Last night I went to see Arianna Huffington talk at The School Of Life in London about her book Thrive.

I couldn’t share a recording of the actual event, but wanted to share a very similar one here so you can have an experience of hearing her speak.

I was struck by her grace, her ease, elegance and poise as she spoke and the room of around 1000 people was in thrall to her presence throughout.

After waking up one day with a broken cheekbone and needing stitches to her face in a pool of blood as a result of literally crashing out through overwork, Arianna had the insight ‘This is not a successful life” and so began her research into thriving.

In her book (and the video above), she talks about how success in our society is judged primarily on the two metrics of power and success.

As a result more and more people and companies are experiencing burnout and 1 in 6 of us here in the UK suffers from either depression or anxiety.

Adrianne’s take on the third metric, well being is explored in her book Thrive.

There are some concepts she explains that don’t fit my current model of the world: that there are ‘things we need to do in the world to change the way we feel’ such as yoga, sleeping more and staying away from our electronic devices.’

It’s not that yoga, sleeping more and staying away from electronic devices are things I disagree with (in fact I do all of these myself), it’s the belief that we need to do these things in order to thrive.

(A future post on ‘misattribution’ of where well-being comes from to follow!)

It’s my experience that but for any thinking we’re caught up in at any moment, we’re already thriving.

We’re born with that capacity.

It’s what we’re already made of.

And so there’s nothing we need to do to ‘get it’.

It’s even simpler than she thinks.

Arianna’s are interesting ideas and seem to make sense until the moment we see that none of those things are necessary in order for us to experience well being.

That it’s possible we could get 4 hours sleep a night, never touch a yoga mat and be on Facebook all day and still be OK is a controversial idea, but if we experience our world only through the stories we make up via thought, and NOT as a result of our external environment, how could what I just said be anything other than true.

Aside from not agreeing with the fundamentally ‘outside in’ approach Arianne takes – ‘our world is stressful, not enough sleep makes you feel bad’ etc, I love the way she shines a light on how our emphasis on more money and more power means we’ll never ‘win’ the game of life.

She points out we have around 30,000 days (if we’re lucky) to be human on this planet and how we spend them is determined by what we value.

And if you read the book, my guess you’ll be as touched by Arianna’s mother’s wise words about life as much as I was.

When we value only money and power because we think they will ‘make us happy’ – it does explain a lot of the chaos and suffering we see in our world today.

I highly recommend you get and read a copy of Thrive.

I’m so grateful for women like Arianna raising awareness and promoting discussion around this topic – I’d love you to share your take on ‘the third metric’ below.

 

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