Are You Here To Survive Or Thrive?

You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.
— Marcus Aurelius
Leadership Survival

Are You Here To Survive Or Thrive?

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Why do you exist? Is it to do what you're doing right now? Counting down the days till the weekend or your next vacation? Even if you don't buy that there's a real purpose to life, riding things out, playing it safe and waiting for "someday" to live your life is heartbreaking. You're here for a reason.

I grabbed coffee last night with a couple of former colleagues. It's the dead of winter in Canada. Windows have a permanent frost despite the warmth of indoors. It gives you the sense you're in a place of refuge, staring out to the unknown. Looking around, muffled conversations slip in and out. Slight glimpses into the world of strangers. My friend Sarah mentioned a conversation she had with a nurse at work. Even though she’s still a good ten years from retirement, that nurse is already just going through the motions each day. There’s that generous pension at the end of the road. My reaction: “How could someone squander their life like that?” I didn't expect an answer, it was more of a statement.

I knew the answer. Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of disappointment  Fear of not being good enough. Fear of being wrong. The scariest fear of all.

As a Canadian, winter can feel like a lifetime. We dream of the sun soaking into our skin. It feeds the hope that summer is just around the corner. We promise ourselves to live life to the fullest when our world thaws. What if the thaw never came? What if our promises were excuses to avoid doing what scares us?

Waiting for the perfect circumstances is a fool's errand. Manifesting your own dreams is the key to fulfillment and happiness in life. Adopting this mindset is all you need to start living a life of intention and meaning.

Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning is an essential reading that explores this thought. His gripping account of living in concentration camps is sobering. Frankl felt that ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for. Never has there been a better time to be alive, despite a belief that we live in a turbulent world and circumstances are worse than ever. We've lost meaning.

From a man who had his identity stripped, saw his entire family murdered, come the words, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstance to choose one's own way."

Frankl firmly believed choice is power and in our response to choice lies our growth and freedom. When we are unable to change a situation, we are left with one thing to do. Challenge to change ourselves.

What were you put on this earth for? Find your purpose and share it with the world. Fulfillment will follow. The choice is yours.

Achieve the Impossible Speech - James Lawrence, widely known as The Iron Cowboy, shares the story of how hitting rock bottom triggered the shift he needed to become the best version of himself, giving him the determination to conquer 50 Iron Mans in 50 days.