Arianna Huffington is one of the world’s most famous businesswomen. A journalist, author and columnist, she started The Huffington Post, back when newspapers barely even had an online presence, and built it up to be one of America’s biggest news sites.
As far as success stories go, hers is major: sold the Huffington Post to AOL in 2011 for US$315million and is still the site’s President and Editor in Chief. A poster woman for feminism and working her way to the top through a field dominated by men. Here, Arianna shares some life wisdoms she’s learnt along the way, which she’s documented in her book, Thrive.
Her biggest take home message is that working hard and burning out does not lead to success. It leads to exhaustion. And it took her collapsing in her office, hitting her jaw on a table on the way down which left a gash requiring stitches, to realise that something might not be right. It was then that she embarked on a journey of self-improvement, from the inside out. She says that success in our society is only measured by power and money, but neither of those things lead to true happiness. So according to Arianna, we should have a third measure of success, which she divides into four pillars.
Here are Arianna Huffington’s Life checks.
- Our wellbeing
“It’s not worth sacrificing our health for anything,” Huffington affirms, “one in five Australians is suffering from mental illnesses – depression, OCD, anxiety, fears and the like. It’s become a greater threat to people’s lives. This is totally unnecessary if we integrate the third measure into how we define our lives.
“We look around and we see an incredible number of smart people in media, politics and business, making terrible decisions,” she says, “not because they’re not smart but because they’re not wise. We all have within us this centre of wisdom, strength and power, and we can learn to return to that centre.”
“So often we are busy perpetuating multi tasking,” Arianna says. “Other than taking pictures I recommend not multitasking, because multitasking is an illusion. It’s really task switching and science makes it clear that it’s one of the most stressful things we can do. I know that I never used to walk down the streets of New York without being on the phone or texting, and I realised that I was missing out on everything. What are we missing when we think we’re busy multitasking and being productive?
“We’ve all been living under an illusion. That the way to success is to multitask, burn out and not sleep. And that has become a huge cause for me – I’m a sleep evangelist. I gave a TED talk advocate sleeping your way to the top. And I’ve got research here that tells me that when we get seven to eight hours a night of sleep, we are more productive, less reactive, more effective. I know when I’m sleep deprived I take things personally, I overreact, I miss the red flags, I’m less able to cope. I’m not as intuitive and less involved.
“Men have created a workplace environment that being sleep deprived, being ‘on’ 24-7 is a sign of success. A virility symbol. I went out with a guy who boasted he’d only had four hours of sleep and I thought well, if you had five this dinner would be a lot more interesting.”
You heard it here folks. Sleep in tomorrow.
“I know how many of you are involved in giving back. And now we have the science that prove that giving is the shortcut to happiness,” Arianna says, “There’s no better networking skill than being a giver. If you walk into a room, and your thought is what can you give to this person rather than what can I take from them, you are the person they want to do business with, because it’s human nature to support those who support you. If you walk into a room and you want to support somebody else’s book, somebody else’s business, it’s only natural they want to support you. Rather than the traditional way of networking, which is ‘what’s in it for me here?’ That’s what I mean about the process of changing. Moving from a competitive to a collaborative framework.
Arianna says that giving creates a cycle of positive behaviour.
“It’s very important throughout our lives to remember what we value. The things that matter are family and friends, how did we laugh, how did we make people feel? Busy-ness should no longer be worn as a badge of honour. If we’re asked to do something, we need to remember that NO is a full sentence. It doesn’t have to be ‘no, I’m too busy with this and that,’ which makes you feel more overwhelmed than we are. Creating space in our lives is absolutely critical. Life is shaped from the inside out. We think it’s shaped from the outside in but it’s not. You know how we say ‘onward and upwards?’ It should be onward, upward and inward. Because when we make this inward journey and connect with ourselves on the inside and our inner wisdom, we are going to be more resilient and more able to deal with whatever life brings us.”
So.. How many of Arianna Huffington’s life checks have you got right? Tell us in the comments below!