What Does It Mean to Thrive?
Dr. Daniel Brown, a sport and exercise scientist at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, provides a simple explanation when he says, “Thriving appears to come down to an individual experiencing a sense of development, of getting better at something, and succeeding at mastering something. In the simplest terms, what underpins it is feeling good about life and yourself and being good at something.”
Underpinning this simple definition is a list of so-called enablers, or factors that increase our likelihood of thriving. Dr. Brown, and colleagues set out to develop an all-encompassing concept of “thriving” which covers a variety of population groups. The group decided to review the existing literature on the topic and attempted to achieve three aims.
Firstly, Dr. Brown and colleagues wanted to come up with an all-encompassing concept of thriving that covers various population groups, from babies to adults.
Secondly, they wanted to put forth a set of key principles that we can all apply if we wish to thrive in our daily lives.
And finally, the third goal of the review was to identify gaps in the existing research and outline directions for future research.
Dr. Brown explained the motivation for the study, saying, “Part of the reason for a lack of consensus is [that] the research so far has been narrowly focused.” Dr. Brown and the researchers noted that, in order to thrive, not all factors are required, but a combination of some elements, or “personal enablers” could lead to a thriving life.
“Personal enablers” include having a positive outlook on life, being religious or spiritual, having a proactive personality, being motivated, being committed to learning and expanding one’s knowledge, being psychologically resilient, and being socially competent – that is, surrounded by family, friends, and colleagues.
Receiving support from one’s family, colleagues, and employers is also important, and being given a high degree of autonomy and being trusted as competent are key elements.
Dr. Brown offers a simpler explanation.
“[Thriving] appears to come down to an individual experiencing a sense of development, of getting better at something, and succeeding at mastering something. In the simplest terms, what underpins it is feeling good about life and yourself and being good at something.”
Jerry Nelson is an American writer living the expat life in Argentina. You can find him at any of hundreds of sidewalk cafes and hire him through Fiverr, join the quarter-million who follow him on Twitter or contact him at [email protected]