South Central WI Archive
  • South Central Wisconsin
  • September 2016
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Healthy living: Is thriving better than surviving?

As of late, “thriving” has been a buzzword we often see, but what does thriving even mean?

Let’s ask

Thrive, verb:

1. To prosper; be fortunate or successful.

2. To grow or develop vigorously; flourish.

Which leads to this question: why should a thriving life be of importance?

In this new era of digital platforms, we may have noticed attention has become the social currency of choice.

Existing and sitting idle and binging out on the latest social media trend might have entertaining benefits perhaps, but lasting intrinsic value, most likely not.

There is a quote by author David Orr from his 1992 book Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World: “The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.”

We still see David Orr’s quote shared throughout social media but I also believe this quote is missing one other group: the “thrivers.”

This idea invites me to think even deeper about why a thriving life is important to our society and well-being as a whole.

Thrivers have stories of overcoming adversity that shift perspective. Thrivers don’t measure success externally by material accumulations but rather internally through the relationships they’ve grown and fostered.

Having interviewed TEDx speakers, best selling authors, social entrepreneurs and game changers, and heard their stories of self-discovery, they’ve learned that thriving begins as a monumental choice through self-awareness. They’ve made the leap from merely existing to prospering. They share their stories of empowerment for others to learn from and engage with and join in on a new perspective.

How can we thrive today?

First, we can start where we are in our communities by making a choice to fill a need.

Volunteering our time, money and/or material possessions for charity and stepping into servitude fills more than a need but keeps a community thriving when we help the disenfranchised.

Next, we can start internal growth by journaling the things we’re grateful for that have perhaps gotten lost in our busy lives.

Yes, acknowledge the smaller accomplishments through journaling. Write down all the things that we haven’t acknowledged by honoring them on paper and listing them out. Track back the lifetime and jot down the small stuff because in the big picture they all matter. (Not for the ego, but for the small acknowledgements of growth that have not had their day in the sun.)

Finally, making a choice to thank and be in a state of gratitude is important to a thriver. Being grateful for all that we have through our words and actions now takes what we wrote down and makes it reality by expressing it vocally and through acts of continued kindness.

We can setback idle thinking about impacting lives and making a difference as we scroll through our social media feed or we can be the change.

We need the peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, lovers and thrivers to fight for moral values and leave their imprint in this world for others to learn from.

Is thriving better than surviving?

Merely, surviving does not invite extraordinary growth, but a thriving life where we learn from others, share with others and grow with others can be the choice that elevates this world from hate and despondency and instead make the world habitable and humane for all.

Vidal Cisneros Jr.

Vidal Cisneros Jr. is a published author, speaker and weekly podcast host at Vidal has keynoted conferences and held multiple Barnes and Noble booksellers book talks and book signings. Vidal has been featured and written for, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and is a contributor for Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can find Vidal’s story featured in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible.” Vidal grew up and lives in southeastern Wisconsin. For more information go to

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