What does it take to survive? What does it take to thrive? How much distance lies in between these two words? I was about to find out while standing in line at the grocery store the other day. I made my way up to the cashier and began to put my groceries on the conveyor belt. The cashier asked how I was doing. I was in a bad mood that day (distracted by my first world problems,) and I mumbled “good and you?” back to him. “Surviving,” the cashier answered me. Hmmm. That stopped me in my tracks and I looked up at the cashier as he was ringing my items through. He had a plain expression on his face and was going through the motions of his job. Surviving? That got me thinking…was that what I was doing? Particularly on that bad day? Just surviving?
Survival Is Step #1
What does it take to survive in today’s day and age? There are a few things that come to mind, like acquiring and holding down a job or maintaining a career. This job then allows for shelter and food, these probably being the basic necessities in our world today for survival. Safety here in North America is not really an issue for the average person, so our survival is not threatened by any physical attacks or danger of that kind. This leads me to believe that basically if we have a means to make money, have food to eat and a roof over our heads….we are successfully surviving. For many of us, this survival process may also include keeping our offspring alive and surviving as well.
So it’s safe to say that I too am surviving. I was surviving on that particular day at the grocery store. But that wasn’t going to cut it for me. When I got home from the store and thought about the cashier’s response, I knew I had heard him say that answer for a reason. Not only did I have a nice little conversation with him about the summer time, to cheer us both up, I also decided I was going to figure out how to become an expert on thriving…not just surviving. Going through the motions of life, doing today what I did yesterday? That wasn’t what I wanted! Making the same decisions, thinking the same thoughts I thought last month, last night, an hour ago? What kind of life is that? Not one I wanted to be a part of! So that left me with one question. How do we move from surviving…to thriving?
Awareness Is The First Step Towards Thriving
I quickly discovered the first step is becoming aware of the fact that we are going through the motions of our life on auto pilot. Living each day as we have for many, many, days before. Awareness is such a key point in this process, one that is so simple yet so elusive for many. Once we have this awareness, desire will most likely ensue. Desire for something more. We can set this desire in motion, which will help us to create the life we want, a life of thriving. A life that will inspire and motivate us. When I think about what inspires and motivates me, what it would take to thrive in my life, I think of passion. What am I passionate about? How often do the things I am passionate about show up in my every day life? Sometimes it takes a little while to figure out what we are passionate about. For me, I am passionate about creativity. I love the feeling I get when I am creating something…anything. Whether I’m creating a story or a painting, decorating a room or creating a meal, the feeling I get is like a high. Time flies without my awareness, I feel excitement in my stomach and enthusiasm to share my creation with others.
Do What Excites You
The things that I am passionate about, and that give me these inspired feelings, act as pointers for how I can thrive in my life. If I am feeling inspired and passionate within any given day, then I know I am thriving. If I am being creative within any given day, then I know I am thriving. If I am around other people that are being creative and inspiring me, then yes, you guessed it -I know I am thriving. Creativity is a big one for me, but passion and inspiration can look different to other people. The key is finding out what excites you, what intrigues you, what elicits curiosity in you, what ignites and motivates you. These feelings can not be sustained all day or every day, but if you are feeling them on a consistent basis, then you can rest assured knowing that personal growth is occurring. You are not just surviving your life…you are thriving in your life! Currently, I am in the process of discovering new things I am passionate about. I am learning that this process is constantly evolving, because I am constantly evolving. I am not the same person I was five years ago, or even six months ago. Now when I am at the grocery store and notice I am in a bad mood, I take pleasure in the thought that I can go home and create a nice meal, or write a blog post, or do something else that makes me feel creative and enthusiastic. I know I will not have just survived that day, but thrived in that day!
What moves you from surviving to thriving? Let me know in the comments section!