OK, so let’s set some parameters for these 99 rules of thriving. You see, these rules are not pulled out of thin air. They come from my frame for what I understand are the elements of a thriving life.
As I have studied this, four areas of concern emerge in the pursuit of a thriving life. Each area is important, but it is the presence of all four that really put the whole thriving life into motion. Here are the four areas:
So here is a brief overview, and we will begin to enlarge as we move through the rules:
Thoughts and Mind: This broad category basically means that a thriving person understands the role that thoughts play in creating our reality, weaving our paradigm. In fact, I maintain that the majority of people misuse a major resource in life: their mind.
I believe that we have come to have very poor mind hygeine. We let our thoughts rule us, not us ruling our thoughts. We fail to notice that we are just thinking, and instead believe that our thoughts are reality.
Let’s face it: our mind was designed to think, to create thoughts. But it is up to us to decide on whether this will be a productive or destructive process.
Letting Go and Moving On: Our capacity to let go of something that is on our mind, has happened to us, or has not happened to us, is in direct ratio to our capacity to thrive. I would use the term “forgiveness,” but there is a great deal of extra baggage attached to that term. So I will say that forgiveness is a subcategory of this.
And in order to thrive, we must be able to take the next step past letting go of something; we must move on. People who thrive have discovered how to keep moving forward, regardless of the circumstances around them.
Gratitude and Appreciation: A hallmark of thrivers is the ability to experience gratitude. No, let me change that: to choose gratitude. Not only do they live in gratitude, they live in appreciation, the application of seeking out gratitude.
This is a choice in the stories we tell. Am I upset that I don’t have a big bank account, or am I grateful I have been able to pay what is necessary to keep going, for instance. This is partly about optimism, but is slightly different. Optimism is about how things will be in the future. Gratitude is choosing to be grateful for what already is.
Gratitude and appreciation helps to shift us out of the scarcity “what I don’t have” model to abundance. This keeps us from feeling desperate, which then leads to creative responses.
Meaning and Purpose: This is the final element of my model. It is the most important, and yet the most difficult to master. It is not the question “what is the meaning of life?” Instead it is the question of “what is meaningful to me?” Having a sense of meaning keeps us moving ahead, regardless of what is going on around us. Purpose is the way we live out that meaning.
When we have discovered our sense of meaning and how we find it, our purpose, then life becomes a joy to live. Too often, we pursue happiness, forgetting that this grows out of a meaningful life, lived with purpose.