Arianna Huffington’s memoir, Thrive, is out today and we were able to talk with her about her inspiration for the book, tips for finding balance and what she thinks is the real key to success in life. Check out zulily today for a great deal on the book and a selection of Arianna’s must-haves to find rest, relaxation and balance in life.
What inspired you to write Thrive? Tell us a bit about its message.
I had my personal wakeup call on April 6, 2007, when I found myself on the floor in a pool of blood. I had collapsed on the floor from exhaustion and lack of sleep, breaking my cheekbone and cutting my eye. I was working eighteen-hour days to build The Huffington Post, joining the ranks of the more than 30% of Americans who are sleep deprived. This painful wakeup call taught me that while I might have been considered successful by our society’s misguided definition, I was not living a successful life by any truly healthy, productive — and sane — definition of success.
Over time our society’s notion of success has been reduced to money and power. In fact, at this point, success, money, and power have practically become synonymous in the minds of many. This idea of success can work— or at least appear to work— in the short term. But over the long term, money and power by themselves are like a two-legged stool— you can balance on them for a while, but eventually you’re going to topple over. And more and more people— very successful people— are toppling over. Thrive’smessage is that, to live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a Third Metric, a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well- being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.
What is your definition of success in life?
My wakeup call taught me that a sane definition of success has to go beyond how much money we can make, how big a house we can buy, and how high we can climb up the career ladder. Jobs and financial security will always be important, but when we fall into the trap of chasing only the successes build on money, fame and power, we miss out on the happiness, purpose and meaning that come from reaching out to others, pausing to wonder, and connecting to that place from which everything is possible.
How do you balance being a successful business woman, a mom and a healthy person?
Nothing brings me joy like spending time with my daughters. It puts everything else into perspective. And I have worked to integrate certain practices into my day—meditation, walking, exercise— and the connection that conscious breathing gives me is something I can return to hundreds of times during the day in an instant. Finally, I strive to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night, and I make sure I have my iPhone and BlackBerrys (yes, plural!) charging far, far away from my bed, to help me avoid the middle-of-the-night temptation to check the latest news or latest emails.
You often say, “sleep your way to the top,” what do you mean by that?
Our creativity, ingenuity, confidence, leadership, and decision making can all be enhanced simply by getting enough sleep. By sleeping more we, in fact, become more competent and in control of our lives. It gives new meaning to the old canard of women sleeping our way to the top. Women have already broken glass ceilings in Congress, space travel, sports, business, and the media— imagine what we can do when we’re all fully awake.
When you’re a mom, usually the first thing to go is your sleep. What advice would you give to our moms for getting a good night’s rest?
The sleep experts I have consulted with have provided me a number of additional sleep tips. Here are some of the ones I found the most useful:
- Get a new pillow. And a new pillowcase.
- Make your bedroom darker and keep it cool.
- Practice deep breathing before bed.
- Take a warm bath before bed.
- Exercise or at least walk every day.
- Banish all LCD screens (computer, smart phones, Blackberry, TV) at night.
- Cut down on coffee after 2 p.m.