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Biodun Da-Silva: For 2020, You Don’t Have to “Just Survive”

‘Just surviving’ will not provide a solution to our problem and as such, it is not advantageous to our mental and financial health. Surviving without thriving is synonymous with living empty without purpose.



Success is not a free gift to humanity; you will have to fight against all odds to attain it and fight against greater odds to sustain and retain it.

I recently attended an event where I met an acquaintance I had not seen in a long time. I initiated a conversation and asked: “Hey Sharon, how’s it going? Long time no see! What’s up with you?

She goes: “Abbey, I’m fine o, nothing much, we just dey survive”.

I replied: “Just surviving” is not good enough. You’ve got to thrive,” and she said: “well, I am trying my best”.

I didn’t go into detail by asking what her current situation was. I didn’t want her to feel obligated to tell me anything about her personal life.

Personally, I have a little hang-up about the words ‘just surviving’. I feel it’s an expression we use to describe a feeling of hopelessness about our situation. ‘Just surviving’ will not provide a solution to our problem and as such, it is not advantageous to our mental and financial health. Surviving without thriving is synonymous with living empty without purpose. When we don’t live purposefully, failure is inevitable. We cannot afford to let our lives be led on autopilot. In a world where less advantaged people have shattered concrete ceilings and gone on to become successful, we owe it to ourselves to shatter any glass ceiling placed on our growth, either by the society we live in or by our own limitations.

For us to truly thrive in 2020, we need to take stock of 2019. We should ask ourselves what went wrong in 2019; what goals weren’t accomplished? Why and what factors affected the accomplishment of our goals? Are they SMART goals? Did we spend this year on the culture of waste and idleness? Do we need to reset our goals to accommodate our need to thrive? Those we have in our circle also have the propensity to make or mar us. It is important to audit our friends and associates before this year runs out so we can start 2020 on a clean slate. Taking stock of the past enlightens us about future pitfalls and how best to avoid them.

The fundamental truth is that timing is everything. You cannot thrive without recognizing time as an important component of success. Time, and what you do with it, decides whether you will be successful or not. Time is the only equalizer of men. It is one of the commodities all humans have in common. Dangote, Bill Gates, Folurunsho Alakija, Oprah Winfrey – all the millionaires and billionaires of our time have the same luxury of time as the next man. The only difference is the effective use of time. Essentially, success is the by-product of how well we use our time. No one has a monopoly of success, so we all can be successful if we choose to. That can only happen the moment we start using our time and effort productively.

When you spend your time aimlessly today and say tomorrow is another day, “I am just surviving” may be your watchword for the rest of your life. ‘Thriving’ means being productive, and the greatest error you can ever make is to mistake hard work for productivity. You can be hardworking and not be productive. In a day, you have about 8-12 hours of active work time, how do you utilize those hours? A lot of us desire to be successful but are not willing to put in the time to develop ourselves, skills or invest in financial education. Success is not a free gift to humanity, you will have to fight against all odds to attain it and fight against greater odds to sustain and retain it.

Understandably, in a country like Nigeria where almost 36% of youth are unemployed, the questions we should always ask ourselves are: what can I do today to make an impact? How can I contribute my own quota for the advancement of our economy? What can I do for my country? Since providing solutions to problems brings wealth, what solution can I provide that people will be willing to pay for? What do I hope to accomplish with my time while alive?

Success is the culmination of tiny efforts compounded over time. Start today where you are and with what you have. Foolishness is waiting for the economy to stabilize before you make a move. Use your time, your youth and your talent as a tool to attain success. Time will never wait for you and it is not too late to take the reins of your life and decide which direction you want to go.

There are so many ways to replace ‘just surviving’ with ‘thriving’. That starts when you take cognizance of your present situation and work towards eliminating any behavioral pattern that may be limiting your growth, potentials and development. Knowledge of self and how the world works are extremely instrumental to the actualization of success.  Illiteracy and poverty go hand in hand. Even billionaires learn new ways to make and sustain their wealth.

According to Winston Churchill, “the price of greatness is responsibility”. I believe we all can agree that where we are today – whether good or bad – is the product of yesterday’s decision. Where we will be tomorrow will be the product of the decisions we make today. The reason why we blame others for our circumstances is because it is easy to. Life will throw curveballs our way but how we respond to them determines our strength as individuals. As long as we keep progressing, we will encounter fresh challenges.

There are several things that are in and beyond our control. Clever people know that wasting time and effort over situations that are beyond our control is tantamount to foolishness, while asserting authority over what is within our control is power. Start taking responsibility for where you are today. Make intelligent, logical and reasonable decisions going forward and you will have the power to control any outcomes in your life.

Laziness is one of the factors that could impact our growth negatively in the coming year. Not necessarily physical laziness but mental laziness. When the Nigerian president said the Nigerian youth are lazy, I didn’t completely agree with him. I believe that Nigerian youth are the most resilient, talented and resourceful youth, but majority of us are just lazy thinkers. Coming from a person who has experienced the highs and lows of living in Nigeria, I’d say we only focus more on our problem instead of providing solutions to them.

Teach an average Nigerian youth how to catch fish, he will complain of not having a hook, bait, pole and will expect you to provide them. The most considerable thing to do would be to improvise, look for his own tool and start fishing. Before you know it, he’s back right to where he started. The minute we start thinking and focusing on the solution rather than our problem, we begin to realize it is up to us to develop ourselves and most importantly to develop our Nation – not vice versa. Our future is the size of our imagination and it’s high time we used our imaginative ability to our advantage. Laziness towards productive work and creative thinking will hinder our need to thrive progressively in 2020. Let us work individually, ultimately and collectively as a nation, to eliminate it.

Biodun Da-Silva is a Writer, Columnist, An Entrepreneur and a Humanitarian. She is passionate in the area of helping other women find/use their voices and their purpose for the greater good of mankind. Her writings has been featured in numerous print and digital publications and her blog can be read at


  1. Sola j

    December 10, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    This is a very brilliant write up! It is very important to take responsibility for where we are instead of blaming the government or economy. The one that got me was, success is not a free gift to humanity, very thought provoking. Good job.

  2. kay

    December 11, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Nothing else left behind.Nothing to add.Let him that can walk walk or otherwise.

  3. Olamide

    December 11, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    This is a beautiful write up. really got me thinking. Thank you Biodun.

  4. Sola j

    December 11, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    I have read this post over and over again. I can’t but concede to every points you make and you couldn’t be more right Biodun, Nigerian youth are lazy thinkers and they focus on all the wrong things that wont advance their lives.

  5. Ericka Green

    December 13, 2019 at 3:58 am

    So many great points. “Our future is the size of our imagination”. I have never liked the idea of just getting by , mediocrity or just surviving so this was right up my alley . Loved it .

    • Charles Da-Silva

      December 13, 2019 at 4:03 pm

      This is absolutely fantastic dear. Just Surviving never bear any fruits. The attitude of a person is not his or her Legacy, the position of responsibilities and finding ways to energize our daily process reasonably creates the legacy we leave behind. It’s a known fact that the chances we get does not determine our destiny, it’s the choices we make. You are so right dear,lazy thinking will not propel the future, it descend it. Hence, thriving is the right approach, just Surviving is settling without hope and desire to push forward to reach greater heights in life. Thank you for this wonderful article.

  6. Girlie M Ejikeme

    December 14, 2019 at 2:15 am

    I love this! ?
    This is a very poignant piece that you have written. So many people just settle for less and try to move on in disgust,in spite of themselves.
    We should never be content with mediocrity. We have to reach for greatness, and the spirit of power that our father God provided within us.
    Faith without works is dead!
    One must give it all they’ve got at all times.Time is a factor that will not stop for anyone. It shouldn’t be waisted!
    Good job my sister.

  7. Biodun Da-Silva

    December 17, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    Thank you all for your beautiful comments. They are all appreciated.

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