Thriving – Make This 1 Choice to Move Beyond Surviving

Posted April 10, 2013 by Rebecca Niziol in On the Ladder

thrive above and beyond

“I’m so stressed out!”

When was the last time you said that? Last week? Today? Five minutes ago? I’m pretty sure that phrase makes it on the “Top 5 Things Americans Say” list. If not, it should be an honorary addition.

Let’s be real, stress is a part of life. There will always be something that throws us a little off our game, challenges us, and isn’t what we wanted. Loved ones pass sooner than we hoped. Friends are diagnosed with cancer. We lose our jobs. We bite off more than we can chew. We break-up with people we thought we’d be with forever. It happens. (Don’t worry this whole blog isn’t a downer!)

In the midst of these stressful life circumstances we  choose to join one of two tribes: Survivors or Thrivers.

Survivors do just that – they survive. They go about life using the fight or flight response. Typically they either feel they are at the mercy of their circumstances, or that life is working against rather than for them. This group makes do, and gets by.

When we…

  • choose to operate from fear
  • allow self-criticism and comparison with others to become our habits
  • let worry from the past and doubt for the future distract us from being in the present moment

We are choosing to survive.

Thrivers go beyond merely surviving. They rise above the fight or flight response, and chose a different perspective. Even under stress, they make the most of their circumstances and find new and healthy ways to view their experiences. They find creative and powerful ways to handle the cards they are dealt. They come up with ideas and solutions that enable them to experience happiness and healthiness over a lifetime, not just in the moment. This group soars and succeeds.

When we…

  • look at every obstacle as an opportunity
  • see the bigger picture amidst chaos and the unknown
  • choose actions that reflect our greatest potential

We are choosing to thrive.

One extremely important point I want to make: both groups experience the same amount of stressful situations. Thrivers’ lives are not devoid of stress. There is no “exception” for that group. Yet, there is one very clear difference between Survivors and Thrivers.

Thrivers know that they have the power to choose how they see any circumstance, and they make the choice to respond rather than react to their circumstances.

Instead of running on auto-pilot and going through the motions, they remain present and fully aware when stress enters their lives. They decide to view their circumstances from a loving, connected, and conscious minded lens.

When we react it is not conscious… we are allowing years of conditioning, habits, and negative patterns to make decisions for us. If a giant tiger was running at you, your flight response would likely kick in, and without thinking you would race like hell away from the beast. You would get away and survive. Now think about a more common present day scenario: You’ve got a crazy boss who won’t get off your back, and constantly belittles you and doesn’t give you credit for your work. Do you react or respond? Do you avoid dealing with it, or get angry? Do you fight or flight? Or do you choose to respond consciously by picking a different way of behaving?

When we respond we are constantly in the act of being in the present moment and deciding how we want to think, feel, and behave given the situation in front of us. When we do this over and over, in each moment, we thrive.

You always have a choice: survive or thrive. Surviving can be exhausting if you chose to live your life that way. It takes so much energy to keep our bodies, minds, and spirit just above baseline. It is actually easier in the long run to thrive, because it gives us energy, lifts us up, and creates opportunities and possibilities. Thriving takes more awareness and presence, but brings more happiness, success, and fulfillment.

Which tribe do you want to be in: Survivors or Thrivers?


Are you are looking for more information, strategies, and tools to rise above the stress in your life?

Rebecca is offering a FREE 7 Day Stress Cleanse kicking off Monday, April 22nd 2013.  In as little as 15 minutes a day, you will be empowered with what you need to thrive. She will identify and clear out patterns keeping you connected to stress, and help you create new healthy habits that give you more time, energy, and peace of mind. Sign up today!

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.