Thrive to Survive: Arianna Huffington’s Case to Redefine Success

For a book that makes the case for reenergizing, recentering and getting more rest, reading Thrive might be the only thing worth losing sleep over.

Arianna Huffington’s new book is a wake up call for readers to redefine success. Thrive is a calculated declaration of defiance against our plugged-in, tuned-in, burnout culture. This culture, she suggests, is leading to the erosion of our human capital. Arianna takes aim at “tech-addiction” and everything that contributes to the swiping and trolling “shallow” existence that she describes is eroding our connection to a deeper, more fulfilling life.

She puts forth the reality that being more productive is achievable by working less. And, while working less we have the opportunity to rebuild our connection to what really matters: living our values and being true to ourselves. Thrive is a book that makes the case to recenter how we work, why we work, how we live, and why we live, with practical suggestions to live better, happier, more productive lives. She writes:

There is nothing that we need more today than having proportion restored to disproportion, and separating our everyday worries and preoccupations from what is truly important. An amazing array of seemingly incompatible people and activities can coexist in our lives with harmony and a sense of order when we find an ambiguous center in ourselves.

Redefining success and reestablishing our collective centeredness is possible through practices that align with what she describes as third metric living that I will elaborate on in a follow up blog.

Watch Arianna Huffington in a conversation with Bonita Stewart at Google NYC, discussing “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.”

Third metric living is comprised of four elements:

  • Well-being
  • Wonder
  • Wisdom
  • Giving

Throughout Thrive, Arianna uses several of her own lived experiences as supporting evidence to enrich her points. They include everything from growing up in Greece, how she conducts HuffPo meetings, her relationship with her ex-husband and her sister Agapi, and even emotional descriptions from giving birth to her daughters (and post birth out-of-body experience). Readers learn the contents of her wallet, why the “cat lady” is a myth, and the history of the “deadline.” She draws on nearly everything from Huffington Posts sections, the Aspen Ideas festival, vacation stories, and brilliant minds like Louis CK.

The part of Thrive that has stuck with me the most is the idea that everyday we are writing our eulogy. It’s our eulogy where our legacy is shared through values that we’ve lived. Arianna explains that our eulogy won’t be about how we always kept up with email, or ate at our desk during lunch. Our eulogy will be about the larger successes that can’t be measured in often tedious, and often meaningless, daily tasks that we find ourselves wrapped up in.

“Thriving” will be hard to accept for many addicted to our swipe and scan, screen-dominated culture. Thrive is about behavior change, which can be slow to adopt. But Thrive is a noble effort in addressing something that many so often feel and think to ourselves but push away. It’s the idea (and I would argue the truth) that as humans we have a deep connection to our world and that connection is rich with meaning.

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