Why should you thrive rather than survive? If you understand Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, surviving is basically getting your fundamental physiological needs attended to. These basic needs are breathing, food, water, sleep, warmth, sex, excretion, and homeostasis. As you can see, surviving is simply existing. When you begin to thrive, you move up the hierarchy to the needs of safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization and away from the basic needs of survival.

Effects of Being In A Constant State Of Survival

When you merely survive rather than thrive, you are in a cyclical state of only getting your basic needs met. This means that you are neither growing and developing or prospering and flourishing. Think about it. If I am always seeking for food for every meal, how can I possibly think about safety or esteem, for that matter? When I am hungry, I am going to do what I need to do to get that food to fill my stomach. This could mean I’ll beg, hunt, or steal it.  Safety is not a concern since I am actually placing myself in danger. Think about the families that live in poverty, and then think about the crime rates in these communities. They are in a constant state of survival!

Decisions Based On Survival

Another downfall when you survive rather than thrive is that all of your decisions are based on your basic physiological needs. If I want to go to school but I am hungry, I will work at a menial job. I may even get into criminal behavior. How can I get ahead? When I am in this constant state of survival, my emotions could be in a constant state of anxiety or upset. My mind is far from thinking about self-actualization – realizing my potentialities.

Getting Out of the Survival Cycle

Now you ask, how can I thrive rather than survive? By taking one step at a time.

  • Change your mental and emotional state by thinking good thoughts or by moving (e.g. exercise).
  • Write in a gratitude journal; give thanks.
  • Get connected with others that you look up. What positive people do you admire?
  • Instead of crying, laugh at life.
 This is a start to create some change. Be consistent. Find your hunger.


“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” Maya Angleou.

1 Comment. Leave new

  • I believe that so many people have become complacent and are just surviving. They have accepted survival as a way of life. You are absolutely correct. Thriving is more uplifting than surviving.


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