When I picked up Arianna Huffington’s novel Thrive, I thought, ‘excellent, this book is going to tell me everything I need to know to be awesome at my job. It’s going to give me all the tips and tricks I need to be focused at work and build an empire.’ Basically, ‘it’s going to teach me how to be the bomb’.
What I didn’t realise was that it was going to give me so much more. Now I should confess right here that I still haven’t finished Thrive, but there is so much goodness to derive from it that this post is going to share a few of the golden nuggets I took from the first part – the obvious wisdoms that a world generations before ours would have lived every moment.
- STAY CONNECTED. Not to your phones – or your iPads, put them down right now. Stay connected with your own being. Make time to be calm and focused on the now. Read a book. Dream a daydream. Walk down the street and feel the sunshine on your back. See the people who pass you by on the street (as opposed to walking into them whilst posting a moment that’s already been lived to Instagram). Say hello. Connect.
- Meditation is like a free holiday. So BE MINDFUL. Slow down. Live the moment. Meditate – but don’t let the word scare you. Arianna explains it’s not about emptying the mind, but balancing the rigidness of the mind with the chaotic nature of the heart. It’s about finding awareness in everything you do and being conscious of your thoughts and actions. Slow down, focus on the one thing you are doing, stop multi-tasking for that moment. Breathe. Deeply. Be mindful.
- BE WELL. PERFORM WELL. It’s no secret that exercise creates endorphins and endorphins make you feel good. Heck, they even make you work good. So don’t each lunch at your desk (start by at least breaking the habit twice a week) – get outside, stretch your legs, breathe some air.
- DISCONNECT. Not from your soul, or the people around you (we’ve covered that), disconnect from technology. What was that? A laugh? A ‘yeah right?’ I get it, technology is part of our lives – but it should not control our lives. Arianna talks about ‘techno-stress’ and our addictions to email, to the news cycle, to knowing what our ‘friends’ are doing at every time of day. All of this tires our minds. No, it exhausts our minds and it is taking the juice out of us, sucking our power supply if you will. Over-connectivity is denying us the right to restfulness, the comfort of human interaction and the necessity of sleep.
Already from implementing some of these simple things to my daily routine (and a phone bar at bed time which admittedly is still a work in progress), I find myself thinking broader, clearer and experiencing a greater sense of awareness. I have also placed a greater value on the things that help me to stay mindful.
So, what does it mean to thrive? I’ll confirm this for you when I finish the book, but already I know it means more than long days that go quickly and how many re-Tweets you got on a witty post. I believe that what Arianna is so passionately encouraging the corporate world to realise is that to truly thrive in business, is to thrive at life as well.
For those who aren’t familiar with Thrive, it takes the reader on a journey of discovery that questions how success is defined and celebrated. Arianna Huffington talks about the ‘Third Metric’ to success, which balances the two traditional metrics of money and power.
Blog Post by Hayley Cole