Quite a few years back I wrote some articles which were published in The Huffington Post in their blogger section. The site was originally founded by Greek-American author and businesswoman Arianna Huffington in 2005, and has since been bought by Buzzfeed, an American digital media company. At the time I knew very little about Ms Huffington, other than that she was GREEK and a successful writer and entrepreneur. My kind of girl! In 2016 she launched her new enterprise Thrive Global, a company that provides behaviour change technology and promotes wellbeing. It was titled after Huffington’s 2014 bestselling book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, and that’s where my journey with Arianna really begins and why in 2022, I’m thriving with Arianna Huffington.
The book starts off with Huffington passing out from exhaustion in her office, hitting her head on her desk on the way down and ending up with a number of stitches in her face. I am usually not one for ‘self-help’ books. I find them repetitive, preachy and often long and boring, but for some reason, picturing the poor Arianna Huffington fainting with burnout had me gripped and I felt compelled to read on!
In the book, Arianna looks to redefine what it means to be successful. She likens our drive for money and power to two legs of a three-legged stool. It may hold us up temporarily, but sooner or later we’re going to topple over. We need a third leg – a Third Metric for defining success – in order to live a healthy, productive, and meaningful life. She states that there are 4 pillars to ‘thriving’:
- Well-being: sleep, move, meditate
- Wisdom: be grateful, let go of resentment, switch off
- Wonder: be present in the moment, forgive yourself, find joy
- Giving: make connections, be kind, use your skills to help others
Each pillar gets its own dedicated section in the book and after watching various interviews of Arianna, I ended up reading the book with her voice in my mind, which actually made it more compelling, as if a very wise, inspirational woman was sitting with me and giving some much-needed sane but ultimately very simple advice.
And to sum up, that simple advice is this:
- Success doesn’t mean money and power. Change your definition of what success means to you to include ‘thriving’
- Find true wisdom inside yourself and in your own life experiences, instead of in the digital world and the conflicting information all round you
- Stop checking your smartphone and disconnect from technology every once in a while
All of the above makes perfect sense. It’s common sense. Sleep more, stop staring at your screen, connect with yourself and your loved ones. Nothing new for any of us. But practicing it in our daily lives is becoming harder and harder as our modern world becomes more and more digitalized and we become more robotic.
So this year I am attempting to grasp all of Arianna’s four pillars and really THRIVE.
WELLBEING: One of my closest friends is always telling me to try meditation, to find moments of quiet and focus on myself. The trouble is my household is rarely quiet and there aren’t many moments when I’m alone. But I’ve tried to incorporate this element in my morning routine when I’m making the children’s lunches. I put on some calming music and potter around in the kitchen. I’m not sure if music is ‘allowed’ when meditating, but I find that my mind is calmer and often after making the lunches, I’m not entirely sure what on earth I’ve put in the boxes! So I must have gone into a meditative trance at some point!
As for sleeping, I have always been a champion of sleep and have never been a night owl. BUT having children (and a husband who prefers the cloak of darkness to the sizzling morning rays) has really played havoc with my sleep pattern. I never got enough sleep as a child, due to my morning swim club sessions and late nights fretting over homework. I caught up on sleep during my uni years, even having the occasional afternoon nap! These days I usually rise about 5:30am during the week, and often pass out when getting my children to bed. When I do stay up late, either to work or spend time with the husband (which is rare) I feel absolutely shattered the next day. And that’s not even factoring in the time spent checking social media or the news at night – a habit that I have tried desperately to kick in favour of reading. So I now set my alarm to 5:50 during the week (those 20 minutes extra in bed really mean a lot and yet that 10 minutes before 6am still gives me SOOOO much more time!) and listen to my body clock when I need to go to bed which is generally before 10pm. Huffington advocates 7-8 hours of sleep a night, and whilst I rarely sleep solidly through, I feel much better when I fall asleep from being physically tired from the day’s activities, rather than mentally drained from staying up staring at the screen.
WISDOM: I’m practicing gratitude by using my new Pandorus Publishing journals! The ‘letting go’ thing I find much harder. But now I am of the opinion that rather than letting go of resentment, I’ll just let go of the person/thing causing resentment. Job done!
WONDER: being present in the moment is very hard for us modern day humans. We are either stuck in the past or thinking ahead to the future. I’ve been making conscious efforts, particularly when around my children, to put down my phone and really be in the moment with them, playing etc. I’ve set various limits and restrictions on my social apps and whilst I can still access them if I put in the special code (!) I find that it makes me pause and think about whether I really need to check them or not. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for children to see their parents working on the computer or be on a call for a short time BUT flicking through your phone whilst a child is telling you a story about their day is really TRAGIC.
GIVING: I’m always always happy to help people. But this can also lead to being ‘used’. So I’m now trying to prioritise who I’m helping, and family always comes first!
So, if you are still reading at this point I’m sure you will be delighted to learn that Thrive is available on Amazon on Kindle for only £2.99 and is definitely worth a read!
Happy reading everyone and keep thriving!
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P.S. I am STILL in two minds about the layout of my articles. I do like the centred text for my promotional posts – about my books and so on. But I think that justified often looks more professional for longer and more ‘serious’ articles like this one. So I shall just chop and change as I go!