The Best Way To Thrive Is To help Others Survive
Bill Cottringer

“We do not live to think, but, on the contrary, we think in order that we may succeed in surviving.” ~Jose Ortega y Gasset.

The best way to thrive is to help others survive…but first you have to master surviving yourself! In case you haven’t noticed, there is an ever widening gap between many of us who are just trying to survive and the few of us who are starting to thrive. Personally, I think the main purpose of all the wisdom and advice of the mega self-growth/positive psychology movement is to help the few shadow-making thrivers learn how to teach the intermediate success translators who can in turn learn to help the many survivors progress in their success journeys.

Survival “tests” happen continuously even when you are convinced you have graduated to thriving. Consider these perpetual tests that never seem to go away, no matter how “successful” a person becomes:

• Trying to be genuinely appreciative of and content with what you have, without always wanting more as a result of your deserving efforts.
• Trying to resolve troublesome conflicts with others in your personal or work life, especially when they may not want to.
• Trying to eat right, exercise and be healthy, despite of the increasing speed and stress of modern living.
• Trying to avoid the treadmill trap and do what matters most in “beating the clock.”
• Trying to accept that the “something for nothing” drive we are all addicted to is not the way life actually works, including the gradual realization of this insight itself.
• Trying to improve your communication skills to be clearer and have more positive impact, without the opportunity for reliable feedback.
• Trying to unravel the misunderstanding from miscommunication with the same words that caused the problem.
• Trying to understand the mystery of life to be surer of your purpose and the meaning of everything so you aren’t missing anything valuable.
• Trying to manage your time and money to be able to have more fun in life as a diversion from work overload.
• Trying to forgive others when they have hurt you by being unfair or going against your values.

These and other similar tests are what the thrivers are challenged with to prove their own survival skills well enough to teach the hand-holding success translators to pass on the clues to the many other people busy trying to learn how to survive these and other similar on-going challenges:

• Making enough money to pay the bills from a job you don’t like.
• Working, going to school, and raising a family all at the same time.
• Solving everyday problems, conflicts and obstacles still in the way of goals you have already lowered.
Learning the basics of relating with others and speaking and writing well.
• Raising kids to have a fighting chance in life with needed values that aren’t presently popular or supported in their culture.
• Correcting wrong perceptions that you have of others or which others have of you, either way getting in the way.
• Making smarter choices that lead to long-term gains, in spite of all the tempting short-range alternatives available and the difficult sacrifices required.
Learning how to take a chance and cooperate with others instead of helping to perpetuate the prevalent win-lose, go nowhere competitive climate.
• Managing time and stress better to avoid pushing bad moods onto others or missing out on important opportunities.
• Understanding the need to focus more on enjoying people’s similarities than being bothered by their differences.

The intermediate success translators have a huge challenge ahead in closing the gap between the many still struggling to survive and the few beginning to enjoy the abundance of thriving. It all starts with dealing with reality the way it is rather than the way we would prefer it to be. Reality is that things are not nearly as okay as we think, but they can be.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA., along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the scenic mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including his latest book “Reality Repair” coming soon from Global Vision Press and being premiered on You-Tube shortly by Inventive Productions. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or