Words of Wisdom from Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington

Words of Wisdom from Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington

When Arianna Huffington found herself lying on the floor with a broken cheekbone and a gash over her eye, having passed out due to exhaustion and lack of sleep, she knew something needed to change.

So began her journey to find out what success really looks like, and what matters most in life. Throughout the book, Arianna explores how our obsession with money and power has had a negative impact on our health and wellbeing, sleep, time with the people we care about, and our inability to switch off from work and our devices.

Thrive is packed with Arianna’s own personal realisations, as well as the latest ground-breaking research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep, and physiology that show the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging, and giving.

Thrive challenged my perspective on life and society’s expectations, presenting me with an abundance of thought-provoking ideas. I’ve shared my favourites below…

1. Quality, over quantity

“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.”

2. Take care of your mind

“If you take care of your mind, you take care of the world.”

3. The only competition is against yourself

“I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.”

4. Know what’s important to you

“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.” —IAIN THOMAS

5. How do YOU define success?

“Have you noticed that when we die, our eulogies celebrate our lives very differently from the way society defines success?”

6. Don’t complain – change the channel

“And whenever I’d complain or was upset about something in my own life, my mother had the same advice: “Darling, just change the channel. You are in control of the clicker. Don’t replay the bad, scary movie.”

7. Ask the right question

“It’s not ‘What do I want to do?’, it’s ‘What kind of life do I want to have?’”

8. Write your own eulogy, every day

“We may not be able to witness our own eulogy, but we’re actually writing it all the time, every day.”

10. Beware your deadlines

“Today we often use deadlines—real and imaginary—to imprison ourselves.”

11. Obstacles are part of life

“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin—real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” —FR. ALFRED D’SOUZA

12. Be mindful of who you invite on your train

“The people we invite on the train are those with whom we are prepared to be vulnerable and real, with whom there is no room for masks and games. They strengthen us when we falter and remind us of the journey’s purpose when we become distracted by the scenery. And we do the same for them. Never let life’s Iagos—flatterers, dissemblers—onto your train. We always get warnings from our heart and our intuition when they appear, but we are often too busy to notice. When you realize they’ve made it on board, make sure you usher them off the train; and as soon as you can, forgive them and forget them. There is nothing more draining than holding grudges.”

13. Life is love

“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”

14. Move to grace

“We all have within us the ability to move from struggle to grace.”

15. Be a go-giver

“Imagine how our culture, how our lives, will change when we begin valuing go-givers as much as we value go-getters.”

16. We are not our thoughts

“Meditation is not about stopping thoughts, but recognizing that we are more than our thoughts and our feelings.”

17. Which wolf are you going to feed?

“An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.” – CHEROKEE LEGEND

18. Everyone has a place

“Give me a place to stand, and I will move the world.”

19. You can make money and make a positive change in the world

“Making money and doing good in the world are not mutually exclusive.”

20. What’s meant to be, will be

“My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me, and that what misses me was never meant for me.”

21. Music touches the soul

“music can reach those places where words alone can’t go.”

22. We are all creative

“When a child loses confidence in his or her creativity, the impact can be profound. People start to separate the world into those who are creative and those who are not. They come to see these categories as fixed, forgetting that they too once loved to draw and tell imaginative stories. Too often they opt out of being creative.”

23. Prioritise sleep

“sleep deprivation reduces our emotional intelligence, self-regard, assertiveness, sense of independence, empathy toward others, the quality of our interpersonal relationships, positive thinking, and impulse control.”

24. Rise above the negative 

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me.”

25. Rest and stillness are just as important as motion and action

“Taoist philosophy, “Rest is prior to motion and stillness prior to action.”

26. Give

“Really true that while we grow physically by what we get, we grow spiritually by what we give.”

27. Reduce your stress levels throughout the day

“And during the day, to prevent stress from building up—which makes it harder to fall asleep at night—every few hours take sixty seconds of recovery time the way top tennis players introduce tiny slots of recovery rituals into their game. All you have to do is stop what you are doing, and simply bring your awareness to the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet, or both. Let it stay there for a minute, and feel all tension leaving your body, drifting away from you through your hands and feet.”

28. Control your information intake

“Turn off all notifications; you should control when you want information, not the reverse.”

29 . Don’t overbook yourself

“Like airlines, we routinely overbook ourselves, fearful of any unused capacity, confident that we can fit everything in. We fear that if we don’t cram as much as possible into our day, we might miss out on something fabulous, important, special, or career advancing. But there are no rollover minutes in life. We don’t get to keep all that time we “save.” It’s actually a very costly way to live.”

30. Get a good night’s sleep

“Everything you do, you’ll do better with a good night’s sleep.”

31. Meditation increases mortality

“A study funded by the National Institutes of Health showed a 23 percent decrease in mortality in people who meditated versus those who did not.”

32. Do what you love

“We are too quick to censor or judge our natural creative impulses as not being good enough. But we need to give ourselves permission to follow what makes us feel most alive. And when we are most alive we are most compassionate and vice versa. If you love to sing, sing—you don’t have to sing in a choir or become a soloist. If you love to write poems or short stories, write them—you don’t have to become a published author. If you love to paint, paint. Don’t squash your creative instincts because you’re not “good enough” to turn what you love to do into a career.”

33. Meditation is good for your physical health, as well as your mental health

The “state of calm produced by meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises—actually switched on genes that are related to augmenting our immune system, reducing inflammation, and fighting a range of conditions from arthritis to high blood pressure to diabetes. So with all these results, it’s no surprise that, according to another study, meditation correlates to reduced yearly medical costs.”

34. Choose your thoughts wisely

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

35. Learn to focus on the things that matter

“Those who can sit in a chair, undistracted for hours, mastering subjects and creating things will rule the world—while the rest of us frantically and futilely try to keep up with texts, tweets, and other incessant interruptions.”

36. Everything happens for a reason

“There is a purpose to our lives, even if it is sometimes hidden from us, and even if the biggest turning points and heartbreaks only make sense as we look back, rather than as we are experiencing them. So we might as well live life as if—as the poet Rumi put it—everything is rigged in our favor.”

37. Sleep deprivation can have a number of negative impacts on our life

“According to a study from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, sleep deprivation reduces our emotional intelligence, self-regard, assertiveness, sense of independence, empathy toward others, the quality of our interpersonal relationships, positive thinking, and impulse control.”

38. Tips to help you fall asleep

“And Cindi came up with a new trick to use if she was having trouble falling asleep: “Counting backward from 300 by threes—it works like magic and you never get below 250.” On the few occasions when I feel too wired to sleep, my panacea is a hot bath with my favorite bath salts.”

39. Be grateful

“Gratitude works its magic by serving as an antidote to negative emotions. It’s like white blood cells for the soul, protecting us from cynicism, entitlement, anger, and resignation.”