In the video below, Arianna Huffington makes an astute point about how society defines success:
“We have been living under a collective delusion for a long while now that burnout is necessary for success, that if you really are serious about succeeding, building a company, climbing the career ladder, then you just have to accept that’s going to require burning the candle at both ends.”
That’s all rubbish, says Huffington. A delusion. There is no such thing as success without a state of sustainable well-being. This is the theme of Huffington’s best-selling book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, which she wrote upon discovering her own personal need to redefine success. Building on the lessons in Thrive, Huffington explains her four-part framework for work-life balance in a new five-part video workshop available exclusively on Big Think+. You can catch a preview just below:
Huffington sees all around us a society in which success is equated with exhaustion. Successful people are supposed to devote themselves completely to their professions. They pull all-nighters. They sacrifice their families and happiness. They plug themselves in, but never unplug themselves. And by acting this way, they sometimes achieve wealth and power. But does that really make them successful? Was Huffington truly successful when, a couple years after launching The Huffington Post, she collapsed from burnout and sleep deprivation? Ostensibly, yes. In reality, no.
Many people strive for the two traditional metrics of success: money and power. In Thrive, Huffington argues in favor of an equally important third metric consisting of four pillars:
Well-being: More than just enjoying life, we should engage in activities that instill peace and poignancy while also offering a recharge — sleep, walking, relaxation, meditation, etc.
Wisdom: Wisdom is different from simply having a high IQ. We must audit our lives and extract from our experiences the lessons that will guide us forward.
Wonder: There is so much innate wonder around us to which the perils of work and stress make us blind. Re-opening our eyes is essential to enjoying our lives.
Giving: We should strive to celebrate go-givers as much as go-getters. We should strive to include more giving in our lives. After all, research has shown that giving is good for your health.
While Huffington’s lesson is focused on achieving an optimal work-life balance, the foundation of her Thrive philosophy is that success is measured in so much more than the acquisition of money and power. By redefining the elements of success and prioritizing the third metric, it’s possible to circumvent society’s delusions and enjoy the fruits of achievement without feeling like a zombie. After all, what’s the point of a successful life if you’re not able to enjoy it?
“Learning How to Thrive: A Masterclass in Work-Life Balance, with Arianna Huffington” is available exclusively on Big Think+.