COLLEGE PARK, MD –
Many of us know how to survive. In some ways there is an ease to survival.
One has little choice in matters – he or she simply must do what they have to do to get through a time or situation. Thriving can pose a more difficult challenge if one has passed through the stage of survival without the tools to know how to thrive.
Many people in our communities bemoan the state of the people in them. Old bemoan young. Young bemoan old. Wheels are reinvented and stability is eschewed.
The old say the young don’t care. The young say the elders are out of touch and refuse to pass the baton. These criticisms have truth to them, but they do not properly identify the issue at hand. They simply point to symptoms of the disease.
The disease is a lack of understanding, by young and old equally, of how people and communities pass through the stage of survival with grace and continue on to thrive.
Everyone has challenges in life. We need to be survivors to get through them productively.
Many of us are remarkably good at surviving. We need to be more than that, though, and avoid a common pitfall to happiness – both individually and communally.
To survivors, the pursuits of those who do not share the pressure to survive can appear frivolous. Those without that pressure, not wanting to appear frivolous, take on the baggage of survival unnecessarily and artificially and are never equipped to thrive – their real imperative.
Make no mistake – knowing how to thrive is just as important as knowing how to survive. Glorifying survival to the point where people feel sub-par without a story of hardship and self-reliance is not a good thing. It serves nothing but the lower-self.
Survivors aren’t good at much other than survival. Preparers are the ones who always have something to offer.
Someone who survives can achieve neutrality at best – they suffer a blow, come out of the subsequent negative state and return to the mean. There is value in that, for sure. If one is only a survivor, however, they will be destined for an average life.
Those that live their best lives are preparers.
A preparer knows when simply returning to the mean is a victory. Sometimes it takes all we have just to do so. They also know when people are artificially sticking to the mean (ie the status quo) in the name of survival.
They know that is the time to get creative and thrive. Their leadership is a product of acting on that knowledge which is born from their training as givers.
For a preparer, surviving and thriving are simply tools for the situation they see before them. If reaching tomorrow requires survival today, they survive. If it requires thriving today, they thrive.
So which is better – surviving or thriving? Neither one.
What is better is knowing when the proper time is for each.