Since The Huffington Post’s inception in 2005, I have greatly admired Arianna Huffington, not only for her professional achievements but her tenacity and passion that reflect in her work. She is, in my opinion, one of the world’s most influential women and my own mentor.
When her book ‘Thrive’ was released I naturally felt compelled to purchase a copy. As an ambitious woman myself, I was curious to see what Arianna had learnt during her time in the corporate world and hoped to learn from her strategies. I was also curious as to what this ‘third metric of success’ that she talks about could be. Like most people, success to me was defined in 2 ways: money and power. As I started to read Thrive, it opened up my mind to the possibility that there is far more to living a truly successful life then just earning a big salary and capturing a corner office.
Traditionally speaking, money and power are the 2 metrics how society views success. If someone has a ton of money and are quite influential in the community then we generally assume they have succeeded in this game of life. Our relentless pursuit of the 2 metrics of success has led to burnt out and stress related illnesses, Arianna provides fascinating research that prove this is not just confined to America, the epidemic is global.
Thus, we the people are losing connection to what truly matters and this mentality is slowly killing us, which is why there is such urgency to find another metric of success.
Arianna makes a compelling case for the need to redefine what it means to be successful. Her current passion for shifting societies view from focusing on desperately attaining the traditional measures of success, to instead focus on thriving- a process of “reconnecting with ourselves, our loved ones, and our community”. In other words it is a process of building a rewarding, stimulating and healthy life that opens the door for greater wellbeing, joy and a purposeful life.
There has been a significant number of scientific research in the fields of psychology , sleep , meditation and exercise that show the transformative effects of meditation, getting enough sleep and ‘giving back’, that can have on a person. It definitely challenged me to rethink my position of what it really means to succeed and I began to assess if I was really living my life to the best of my ability.
Too many people are alive, but do not live. They are empty inside walking around like zombies; burnout, tired and stressed. To what end will we go to be successful?
It forces you to take that step back to assess your life. Do you get enough sleep? Are you always stressed? Do you put time aside for you and your wellbeing? Do you exercise enough? Meditate? These are just some of the concepts she explores and explains why it is really important not to burn yourself out, and how imperative it is to learn to take a step back and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life.
Throughout this book Arianna’s objective is clear: She hopes to catalyse a revolution towards thriving, not only in our personal lives, but in our culture, in our workplace and in our thinking.
Of everything I learnt and took from her book, 2 key things stood out:
1. The importance of sleep and relaxation:
It is no surprise that stress and burnout are extreme health problems, in fact according to the World Health Organisation, the cost of stress to American businesses is as high as $300 billion. It is a solemn reminder that unless we change this trend, it will only get worse over time.
This is why it is so important to meditate, relax and ensure you are getting enough sleep. By incorporating meditation into your life, and committing to getting the rest you need to thrive are proven strategies to have life altering results, not to mention a boost in your mental and physical health.
I’ve learnt the importance of incorporating this in my daily life and although I get enough sleep, I am learning the art of meditation my own way and applying it to my everyday life. It is all about finding ways to disengage from being “on” constantly and destress by going into “off” mode for a few hours. It is all about connecting in a deeper way to the world around me.
2. We can change the world
“Give me a place to stand and I will move the world” – Archmedes
Arianna reminds us that anyone can move mountains and change the world when we take a step back and assess our own lives in the move towards ‘thriving’ in life:
– Stop complaining. Practise the art of gratitude and be grateful for what you have. Stop comparing and being distracted how other people live their life. Focus on yours, and yours alone.
– Build a powerful community of like-minded friends to support each other and encourage each other to move towards a thriving future.
– Make the commitment to learn to take a step back and give your mind and body the rest it desperately needs. Don’t wait until a health problem occurs when you start to make changes. As Arianna writes:
“ I learned the hard way to step back from being so caught up in my busy life that life’s mystery would pass me by. There’s a collective longing to stop living in the shallows, to stop hurting our health and our relationships by striving so relentlessly after success as the world defines it- and instead tap into the riches, joy and amazing possibilities that our lives embody”
Take ownership now and move towards a new way of thriving in this world.
While we recognise the need for a third metric of success, the key message is not to measure your success based on money and/or power. There is more to life than those 2 concepts.
Choose happiness. Choose to have a healthy mind and soul.
The question now my friends, is the million dollar question: What measures can you put in place to allow yourself the opportunity to thrive in this wonderful world of ours?
“Find your place to stand- your place of wisdom and peace and strength. And from that place, remake the world in your own image, according to your own definition of success, so that all of us- women and men- can thrive and live our lives with more grace, more joy, more compassion, more gratitude, and yes, more love. Onward, upward and inward!”
– Arianna Huffington