Jon Foreman, frontman for the band Switchfoot and one of my favorite writers, wrote a song called “Thrive”.  In the song, he sings the lyrics “I want to thrive, not just survive” (here’s the link in case you want to hear it).  And that really is what sparked the ideas for this post.  It’s this idea that drives us to do more than we could have ever dreamed, a thought that dares us to press harder for results, to work later, to train more, and so on.  This thought of thriving through life and getting the most out of it is something that people usually regret not doing, and usually admit this later on in life.  So you’re reading this because you’re on and your wondering how do I make my life successful?  But I have recently become fascinated with the question: Why do I want to live a successful life?

I cannot help but think of the theories of evolution when I approach this topic.  Now hear me well, I’m not about to bash evolution. I think it’s an amazing concept!  To think that there is evidence that suggests that man evolved over millions of years to become who we are today is astounding and, dare I say, miraculous.  But I find myself critiquing an aspect of it: evolution for survival.  My understanding of evolution (mind you I am not well versed in the topic nor would I ever claim to be an expert in the field) is that over a long span of time, living organisms evolved in order to survive.  In my layman’s terms, apes began to stand upright (you really must forgive my weak adaptation of a more complex theory).  But as I have learned it from former science teachers, this is the essential thought behind evolution.

Now, humans are fully capable of living sustainable life.  We reproduce, we invent, we work, we learn, we keep on going.  And the intriguing part to me is that we keep on wanting to go further though we have no legitimate reason to.  For some reason, there is this remarkable drive to make things, to speak in the words of Daft Punk, “harder, better, faster, and stronger”.  When we think about the technological advances that have been made in the past centuries, they have mainly been to make things more convenient.  Life still would have gone on even if iPads were not invented.  Governments have been corrupt, diseases have killed, and technology of old have become antique pieces.  And yet humanity advanced by choice.  There was a thought that maybe things could be done differently.

Though governments were corrupt, there was reform; though diseases have killed many, there were those who dedicated their lives to finding out how to cure ailments; technology is developed, then people decide there is an easier, more convenient way of doing things.  Humanity didn’t survive in the middle of trying to live life well, but rather the inverse.  Humanity did not die out in the past but rather we have progressed due to conscious choices to improve the quality and longevity of our existence.  Still as remarkable as the evolution theory, but distinctly different.  We have an insatiable desire to thrive instead of survive.

So let’s recap.  We as humans have a mentality that drives us to do better and live a life worth living not out of necessity, but rather because we want it to matter.  We don’t want to sit mindlessly at the driver’s seat and go through life aimlessly.  We want to take control, even make the ride easier.  We want a life with luster, longevity, and legacy!  I find evolution fascinating, but in the end insufficient because I do not believe that it represents humanity with the right amount of grandeur and awe.  It glorifies how humanity came into being, but not the product.

So what is my point? You probably just read my ramblings and just thought that.  I thought that as I was planning this!  But here it is: the desire for success is not one of genetic mutation and evolutionary design, but one of the human will.  The will to do great things and to live a successful life is amazing and somehow we do not acknowledge it as such.  You decided it’s time to live a life that you want to live, or more accurately, enjoy living.  So you decided to find out how.  You want to thrive.

Wanting a successful life is normal. Wanting more in life than just survival is normal.  Wanting a successful life also seems to be one of the markers that we are human.  So embrace it, fight with it, conquer it.  Be challenged by this to not just survive, but thrive.


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