‘Not just to live, but to thrive’ That’s the motto here. But what does it mean?
Although it may obvious, I ask the question because my ideas may not be the same as yours.
To me, thriving is not about the materialistic growth of accumulation.
It’s not about getting that more expensive car, upgrading to a bigger house, chasing status and wealth.
I’m not against these things as such, but I see them as not as the aim of life, but a possible side effect of making good life choices.
It’s also not a perpetual indulgence of sensory pleasures and feelings to the exclusion of all else. Good food, loud music, and feeling euphoric are not the purpose of our existence. In excess they can leave us in nervous exhaustion or apathy. But in moderation they do help us enjoy the journey along the way.
The growth I want to talk about, the growth I want is more of a psychological and spiritual one.
Think of it as tuning an instrument, in order for good music to be made the instrument must be calibrated.
But it’s also about art, creating meaning for yourself through what you choose to create, build.
The enemy of thriving is stagnation. A stilted, wilting existence that neither adapts nor flowers.
Stagnation is something we don’t want yet it has a certain appeal. We can remain in safety and security when we don’t take risks, don’t leave the comfort of what’s is familiar.
Avoidance of this state is of the utmost importance and includes a set of skills the first of which is awareness.
To accomplish this requires action on many facets of our lives:
- Coping with the stresses of the world
- Maintaining health
- Developing useful skills
- Making connections with others
- Helping others
- Finding meaning and purpose as the reason to grow
- Addressing your suffering
- Seeing more clearly
- Making all this sustainable
Using another metaphor can be seen as plant or animal which grows well in its environment. Neither stunted, wilted or incapacitated. The plant has reached a certain accord with its surroundings, which leads to its growth.
Growth for individuals is going to be a journey CHECK ALAN WATTS, a process of becoming better at what we do, what to say, and knowing what to avoid.
It’s about making peace with who we are and the world we live in.
To thrive can mean many things.
- It’s about being less afraid, facing fears, expanding horizons. To address our own suffering and those of others
- The wisdom to focus on what matters need leave behind the unimportant, the superfluous
- Finding the middle way, and avoiding the extremes
- It’s about increasing your capabilities by learning new skills, gaining new knowledge
- Thriving is about being more able to make a difference, making a contribution
- Also, it’s a better understanding of oneself so that you can live a life with focus
- To live in a way that is personally fulfilling
- To make a contribution to others
- To live more in harmony with what exists rather than try to always destroy those things that are unpleasant, troubling
- To be humble in knowing that we don’t know everything and can’t. To always admit that there’s always something more to learn
- To see more clearly about how the world works and how we work, so our efforts become more effective and less harmful
You might call this power, not power in a punitive, egotistical controlling way. But power as in capability, influence, or impact. But ethics must get involved so to clarify it’s to create positive change, to be of benefit to others and the world at large.
Thriving is the result of becoming better at being human, whilst still allowing for all the imperfection, doubt, mistakes and ignorance that are also part of who we are.
To thrive to live well. To live long and prosper as Mr Spock would say.