Thriving is the Oxygen for Success: Four Traits of Thrivers

Apr 29, 2021 | Fred Toke, Lifestyle

Thriving in adversity

THRIVE (verb): to grow vigorously, to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

“It is possible to heal. It is even possible to thrive. Thriving means more than just an alleviation of symptoms, more than Band-Aids, more than functioning adequately. Thriving means enjoying a feeling of wholeness, satisfaction in your life and work, genuine love and trust in your relationships, pleasure in your body.”  ― Ellen Bass, The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

There is something about how some people thrive in challenges while others do not. Thrivers endure, engage, and exercise courage to overcome their challenges. They don’t back out or skirt around as they keep on keeping on. It is undoubtedly a beneficial posture to adopt. Here are four scientifically proven attributes about thrivers:


Thrivers have cultivated a stretchable or elastic mindset known as psychological flexibility. They adapt their thinking to overcome obstacles and challenges without failing or breaking down. They also can stay in contact with the present moment regardless of unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.

Such adaptability empowers thrivers to endure and persevere through their ordeal. They know there are other ways to resolve the issue at hand other than just moping. And like the clothes in the washing machine, after all the rumble and tumble, they believe they will come out whiter and wiser!


Accomplishments are often a result of self-discipline. Studies have shown that it is one of the essential attributes of becoming resilient. Self-discipline is the internal compass that helps you stay focused, gives you the grit to fight on, and enables you to overcome obstacles and impediments.

Thrivers’ self-discipline supports them in controlling their impulses, emotions, reactions, and attitudes. They sacrifice short-term gratification in favor of long-term satisfaction and gain. While it may be improbable to be self-disciplined in all areas of their lives, thrivers used it to focus on what’s most important.


Another vital factor for human thriving during major life events is having supportive relationships. According to Mayo Clinic, a strong social support network can be critical to help one pull through the stress of tough times. Individuals with supportive friends and family members are more likely to develop posttraumatic growth rather than spiral downward.

Typically, thrivers don’t work alone. They find other thrivers and formed a mutually beneficial partnership to alleviate the effects of emotional distress by motivating each other to persevere. Assisting one another during times of need benefits thrivers immensely. It helps foster a sense of camaraderie, resilience, and positiveness. Taking time to build and maintaining a social support network is a wise investment that thrivers do so efficiently.


An APA study on people recovering from substance abuse finds that having higher religious faith and spirituality levels were associated with several positive mental health outcomes. It is given that such faith may not remove all difficulties, opposition, and obstacles. Still, the study shows increased optimism, greater resilience to stress, and lower anxiety levels among those who practiced their faith diligently.

Thrivers’ faith made them resilient because they believe that God is working with them together for a greater good (Romans 8:28, Genesis 50:20)

As such, they do not waste time and energies focusing and complaining about the doom, gloom, or even griping about others. They go about tackling their issues, doing their daily tasks, believing that God is in control even if they are not (Jeremiah 29:11).

“I never lose; I only learn.” — Nelson Mandela

“If you faint in adversity, your strength is small.” — Proverbs 24:10

Fred Tokè aka Dr. Tokèmon

Fred Tokė aka Dr. Tokėmon is a Clinical Psychologist by training, was a former adjunct professor at Nanyang Technological University. He is also a guest lecturer at the University Malaysia Sabah’s Faculty of Medicine. Besides teaching, he also provides clinical psychotherapy services to the downtrodden and the discouraged.

Check out Dr. Toke’s Article Archive HERE. Follow Dr. Tokemon’s Facebook page HERE.

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