What price are you willing to pay for success? For Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post Media Group (to which I subscribe and read daily), a collapse with a broken cheekbone brought on by complete exhaustion caused her to reexamine what it really means to be successful in today’s fast-paced, pressure filled world.
I’m super excited to be reading her book, THRIVE: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating A Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder, because I subscribe to the belief that culturally, we need to adapt our models of how we define success. In addition to the fallout of epidemic burnout, stress-related illnesses and decline in the quality of our personal relationships in our pursuit of the traditional metrics of success: money and power, we now have the added burden of keeping up with the exponential demands on our time and attention.
Huffington says that a new Third Metric for defining success and living “the good life” lies in shifting the focus to our well being, tapping into our wisdom and intuition, awakening our wonder and propensity for giving. These four pillars are at the core of living a healthy, balanced and meaningful life which ultimately translates into happiness and isn’t that ultimately what we are all after anyway? To truly THRIVE?
After enabling you to meet your basic needs, money just affords you comfort and choice. Power, I believe, really lies in the ability to enhance or change the lives of others on a grand scale, and that is a huge responsibility. Excess of either causes problems to which no one is immune.
THRIVE examines each of the four pillars through her very personal experiences in dedicated sections throughout the book.
WELL BEING: Huffington makes the plea for protecting and nurturing our “human capital” and points out that making repeated withdrawals from our health bank is unsustainable and will lead to bankruptcy without new deposits of time to disconnect and reconnect with ourselves, others and nature. In this era of overworking and endless multitasking, fueled by the stress to keep up, we are really doing ourselves a disservice, she says, which is ultimately counterproductive and creates “time famine” which robs us of our ability to experience the next pillar…
WONDER: If we are in a state of constant flutter and stress, we miss the space, the pauses and the silence to revel in the small moments and miracles that are present in our everyday lives. Taking the time to refocus our lense, to do what we really want to do, to pursue our passions, is restorative and allows us to regenerate and recharge which she fears is all but disappearing from our lives.
WISDOM: By reconnecting with ourselves through shifting our focus on our well being and sense of wonder, we can then tap into our centered place of wisdom, harmony and strength which Huffington believes we all possess as human beings. If we find ourselves off course, in a sea of burnout, we must redirect our attention and energies so we can see the dangers and opportunities that lie ahead. Wisdom lies in trusting our gut instincts and connecting the dots of our life’s experiences to reveal our purpose even if it is sometimes hidden from us.
GIVING: The willingness to give of ourselves with empathy and compassion is in direct proportion to the first pillar: our well being and happiness, which becomes part of a virtuous cycle. Feeling good by doing good comes from being a productive part of a community and contributing to its greater good.
Huffington points out that when we die, eulogies celebrate our lives very differently than the way society defines success which I found to be spot on. Eulogies, she says, are very Third Metric and that living our lives in a way that’s mindful to our eventual eulogy enables us to focus on our true success, our legacy. Eulogies always focus on what we gave, how we connected, how much we meant to our loved ones and the time, effort and energy we afforded them, our wisdom, our truthfulness and our courage.
As we face the challenge of reexamining our priorities and definition of success, she urges us to take stock of our lives and hopes the lessons she’s learned inspire us to realize that our riches and wealth in life lie in our investments in love, service and connections to others, not possessions and net worth.
Huffington has become a modern day evangelist for the need to disconnect from the hamster wheel which chases a phantom of the successful life. She urges to reconnect to what truly matters: our connection to ourselves and others and I am her disciple. And it is exactly this need that guides the editorial philosophy behind the Huffington Post’s twenty-six lifestyle sections in which she promotes the ways we can take care of ourselves and lead balanced, centered lives while making a positive difference in the world.
Her book, THRIVE draws on the latest groundbreaking research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep and physiology that show the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging and giving. Huffington sets the example for a revolution in our culture, our thinking, our workplaces and our lives.
What’s YOUR personal definition of success? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the COMMENT section below…do share!