Graduating students will soon be celebrating the completion of their studies and relish the ability to go out and start living life. A graduation ceremony is called commencement for a good reason. It is a beginning and perhaps a chance to start thriving, not striving.
Most students are burdened with the conditioning and conformity that has been demanded of them up to this point in their lives. They have been told what to do or not do, what is good or bad and what is success or failure or society’s norms for growing up and being a success.
Students are taught to strive, meet expectations, work harder, gain more knowledge, make more money and have more material possessions to be successful. This is reinforced by messages from corporations, media and advertisers- all teaching them that they are not enough. Many think they need more of everything and they keep striving to get it all.
Alternatively, a happy, successful life can be viewed as the drive to thrive, to see life as a stimulating and curious journey that follows a path laid out by one’s inner voice rather than a striving, conditioned mind.
Life is a contrast of positive and negative events no matter what you do. How you choose to feel about those experiences is up to you and that shapes your reality. What you focus on expands and listening to your heart more than your mind is an important part of being.
Focus on the negative things and the world is a striving struggle, full of rules and measurements and past failures and criticisms.
Focus on the positive things and the world is a wonderful place of magical connections, beauty, and achievements of body, mind and spirit. Thriving is seeing events as learning experiences, possibilities, discovering new friendships and little joys instead of struggle against failure.
Steve Jobs said:
“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
I often say, “your opinion of me is none of my business” because I am living my life for me, not anyone else or measuring up to the expectations of others.
Henry Miller said, “Until we lose ourselves, there is no hope of finding ourselves.” That means, be aware how others have influenced your thinking, goals and reality and find your authentic self.
So, if you are graduating, congratulations! Go out and determine who you really are and take time to listen to your inner voice and replace striving with habits that help you thrive.