Leadership. Many would say they understand the fundamental difference between thriving and surviving.

Most leaders would easily choose thriving over surviving at any given moment in time.

So why is it that I see so much hype around teaching business leaders and others how to “survive”?

How can any justice come from teaching businesses to perspire as a reaction to the economy and endorse protectionism and stagnation as a tool for growth?

How can survival assist any business in a world that is in constant evolution and demands consistent adaptation to change?

Let’s take a more in depth look at the fundamental difference between the two so that you can better understand which would be the one of choice.

Survive: Intransitive verb – to remain alive or in existence

Thrive: Intransitive verb – to grow vigorously or realize a goal despite circumstances

Based on what you can see above, you have already been surviving up until now. Unless of course, you have arisen from the dead to read this blog.

So the question is, are you in search of the same thing, or are you in search of something different?

Chances are, if you are not happy where you are right now, then you would be more interested in a change.

Can change be created out of survival? Yes! Can change be achieved by thriving? Yes! Then what is the difference between the two?

A Survival State of Mind

  • One whom approaches life with the notion of surviving, will pursue paths with the least resistance.
  • Will stand around and wait for external variables to shift, being as reactive as perspiration is to heat.
  • Will seek to streamline the business by hacking away at the core of its business, resulting in the expulsion of the most useful of tools and productive measures.

Relative Quotes & Stories

Napoleon Hill is quoted as saying, “The path of least resistance makes all rivers, and some men, crooked.”

Louis B. Mayer, the founder of MGM was well known for making surprise appearances throughout the many studios during production and filming. One day, he walks into a studio, only to find the producer and director sitting around, doing nothing. To his dismay, and dislike, he asks the director, ‘What is going on here? Why are you all just sitting around?’ The producer shoots up to his feet and answers, ‘Mr. Mayer, we are lost for ideas, and have not been able to come up with additional material.’ Mr. Mayer swiftly responded, not allowing the producer to finish his complete thought, ‘Well for God’s sake, do something, anything. If it is good, we’ll keep it, and if it is bad, we’ll fix it. But for God’s sake, do something!’

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Henry Ford is quoted as saying, “Stopping advertising to save money is like trying to stop your watch, to save time.”

A Thriving State of Mind

  • An individual who steps forward with the intent to thrive does not react to challenges. Instead, they confront challenges with the intent of turning such challenges into opportunity.
  • Leaders seek out obstacles in order to promote change in their environment, thus causing an external reaction, as opposed to wielding the sword of reaction internally.
  • One whose purpose is to thrive will seek ways to invest in its core business while others see a dormant survival as good enough. A time of struggle is when you must invest the most, both in yourself and the tools that assist you in achieving your goals.

Relative Quotes & Stories

Ernest Hemingway is quoted as saying, “Never mistake motion for action.”

“Change does not necessarily assure progress, but progress implacably requires change.“ – unknown

Sigmund Freud said, “Just as a cautious businessman avoids investing all his capital in one concern, so wisdom would probably admonish us also not to anticipate all our happiness from one quarter alone.”

What Thriving Is and What Surviving Is Not

  • Not allowing external variables impact how you view obstacles internally.
  • A fundamental understanding that without change, there can be no progress.
  • A respect for the mistakes that come along with change and the error that leads to progress.
  • Knowing how to take advantage of disadvantaged situations in order to re-evaluate, learn, and identify applicable lessons in one’s error.
  • Always moving, independent of the dormant environment one may find in their surrounding.
  • Move others to action through innovative ways to create new opportunities

What is the Leadership State of Mind?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Nelson Santiago
Nelson is co-founder of Picasso Einstein a firm that provides branding consulting services for businesses. They also teach entrepreneurship to persons with disabilities and their families through the "E4i" (Entrepreneurship 4 Independence) program. Picasso Einstein is currently assisting the Dan Marino Foundation to develop the Entrepreneurship Program for the Marino Campus, a school of higher learning for young adults with developmental disabilities.