The architecture of how we live our lives is badly in need of renovation and repair. What we really value is out of sync with how we live our lives. And the need is urgent for some new blueprints to reconcile the two.” Arianna Huffington
Reading Arianna Huffington’s new book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder made me think about how we glorify being busy and the toll that this path takes on our lives.
Our two main metrics for success are money and power, and they drive us to work longer hours, sleep with our phones and tablets, miss important moments with our families, and impacts our health. Arianna proposes a third metric for success: thriving. When you thrive, you take care of your health, get enough sleep, and do not live to work.
Here are ten tips from Arianna and Thrive for creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder:
1. Redefine success.There’s no prize for working the most hours per week or making the most money. At the end of our lives, we’re all about the same amount of dust, so the question is how much joy you’ve brought into people’s lives and how much have you made the world a better place.
2. Avoid burnout. Burnout, stress, and depression are worldwide problems. At Arianna’s Third Metric conference in 2013, she learned that burnout is not only affecting Americans but also workers in Germany, the United Kingdom, China, and the rest of the world. Working harder doesn’t necessarily mean better results–in fact it can have the exact opposite effect.
3. Nurture your well-being. Make time to take care of yourself in terms of exercise, meditation, music, art, and family life–this isn’t selfishness, it’s good sense. My escape valve is hockey. I play hockey four to five times a week. I also ride a stationary bike and do some yoga four times a week. And I’m not sure all this is enough!
4. Sleep your way to the top. Get more sleep. Not getting enough sleep is associated with health risks and higher stress levels. Every element of your life can be improved by getting the proper amount of sleep. Mea culpa: this is an area that I need to improve because I only sleep six hours per night.
5. Take a digital detox. We all see the people in restaurants spending their time focused on a screen instead of the faces in front of them. When’s the last time you turned off the cellphone and focused 100% on the people you’re with? Challenge yourself and your loved ones to turn off the digital interruptions. The email will be there when you turn your phone back on.
6. Keep learning. We learn many of our life lessons from our parents, relationships with our spouse, and our children. We may not have appreciated or understood all the lessons our parents shared but remembering the advice can shed light on a difficult challenge you’re facing. Learning shouldn’t stop when you’re out of school–indeed, that’s when learning may truly begin.
7. Listen to your inner voice. Have you ever had a hunch about something, ignored it and in retrospect you knew that you should have followed it? We all have. The next time this happens, listen to your gut feelings and be in touch with the perspective of your own thoughts.
8. Act like a child. Spend time with your kids or grandkids and see life through their eyes at a museum or art gallery. Take a trip to your bucket list location that you’ve always wanted to see. Every action doesn’t have to advance your ability to earn money or exercise power.
9. Find solitude. Meditation helps relieve stress and helps us tap our inner voice. If you don’t like being with yourself, how can you expect others to like being with you? Many of my best ideas have come to me when I am driving alone. I’ve often thought that my creativity has declined because I do not take long drives as often!
10. Give back to your community. Being a compassionate person and helping others can help solve some of society’s biggest problems. Find a way that you can share your unique talents or time with a local shelter, an elderly home, or at your children’s school.
As you can see, opening up to this third metric, thriving, touches many parts of our lives. To tell you the truth, on a scale of one through ten where ten is doing a great job with this list, I’d give myself a seven. But everyone has to start somewhere.
The question is, Are you ready to stop the glorification of busy and start redefining success?