Arianna Huffington redefines ‘success’

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Photo by Jason Liu.

Arianna Huffington, founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, never charges her smartphone by her bed.

Huffington advised a crowd of 50 people at Yale Law School on Monday to leave phones far from reach when sleeping — otherwise, waking up in the middle of the night to check messages will interrupt sleep. The simple act of distancing oneself from technology is one of the lifestyle choices that Huffington promotes in her new book “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder,” which outlines a life philosophy that prioritizes sleep and rest. Huffington spoke about this philosophy in the form of an interview with Yale Law School professor Amy Chua.

“‘Thrive’ is not against hard work or big dreams or accomplishments,” Huffington said. “It’s about nurturing human capital.”

In addition to her role as president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, Huffington is a nationally syndicated columnist and the author of 14 books. She launched The Huffington Post in 2005, and it has since become a Pulitzer Prize-winning online news outlet.

In her talk, Huffington proposed that a new metric be introduced into the calculation of success, in addition to the two traditional metrics of money and power. This third metric should be the ability to achieve personal fulfillment and satisfaction, she said.

Huffington said she first developed the idea of the third measurement of success when she collapsed from exhaustion, injuring her eye and breaking her cheekbone. The accident caused Huffington to question whether her business accomplishments truly made her successful in life, and whether or not her continuing exhaustion was actually beneficial to her work.

In answer to a question about whether she could have successfully launched her business with her current life philosophy, Huffington said she probably would still have accomplished the same things — but with less stress and more joy.

Huffington said too many role models are praised for being exhausted and burned out.

“I’m constantly looking now for new role models,” Huffington said. “One of them is God, who took the seventh day off.”

Hopefully, more and more companies will adopt policies that help employees avoid extreme exhaustion, she said. She pointed to Goldman Sachs, which has adopted a weekends-off policy for certain employees. These kinds of standards are going to become more and more popular in the business world, even on Wall Street, she said.

Audience members were enthusiastic about Huffington’s philosophy.

Christen Romero LAW ’14 said he appreciated that Huffington gave attention to the extra complications minorities and people of diverse backgrounds face when trying to incorporate the third metric into their lives.

Dahlia Mignouna ’12 LAW ’16 said she felt validated by Huffington’s talk.

“When I give my friends advice, I tell them to take good care of themselves. But it’s nice to have her say that and to remind us to internalize it for ourselves,” she said.

Huffington has been named one of Forbes Magazine’s Most Powerful Women and one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

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