Stop Surviving and Start Living

I can’t tell you how many people I encounter that answer the question, “How are you doing?” with “I’m surviving”. What kind of life is that? Unless you are going through a potentially terminal illness (where being a survivor = thriving) or a major trauma, I have to say if all you’re looking to do is survive, you haven’t set the bar high enough. AND, just trying to make it through takes a hell of a lot more energy than setting yourself up to thrive. Not to mention, what happens once you “make it through”? What then?

One of my more favorite Melissa Etheridge lyrics is “survival is fine but satisfaction is rough”. It just really fits the mood of the song (“Ain’t it Heavy” in case the “what song is that?” question is killing you). But as a life lesson, I would beg to differ and say that survival or even satisfaction alone isn’t enough. To me, living fully and savoring experiences is worth going after.

The way I see it is we can either spend life in a constant state of struggle trying like hell to get enough or we can change our thinking and behavior to that of abundance. A belief that there truly is abundance – more than enough of whatever we need – in the world.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is an area in which I continue to grow. Abundance thinking has not come easily to me. I have a strong right brain, accounting degree, mathematical, “prove it to me” mentality. I’m practical, realistic, and have a need to know. BUT I also know from actual experience that when I let that all go and TRUST, I am far more likely to get all that I need and want (and then some) with far more ease than I thought possible. It is like an invisible force out there, the Universe (or whatever you like to call a power greater than yourself–spirit, God, etc.) is working on my behalf.

Are you struggling?
Take a quick assessment of your struggle factor.

  • Do you feel like you’re trying like mad but getting nowhere?
  • If someone asked you how you were doing would you say you are surviving? Thriving? Or somewhere in between?
  • Does everything you do seem to be harder than it should be?
  • What benefit do you get from your struggles? The chance to complain? Commiserate? Avoid taking a risk? Deny feeling your feelings?

What are your standards like?

  • Do you set high standards? Low standards? Or settle for whatever happens?
  • Do you follow the “don’t get your hopes up” way of life so you can avoid disappointment (and success)?
  • Are you living in a way that you are “just getting by”?

I love this quote on standards:

“Let us be about setting high standards for life, love, creativity, and wisdom. If our expectations in these areas are low, we are not likely to experience wellness. Setting high standards makes every day and every decade worth looking forward to.”

Greg Anderson

Do you trust?

  • Can you let go and just trust in a given situation? Or, do you need to be in control at all times (which is an illusion anyway, but more on that another time)?
  • Do you have a belief system that believes in some power greater than yourself (whatever you may choose to call it)?

Pondering these few questions alone will get you thinking about where you fall on the surviving –> thriving scale. And, if you find you’re struggling more than you would like its ok. This new awareness will allow you to create a new beginning starting today, one with more ease and trust.

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Google+ Comments


  1. I'm moving from surviving to abundance and boy is it tough! It doe seem the more I do the less things seem to happen. What's interesting is that I just made the decision to increase my fees for my consulting practice…good idea…but my partner and I have had a couple of lean months that are about to kill us!

    I was happy for the reminders in lesson 3 though…I'm going to do the worksheets and see what I find!

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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