Summing up a life that’s living up to its full potential doesn’t get any better than the word “thriving”. I love this word because it speaks to something much bigger than typical life goals like career, health, possessions, weight loss, or money. Thriving reflects those qualities, but mostly it reflects how you experience them. A true state of thriving never occurs in the absence of an individual that is honoring their life.
Thriving is a strong and uncommon state of Aliveness; a state that denotes the very best qualities of life on an ongoing basis. Do you know someone that embodies this state? Don’t worry if you can’t think of anyone. It’s entirely possible that you don’t know anyone whose life you’d honestly describe as thriving. It is, as I said, an uncommon state. It should never be used to describe anyone who’s merely normal. And normal is never the best state that is available to us.
Thriving doesn’t happen by chance or luck, and it’s never the result of any “7-Step” processes or pills, or even scientific intervention. None of those things is ever directly responsible, to any significant degree, for a thriving life. Good genes and nurturing can help, but those are never the make-or-break ingredients.
Look around you at your friends, neighbors, and the general public and describe what you see. Would you call it “thriving”? There are shining lights here and there, but on the whole, we’re missing the mark of thriving by a fairly wide margin. In this day of the internet, innumerable scientific studies, and leading experts on every aspect of life, why are we not thriving?
The answer is that we don’t really want to thrive. We can’t even remember why we should. All of the marvelous innovations of modern life have come at a price: they have robbed us of our most powerful reason for thriving.
I was watching my dog sleep this morning, and reflecting on the quality of her life. She exhibits a remarkable state of thriving. Nearly 7 years old, she receives constant comments on how vibrant and youthful she appears from nearly everyone who meets her. The vet is astounded by her vitality and the clinical signs of health. How did this happen? I never read a scientific study on what to do for a dog, or consulted any experts on the subject. The path to her thriving was merely a series of choices based on a deep love for her and a desire to provide here with an excellent quality of life.
The result of that is that she receives plenty of love and attention, eats the same foods she would have in the wild, and she lives in a fantastically natural environment. What occurred to me as I watched her sleep is that these are the same things a human needs to achieve a thriving state. Yet, we deny ourselves these qualities in exchange for other goals, like careers, money, status, recognition, and the list goes on.
If thriving is what you want and expect for your life, it’s there for the choosing. If thriving does not describe your current state, you have chosen that also. No scientific studies or leading expert opinion required. Just choosing: love and attention, and a pure environment. Can you even remember why that’s a great idea?
If that sounds too simple to you, why not just start with that. You are free to make it as complicated as you want beyond that simple prescription, but no other meaningful change is possible without that as a foundation.
By the way, my new book, titled “The Fountain Of You”, explores this very issue in greater detail. It will be widely available in print and all digital formats in May, 2017. Please subscribe to this blog for immediate notification of the official release.