I first came across Thrive (The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.) in 2015, not long after it had been published in the UK. I was in the process of a massive transition in my life; going through a redundancy process after nearly nine-years in a job I loved, overseeing this turbulent time for my team, whilst working on moving my business from a “set up” to “startup” to my full-time career.
I was aware of Arianna Huffington from her online newspaper Huffington Post, and was fascinated to read about her approach to life and work. There are so many assumptions about what it takes to create a brand and business like “HuffPost”; knowing that she was a parent made this book even more fascinating for me.
The inspiration for this book came from her burnout period; a dramatic collapse in 2007 which gave her a head injury and some time to reflect on what she wanted out of life. I was reading this book going through my own crisis; excited about moving into my own business but concerned about how I would make it all balance!
Fast forward three years and my private reading have become my public online book club. I recommend books frequently in meetings and coaching sessions, so figured it was about time I shared my thoughts with the masses. When planning the books for 2018, it made sense that Thrive was added to the list; and it was a re-read through a different “lens” for me. Now I was reading it as the master of my own time!
At the time of writing this blog, Arianna Huffington has sold Huffington Post, written a new book focused on the powers of Sleep (called The Sleep Revolution) and launched an online platform based around wellbeing, aptly named, Thrive Global!
This wasn’t just a book for her. It is a way of life. It is a revolution!
She wants to fix our culture of “burnout”.
What is the Third Metric?
The Third Metric is the backbone of the book, and Huffington’s belief in this will lead the reader to redefine success and create a happier life. Books published before this (and after) have made promises of creating happiness, but this is the only one (that I have read) that actually lives up to its promise.
The third metric is the anti-capitalistic approach to life. Traditionally, we are measured on the first two: money and power. The third is what we need to be satisfied, healthy and stable. The Third Metric is achieved through four pillars (are you keeping up?)
These four areas are the four chapters that Huffington fills with personal anecdotes, family history, religion, spirituality, case studies and (most importantly for me) science-backed research! This book feels very philosophical in parts, and it comes to no surprise that her Greek heritage and its culture is interwoven with the modern day references to smartphones and technology.
This book really is jam-packed with thought-provoking elements, but these are the key things that I have taken away from the book:
What is YOUR definition of success?
It is so great to read the perspective of someone who has been “traditionally successful” push back on the societal expectations that are linked to money and power. In fact, this book forces you to consider what you are doing outside of these two metrics and ask yourself if you are leaving a positive legacy.
You need to rest!
Busy and lack of sleep shouldn’t be used as a badge of honour. Apart from the immediate discomfort of brain fog and dry eyes, this book, again and again, drives home the long-term implications of lack of sleep; from depression, poor health, anxiety and accidents.
But you also need to move!
The power of movement is present in nearly all four of the pillars. From the physical benefits in though “Well Being”, to the way it allows us to observe the world and feel “Wonder”. How many times do we rush through life and not pay attention to the small things that, well, add up to the really important things!
How is technology isn’t helping
The irony of someone who launched a 24/7, global, online news platform telling us that technology is harmful, isn’t lost on Huffington. However, her concern about the way we use it and let us control it. It was my first read of Thrive that encouraged me to disconnect a lot more than I was … and you know what, nothing bad happened whilst I was offline!
What did you think of the book? Have you spent some time considering how the four pillars show up in your life? What changes can you make today to measure your success with powerful and personal Third Metric? Come over to the group The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox and share your plans!
Read the other book reviews here.
Next month’s book is “How to be really productive” by Grace Marshall and the online meeting is on Monday 23rd April at 8 pm. The Book Club runs as a virtual meeting, where we share our thoughts via a Facebook Live in The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox.