As I've written in the past, "Survival - The Force that Controls Our Life," the fear of not surviving, the fear of dying (which for many is a form of not surviving), is nourished by all the "what if's" that our mind throws at us continually, becoming primal forces that create cravings and anxieties that overwhelm us.
Survival of course is a basic force of nature. It is present not just in humans, but in all sentient beings and even bacteria and plant life. Survival is an essential force behind evolution, the survival of the fittest.
But whereas for all other forms of life, survival is defined by the forces of nature, for humans, survival is defined by the world that man has created, its social and work structure, and by the expectations that our culture fosters. For man, to survive does not mean to stay alive, it means to have various levels of creature comfort and wealth, depending on one's social background and that to which one aspires.
There is only one way to free oneself from the suffering that comes from being tied to the values of the culture in which we live. And that way isn't to succeed, to achieve success, because we not only always want more but we fear losing what we have. And so even the rich and powerful suffer.
The only way to free oneself is to not submit oneself to the values of our culture and follow a different path . . . the Buddhist path or another spiritual path. This does not mean that one has to physically flee the culture, to live off-grid in isolation or in a monastery. It does mean that you must deal with yourself and the world around you on your terms, spiritual terms, not the culture's.
For such a person, survival means first and foremost remaining in touch with his true self, his Buddha nature, his faith - which as I explain in my post, "Buddhism and the Divine," is his divine essence. It does not even mean staying alive because death is a part of life; when it comes, it comes. Such a person is lit by a light from within that nothing external can extinguish.
To evolve into such a person, you develop faith in your Buddha nature, in your heart, and that you will be ok, safe, regardless what life throws your way because you have returned home and will always return home to your true Buddha nature, be sustained by the love of that nature, and so experience abundance, be happy and content, and at peace.
And instead of either feeling a victim or feeling that you have the power to achieve whatever you want and are so driven, you have the humility and faith to trust in the guidance you receive from your heart, your Buddha nature, and channel that energy into action that you pursue with diligence but without attachment; if it happens, great, if it doesn't that's ok too.
And so you have no buttons to be pushed. You are always at peace and happy. And allow nothing to disturb that peace and happiness. Free of all mental obstructions, you experience all things with dispassion, your mind rests undisturbed, and so nothing offends. You are very aware of all the things that are not right in this world and you act in your own small way to make this a better place to live, but you have no mission to save the world.
To reach this state of mind, you have to acknowledge that the way you've been leading your life isn't working. Playing the game isn't working. Even if it is bringing you success, money, it is not working in that despite achieving what you have achieved, you are still insecure and suffer.
We are not raised in this culture to be humble. Whether rich or poor, humility is not a learned experience. Indeed we learn it is dangerous to be humble. Yet humility is an essential step to reconnecting with your true self, your Buddha nature, your heart, your divine essence, and ending your suffering.