Quiz: Are You Thriving or Merely Surviving?

Take this self-assessment for a clearer picture of your job satisfaction.

lightbulbBe honest. Are you ending each evening just happy to have made it through another day? Well, you don’t have to live in a less than optimal state of being. In the last decade, there has been an explosion of research on what helps people thrive, even in difficult times such as a job search.

This quiz gives you a chance to assess how you are faring in activities that contribute significantly to well-being. Tell yourself the truth!

1. I do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day.
1 2 3
Rarely Sometimes Frequently

2. I stop and notice what’s right in my life.
1 2 3
Rarely Sometimes Frequently

3. I make mistakes and acknowledge them freely.
1 2 3
Rarely Sometimes Frequently

4. I meditate eight to 10 minutes per day.
1 2 3
Rarely Sometimes Frequently

5. When things don’t go my way, I search for what I can control in the situation.
1 2 3
Rarely Sometimes Frequently

6. When I encounter a personal or professional challenge, I see it as an opportunity to grow.
1 2 3
Rarely Sometimes Frequently

7. I have friends with whom I spend time that I truly enjoy.
1 2 3
Rarely Sometimes Frequently

8. I feel like my life has a higher purpose.
1 2 3
Rarely Sometimes Frequently

9. I have the chance to use my gifts and talents daily.
1 2 3
Rarely Sometimes Frequently

10. I engage passionately in interests that make time disappear.
1 2 3
Rarely Sometimes Frequently

Scoring
Ideally, you answered Frequently to each of these statements. Read below to discover the importance of each factor to living a vibrant, happy life. I’ve even included references if you want to work on those that you scored Rarely or Sometimes.

1. Aerobics has been shown to promote brain health as well as keep our bodies healthy. And brand-new research shows that 30 minutes is an extremely effective antidepressant. For more on brain health and discoveries, look at Daniel Amen’s Web site: www.amenclinics.com/.

2. Gratitude research is hot! It’s been shown to increase life satisfaction, energy, and better health and sleep. Check out Robert Emmon’s book “Thanks.”

3. People who admit mistakes are more likely to fulfill their potential and experience greater success. Stanford researcher Carol Dweck’s book “Mindset”describes this and other factors regarding the relationship between how we think and how well we do.

4. UCLA Mindfulness Institute and others have discovered that in as little as eight to 10 minutes a day, meditation can increase focus, concentration, better sleep and improved mood. If you want a deep dive in what meditation can do for you, read Daniel Siegel’s book “The Mindful Brain.

5, 6, 7, 8. After analyzing over 400 studies, resiliency experts Suzanne Kobasa and Salvatore Maddi found that those who thrive in difficulty display 3 Cs:

  • Challenge: They saw whatever change befell them as a chance to grow and learn and expressed optimism about the future.
  • Control: They believed they could influence their lives and the events around them for the better and took actions to make that true. Rather than falling into passivity, they looked for the things they could control and worked on those. They embodied the Serenity Prayer used at AA and other 12-step programs: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
  • Commitment: They were passionate about life and saw it as having a deeper meaning than just survival. They stayed connected to people and events even when times got hard.

9. Research on 2 million people by the Gallup organization has revealed that when we have a chance to use our strengths every day, we create excellence and feel fulfilled. Their bestseller “Now Discover Your Strengths”is focused on business, but you can use your talents more in any circumstance.

10. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s research has revealed that what makes an experience truly satisfying is a state called flow, in which time disappears and you have a sense that all of yourself is involved. His book “Flow”describes this state in detail, why it helps us thrive and how to achieve it more often.

M.J. Ryan

M.J. Ryan The author of many best-selling books, M.J. Ryan is a consultant with Professional Thinking Partners, where she specializes in coaching high-performance executives and leads trainings in effective teamwork within corporations, nonprofits and government agencies. Her latest book is “AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For.” Visit her at mj-ryan.com

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