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Posted by on August 29, 2018 | 2 comments

What It Really Means to Thrive


We all have an intuitive sense of what it means to thrive. But what does it actually mean?

For some people it’s about feeling happy and content; for others it means living up to their potential and succeeding at the goals they set themselves.

What does it really mean to thrive? Is there a way of defining it so that we have a clear, common understanding of the concept? How do we implement strategies for thriving in work and life if it means different things to different people?

Fortunately for us, researchers from the University of Portsmouth in the UK, lead by Dr Daniel Brown, have come up with a definition of what it means to thrive. They tell us that a person who is thriving possesses the following characteristics:

  • Optimism – having a positive outlook on life.
  • Motivation – the inner sense that “I can do it!”
  • Proactivity – seeking out opportunities and new challenges
  • Enjoyment of learning and embracing learning as a life-long journey
  • Flexibility and adaptability when things don’t go according to plan
  • Spirituality or religiosity – a sense of a bigger purpose in life
  • Social competency – valuing relationships and social connections

With the above definition in mind, how would you rate yourself? What actions can you take to boost your level of thriving in work and life?

Thriving is not just about feeling good; it’s also about growing and developing, and living up to our potential. It not only matters for us as individuals, it also matters for the bottom line of our organisations and the well-being of our families, our communities, and society at large.



  1. Wow! What a brief and insightful article this is. I refer to it as a “timely” read for me and one that I would refer -at any given moment- to any individual who is still grappling with this seemingly insignificant concept. Before reading this write-up, I did not know how important it is to have an in-depth knowledge on ‘flourishing’ as a basic concept. And this new knowledge made me appreciate the beauty of maintaining the above-mentioned traits attributed to a thriving individual. Thank you for these nuggets Doc!

    • You’re welcome, Tseko. I’m glad it was valuable.

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