I will never forget the first time I stumbled upon the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus and his famous notion that “there is nothing permanent except for change.”  I was a freshman in college and while I recognized the wisdom of the words (and used them to open one of the first speeches I ever gave in public), I had no idea how very true they are.  Now, decades later, I’ve come to understand that not only is change inevitable, the ability to survive and even thrive in rapidly changing times is a very powerful skill.

As I think back over the past 18 months or so, I’ve been struck by how much has changed.  And, as a student of human behavior, I’ve been fascinated by the different responses people have displayed.  And I noticed that those who seem to be thriving recognize the difference between those things that they can control and influence and those that only concern them.  The late Stephen Covey taught that success happens when we focus most of our energies and efforts on things we can control as opposed to those we can only influence or those that impact us, but we can do absolutely nothing about.  Here are a few things I discovered these “thrivers” tend to focus on during changing times.  

They are intentional about keeping their attitude relentlessly positive.  They recognize that attitude really is everything and do what they can to stay positive.  This doesn’t mean they are sticking their heads in the sand or are happy all the time.  It does mean they do what they can to stay optimistic and focused on the positive.

They carefully curate the things they expose themselves to.  For example, many limit the time they spend consuming media since it tends to focus on the negative. “Thrivers” also strive to surround themselves with other “thrivers” and limit the time they spend with toxic people and unnecessary stressful situations.

They have an “attitude of gratitude” which keeps them looking for the good in changing situations.  While they can accept that things can be difficult or challenging during change, they don’t allow that to blind them to opportunities, benefits, and other good things.  They also intentionally share that perspective with those around them by saying things like “while this is difficult now, I am really excited about the possibilities this opens for us.”

They have a “bias for action” meaning that they don’t just sit around with a “wait and see” attitude.  Rather, they are willing to experiment and try new things even if situations are in flux.  This keeps them learning and growing. And it increases the likelihood they will discover a formerly unseen path to success.

They are intentional with their word choice.  They understand that words matter and if we call something a problem, it will be.  If we say, “this is hard,” it will be.  If we call something an opportunity, it will be.  “Thrivers” choose to use language that reflects opportunity, positive outcome, and potential.

How are you doing? If you are looking to move from surviving to thriving during change, choose one of the above to focus on and watch things begin to shift.