Hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend filled with fun, family, friends, and of course, candy! I was in the mood for a new read this weekend, so I took a little trip to Barnes and Noble. Luckily, one of my professor’s mentioned the book “Thrive” by Arianna Huffington (cofounder of the Huffington Post) in class this past week, otherwise B & N trips can consume an entire afternoon… If there is one store where I can spend hours and hours, sometimes walking around in the same circle, it’s Barnes and Noble.
I spent almost my entire Saturday night (thrilling Saturday night for a 25 year old 😉 ) digging into Thrive, needless to say I HIGHLY recommend this read. Huffington’s novel discusses the definition of success in our world today (money and power) and how it is literally driving individuals into the ground. She stresses the importance, for us as a society, to begin redefining success. “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.” These four pillars are what make up the four sections of the book.
The first section “well-being” talks about just that, our health and well-being. Huffington advocates that if we don’t begin to redefine success in our country, our physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health will continue to decline. She offers countless stories of CEO’s and well known leaders who have stepped away from careers that they put everything into and sacrificed a ton for, including their health, to regain a life of meaning, balance, and wellness instead of stress, anxiety and exhaustion.
Together with the stories from influential American’s and personal experiences from Huffington’s own life, she provides readers with tools and tactics to begin living a life where our health and well-being becomes just as important as our work meetings, e-mail’s and deadlines. In her “well-being” section, I especially appreciated Huffington’s sharing of her meaning of mindfulness. She brought in this component to offer readers a simple approach to give more attention and care towards our mental health. This is what I would like to leave you with this Monday.
Mindfulness as Told in Thrive: Habit Breaking or Habit Unmaking
“Each day for a week you choose a habit such as brushing your teeth, drinking your morning coffee, or taking a shower, and simply pay attention to what’s happening while you do it. It’s really not so much habit breaking as habit unmaking -it’s taking something we’ve placed on autopilot and putting it back on the list of things we pay attention to. The idea is not to make you feel different, but simply to allow a few more moments in the day when you are ‘awake’…If you notice your mind wandering while you do this, simply notice where it went, then gently escort it back to the present moment.”
Mindfulness exercises can be done in a variety of ways and in all sorts of settings, but the point I think Huffington tries to make is that it can be incorporated into our lives in the simplest parts of our day (such as brushing our teeth 🙂 ). After reading this, I started thinking about my own day. I can’t remember the last time I took a shower, without running through a list of things in my head that I needed to do that day. As far as drinking coffee goes, I’m usually trying to inhale a cup as quick as possible as I fly through my morning to get ready and get out the door by 7:30 am. I don’t know that I usually even taste my morning coffee? Someone could put lemonade in my favorite snoopy mug, and I don’t know that I’d even notice a difference? It’s become more of a “get the caffeine in asap” and let’s get the day going! It makes me disappointed to look at the parts of my day when I should be more present, when I am actually physically away from school/work/etc. and yet, I am not being mindful. I’m not being connected, I’m not living as well as I could be. I’m rushing. I’m stressing. I’m thinking about the next thing. Trying to get ahead, not realizing that it’s probably actually setting me back.
I think we all have areas in our day where we can try to be a little more present. More mindful. More connected. By finding parts in our day to focus on our well-being is just how we can begin to, as Huffington says in her novel, redefine success and most importantly, begin to Thrive. Likewise, we can think of it as just another way to begin living our life “the water lily way.”