If someone asked you today if you consider yourself successful, what would you say?
Acclaimed TV journalist Barbara Walters asked president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group Arianna Huffington that question Tuesday night during their conversation at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, and she did not answer her friend with the typical yes or no.
"I'm thriving," she told Walters.
Arianna's latest book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, which made its official debut Tuesday, shares the story of her personal wake-up call, the need for a new definition for success, and her journey to find it.
After collapsing from exhaustion in April 2007, Arianna realized that something had to change. While doctors could find nothing medically wrong with her, she felt everything was wrong with the way she was conducting her life. This realization inspired her to delve into the meaning of success, beyond money and power, ultimately discovering a third metric by which to measure life. After all, money and power meant nothing if she was lying in a pool of blood on her office floor.
"The Third Metric has four dimensions," she explained to Walters. "The first is well-being and health, because if we don't nurture ourselves, if we don't renew and regenerate ourselves, then obviously we are going down a dead end." A self-proclaimed sleep evangelist, Arianna discussed the importance of sleep in creating a fulfilling, successful life. Her book not only details how transformative it was for her to sleep 7 to 8 hours each night instead of a mere 4 to 5 hours, but also offers 55 pages of endnotes on the science behind sleep and why it's so powerful.
"The second one is connecting with our capacity for wisdom," she said, "because so often, especially now with this addiction to technology, we find ourselves so disconnected from ourselves that we don't know who we are." She suggested that even just 5 minutes of daily meditation helps us reconnect with that place of strength, wisdom and serenity within us.
Wonder, the third dimension, emphasizes the need simply to stop, look away from our screens and experience the world around us. An over-reliance on technology can cause us to miss the moment and prevent us from truly thriving. "Even the good moments that celebrate us, we are hardly there to enjoy it," said Arianna.
She considers giving, the final dimension of the Third Metric, to be the shortcut to happiness. It is by connecting with those around us that we leave a legacy -- something far more important than a resume by Arianna's standards. "We spend so much of our life polishing our resume, and that often means missing that inner journey," she said. We should focus instead on experiencing life with loved ones, because when we are gone, they will care far more about what we meant to them than what we meant to our jobs.
"It is a huge delusion to think that in order to succeed, you have to drive yourself into the ground," said Arianna, addressing the current model for success designed by men. Rather than working 24/7, crashing and then bragging about it, we ought to give attention to getting enough rest, so we can be present and exercise good judgment in the moment.
Arianna believes that we are all works in progress. In the end, success should not be measured by a single point in our lives, but by the ways in which we choose to live and how we connect with our inner selves. "Life is a huge classroom, and everything that happens is what needs to happen to get us to the next step of our evolution," she said.