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Surviving vs. Thriving

The baseline

Most of us are lucky enough to have a roof over the head that keeps us warm and safe, have food on the table and are not in life or death situations daily.

If this is the case for you, you are not in danger of not surviving - obvious point but still important to mention for what I am trying to say.

Many of us are first or second generation post-World War 2 children which was a time when suviving and fighting famine was a real threat. The ones that had to live through it developed ways over the years to ensure survival and famine was battled in the best possible way. These learnings were given to the next generation hoping that they could use it just as well as they can.

The problem with that approach is: the threat of survival and famine is (for most of us) not a threat anymore.

So in theory, that generation should have adapted to the new life circumstances. Emotional intelligence and "listening to your feelings" is surpressed in a time of life& death since it is not needed for survival at that point which led to these skills being poorly or never developed and therefore not taught to the ones showing us the way.

The post WW2 generation had different life curcumstances already but lacked the tools to emotional develop and thereby "upgrade" their mental software and life approach to a more befitting way of approaching life. What that led to is us making a job & income (ASAP) priority number one (as well as grandma pushing us to clean our plates = post war famine trauma/mindset).

So now we know why many that are nowadays in their 60s and older struggle to give the next generation of millennials and younger "good" life advice. It is simply not up to date anymore.

We've seen an acceleration of mindset and what's important in life post the covid-times which for example forced many companies to sell office spaces since everyone refused to go to the office 5 days a week.


The blog is called "surviving vs. thriving" and since we got the survival part out of the way, let's focus on thriving!

While very few % of the population go for the very rare route like founding a business, becoming a writer etc. let's focus on the 99% of the population and how they can thrive.

Having a job that pays the bills will be an unpleasant necessity for us to keep the roof and food on the table. Having said that, our society is build in a way that there are so many more, new ways of creating income without the often just blindly accepted pains that come with a job (i.e. powerhungry & greedy managers, weird co-workers etc.).

The good news:

We don't have to accept bad work environments anymore. There are more than enough jobs and opportunities out there, like i.e. using freelance softwares of office your services online (i.e. Fiverr, Upwork etc.) which you can start part time and build up to your desire. You don't even have to enter work environments anymore if you don't want to, work all from home and online - no problem.

The key is you have to realize that part of your "mental programming" will still be influeced by the post -war mindset like some innate fear of survival and the necessity for a job which often causes a fight or flight response (survival instinct) in humans, although there is no real threat. You will be fine.

So knowing that, hate your job?

Just quit.

"but Matti I can't because .... *fill in the gaps* ...

Sure you can. Most got 3 months afterwards to figure something new out. And life has these fantastic ways in offering the most random but positive doors opening as a reward for making a life decision that you knew you should have done a while ago. Life is funny that way.

Most of us take way too long for making a change. It often takes health realted problems to wake us up and realize: "wait a second I don't have to take this"

The 9-5 work-life ratio

So you found a simple job that serves it's purpose meaning: paying your bills and giving you the life quality you want WITHOUT comprising your mental state overall. That balance has to be in check. If income for example is high vs. the stuff you have to tolerate mentally and thereby take home and influeces your time when you are not working, that ratio is off.

You need a ratio where the reward for you working vs. what you put in is in balance. If you leave work more than once a week fuming, I think you need to change jobs. Not worth it, life too short for that. Sure in the end it comes a lot down to our own emotional control how we react to situations and if we allow others to control our emotions but if you have an environment that isn't taxing in that regard, you don't need to develop that skill = energy saved = better life.

The real life

The real life starts after work. That's the time we live and do what fulfils us. This is the time where we want to thrive! Do things you are excited and passionate about. If you love computer games, it makes you laugh, smile and have an online community of close friends - play computer all day who cares? It's your life! Do things that make you feel alive and enjoy each day.

What this is, you have to find out for yourself. For me it has always been sports and being active in nature. If you can link your passion with a life purpose, which isn't easy to do, you will thrive in life.

So for me just being a fast triathlete and beating the clock doesn't give me purpose. It gives me satisfaction, shows me the work I put in, gives me a goal to work towards, keeps me motivated and more but that still doesn't count as a purpose.

For me the purpose of this whole sport chapter is to inspire and motivate. In a world filled with problems, I want to remind others that we can chase and find our passion regardless when in life and what age.

I frequently visualize the moment when I am 37 or 38 and win the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. There is always an interview planned ("Breakfast with bob" on Youtube) the day after the race for the pro male and female podium finishers. That interview I will use as a plattform to show that it is possible to take on a completely different direction in life when you are 32 or older and make it happen somehow.

Nothing motivates me more, even if there is just a small chance, of leaving the normal path with 32 years of age, fully commit and achieve something that shouldn't be possible years later and win Hawaii. That I believe is a story that others can hopefully see that it is never too late to go for your dreams regardless what it is. Open bakery for all I care, but go for it!

I couldn't care less for the financial success that comes with being a world champ. I've had the path of finacial success right in front of me, I know exactly what I would need to do to get it. Invest most of your waking hours into work, sacrifice your own mental and physical health, sacrifice time with friends and family and boom you are there after a few years I promise you. Then you sit in your big house and big car at night and wonder why you feel miserable. I haven't met one guy that is financially wealthy that has happy, content, relaxed eyes. They "have" more than everyone but carry more worries and pain that most would handle for a day. I've had a mentor in Zürich that was in the top10 list of fortune 500 companies, flying out to meet "Warren" for the weekend. I've seen it, know what it takes on them and their family - this is not a life you would want I assure you. So don't go after chasing money blindly, it will change nothing for you how you feel inside when you go to bed at night. (my favorite quote on that: "everyone knows money doesn't make you happy, still everyone wants to find out for themselves" :D) The price payed for what you think you desire (car, massive villa etc.) has to be payed somehow and that price will be your physical and/or mental health.

I especially couldn't care less for the "title" of being world champ in something.

Titles indicate a hierachy in our system and that someone is "better" than others. I got a taste of that with the "CEO" title, people treating you differently because of it. Other examples are "PHD" or "Dr." - they should not be something that elevates a person in the eye of others in the society, they are made up and not relevant whatsoever (unless it also is your main passion in life!) to what this blog is about: thriving!

I personally cannot relate to a triathlete winning world champs that has decicated his life to the sport since we was born, there is little inspiration for me there personally. I get inspired by humans doing things that shouldn't be possible and are so against the norm that people shake their heads at their beliefs.

Then they go out and do it.

Achieve that dream of theirs that nobody saw coming

That is were true inspiration lies in my eyes. The amount of failures these people had to overcome and go through should also be a source of inspiration for us. Champions like Michael Jordan (cut from high school basketball team, missed 200+ game winning shots etc.) and many more are exmamples of that.

I hope this blog rant gave you some clarity for your own life, to choose thriving over surviving. We have limited days on this planet, we need to put all the energy we got into making each day as fun and full of joy as we can!

Surround yourself with positive, upbeat and like-minded individuals and enjoy the journey that is life.

Chat soon,


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Dino He
Dino He
24. okt. 2023

Great post Matti.

Of course I have to read it at work and now all I can think about is my upcoming bike training. 😆

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