"Aspire to Inspire
before you Expire"
The Art of Thriving
By Steve King
What are the qualities that separate those who have the ability to
withstand the worst and yet are seemingly still able to thrive, from
those who catastrophise and view themselves as hapless and helpless
People who are good copers are often referred to as stress-hardy.
Psychologist Suzanne Kobasa has identified three attitudes that sustain
such individuals during demanding times. These attitudes are called the
three C`s: challenge, commitment, and control. A stress-hardy person
sees change and crisis as a challenge rather than a threat. Even when
they cannot control the outer situation, they realize that they always
have control over their response to the things that are happening.
There is a wise (Norman Cousins) saying that relates to this
phenomenon: "Suffering is
inevitable, but misery is optional."
Listed below are some of the ‘Thriver’ qualities, which have been
excerpted from ‘The Beethoven Factor:
The New Positive Psychology of Hardiness, Healing, and Hope’ by
Paul Pearsall, Hampton Roads Publishing 2003.
Thrivers are beings who can creatively construe situations that allow
themselves to develop an increasingly more encompassing and adaptive
They tend to have very strong immune systems and even at the worst of
times, they seem aware on some level of the rules by which it functions.
They have faith that no feeling will last forever. The “Have Faith,
Calm Down, and Don’t Despair” rule.
They sense that suffering is essential for a truly authentic life.
They seem to know or have learned to let their emotions flow naturally
rather than to cling to them.
They know that it’s not being afraid,
depressed, or anxious that destroys their lives; it’s allowing
themselves to get stuck in these emotional states. The “Let It Go” rule.
They encounter trauma and are able to make meaning out of what happened
(e.g. Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search
For Meaning), they are not only immunized against the next
adversity, they also become better able to recover more quickly from it.
They not only find more to enjoy about life, but are much happier with
They lower the threshold for being thrilled and forgive themselves for
their own shortcomings and the world for its seeming random harshness,
i.e. “It’s a lot easier to feel great when you don’t go around
expecting life to be fantastic.”
They can live, when necessary, with lower aspirations but realistically
raise their inspiration.
They are not blindly optimistic and are far from showing the
often-irritating, feigned cheerfulness.
They thrive because they mentally remain engaged with their problem
long enough to find meaning that helps to accommodate to whatever
happens to them.
They continue to be the creative composers of their own consciousness.
Some of the signs of creative composition and inner peace are:
- Tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than
from fear based on past experiences.
- An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
- Loss of interest in judging other people.
- Loss of interest in judging self.
- Loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
- Loss of interest in conflict.
- Loss of ability to worry (a very serious symptom)
- Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
- Contented feelings of connectedness with nature and
- Frequent attacks of smiling through the eyes from the
- Increased tendency to let things happen rather than
make them happen.
(Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation
Newsletter. Issue 63, 1986)
- Increased susceptibility to Love extended by others,
as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
“He who cannot change the very fabric
of his thought will never be able
to change reality.” President Anwar Sadat.
“All stress is internally generated
by one’s attitudes.” Dr. David
“The only thing I could change was my
attitude and by changing
that, everything changed.” Anthony de Mello.
“The greatest discovery of any
generation is that human beings can
alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” Albert
“The longer I live, the more I
realise the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important
than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than
failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It
is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or
break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a
choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. We
cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act
in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we
can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I
am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to
it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”