Lecture. In that book, Randy taught us more about living and thriving even in the midst of dying. In fact, the profits from that book were intended to help his wife and family take care of themselves after his death. He was purposeful. She shared impending death as a way to help others.

Why do I share this with you? Well, you can’t get too much more self-absorbed then when experiencing death AND yet, even with such a diagnosis, you CAN choose/ make a decision to thrive anyhow. Most of you are not yet facing death .. it’s just the most serious example. Perhaps it creates a perspective of how important other issues are in comparison.

You’ve all heard the expression:  “it’s all about attitude, right? Well, it’s true. How you tackle the issues in your life have much to do with your choices. Think of people you know or who are public and announce challenging experiences. Think about what they say, how they say it. Do they keep it to themselves? Do they share the experience? Do they seem positive? Or, do they speak in totally negative terms like life has completely overpowered them and they resist?

When you resist something, it persists. It goes on. And, in the process of it going on, you survive … but you don’t THRIVE.

I have a friend that has many physical symptoms at the moment. She is constantly thinking that she has stomach cancer or brain cancer or some horrible illness. Yes, she does have symptoms … no doubt about it. But in the process of trying to figure out medically what’s wrong, she only sees the worst case scenario. She’s determined to prove that she has a serious illness or is dying. Now, do you think that in the midst of that conversation she will make herself “right?” Or do you think she is thriving, e.g. having a great life? I accompanied her the other day to the hospital. She did, indeed, have a CAT scan on her brain. It was negative to any tumor indicators. Although a bit relieved, her comment was … “I’m still not convinced … maybe I should insist on an MRI to be more specific.” At that point, I nearly gave up.

So, ask yourself some questions … no matter what the circumstance you may be dealing with:
1. How do I generally cope with a difficult situation?
2. When I go through something challenging, do I just “survive” it?
3. Do I always see the worst case scenario?
4. Am I someone, that even in the midst of a challenge, can keep my head up and move through it with grace and resolve?
5. Do I find myself being supportive of my loved ones and reassuring them that we will get through this together?
6. Am I filled with bitterness and do I stoke the fires of  a “that’s not FAIR” conversation?
7. Do I do all that I can do to keep my attitude positive? Do I pray or in some way meditate around the issue in a positive way … asking for the best outcome?
8. Even if the outcome is appearing to be unfortunate, do I handle it and continue to go through it with courage?
9. Do I live life to the fullest?

Only you can make the decision or choose how to react to challenges. You can struggle, demand, fight, not believe …. OR you can be calm, try all things possible, have acceptance for where you are, help those around you accept what’s happening.

You can “survive” … hanging on by your fingertips OR you can THRIVE.