An interview with Arianna Huffington where she talks about the definition of success per her new book Thrive.
In Thrive, Huffington recounts the impetus for her own personal journey inward to find balance, inner peace and a new definition for success she calls, “the Third Metric.” In her new book, Huffington lays out a road map to a new and sane definition of success, based on her learning that “life is shaped from the inside out.” Thrive includes the latest science and research on wellbeing, the wisdom and wonder of poets and ancient philosophers and the healing benefits of the gift that keeps on giving, namely giving.
In your new book Thrive, you address the current definition of success, which is based on money and power. You’ve introduced the Third Metric, which focuses on caring for your inner being.
The first two metrics of success do not create a fulfilling life, and that’s why we need the Third Metric, which consists of four pillars. Well-being and health is the first pillar, because it’s a foundation, and yet so often through burnout, exhaustion and sleep deprivation — we sacrifice our well-being on the altar of the first two metrics of success — money and power. The second pillar is wisdom. How do we connect with our inner wisdom, how do we connect with our intuition, so that we are not at the mercy of external circumstances all the time?
It’s what Eckhart Tolle talks about when he says let go of defining yourself by external metrics, and don’t be concerned how others define you. When we connect with our own inner wisdom it’s much easier to do that. And, the third metric is wonder—being able to acknowledge the beauty around us in every moment. Seeing the beauty in everything ordinary, and not to be so buried in multi-tasking that we miss the moment.
That’s really at the heart of Eckhart Tolle’s teachings, when he says, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.” That’s at the heart of wonder.
The fourth pillar is giving…
Giving, which completes the circle, because if we just lead a narcissistic existence, we can never be truly happy. In fact, there is new scientific evidence that I include in the book, which shows that our genes are wired for us to be giving, and when we are giving all the inflammatory markers that are the precursors of disease decrease. When our happiness is purely based on self-gratification, the inflammatory markers increase.
Being connected to yourself on a deeper level is really what Thrive is all about. What are your daily practices to infuse presence into your life to stay connected to your inner being?
It starts with something very simple, and this is getting enough sleep. After my wake-up call when I collapsed from exhaustion and burnout — I broke my cheekbone and got four stitches on my right eye — I went from four to five hours of sleep, to seven to eight hours of sleep a night. That was very important for me. Everybody needs a different amount of sleep, but getting the required amount of sleep is essential to our well-being and we now have science that proves it’s like a miracle drug.
The second thing is that I meditate every day. In the book, I have small tips, small daily practices, and at the end of the well-being section I recommend that people start with five minutes of meditation. Even the tiniest amount of time spent with ourselves can help us recognize that we are more than our daily activities, and help us acquaint ourselves with our essence.
The third thing is I try to do something physical: working out, walking now that the weather is getting better — I love having walking meetings, instead of sitting in my office having meetings. When I’m in LA I love to go hiking with my friends. Everyone who is in the better shape talks on the way up and the rest talk on the way down.