Do you remember the teen phenom skier Mikaela Shiffrin from the Sochi Olympics? The girl who won our hearts by winning the gold medal in…well, whatever it was. And while I don’t remember her event (anyone, help?), I do remember reading this about her: she is known for being able to take a nap right before a race. I will probably remember that fact until the day I die, because I find it so remarkable.
And yet…maybe that is why she is so successful. I dare say Arianna Huffington might agree. You see, Huffington has just published a new book called THRIVE, which is full of compelling arguments (backed up by substantial research) about why we need to redefine success. And by “we,” I mean you. And by “redefine success,” I mean prioritize the things that really matter, protect ourselves as much as we protect the company bottom line. And get more sleep, among other things. In her book, Huffington argues that we are too plugged in, too burned out, pushing ourselves too hard in a world of 24/7 contact to be of much use to anyone, including our families and employers. We need to take the traditional measures of success—money and power—and add what Huffington calls a “Third Metric,” which measures well-being. And she wants to give us the tools to get there.
The thing about Arianna Huffington is that she’s a bit terrifying. I mean, she has achieved those first two metrics and then some, which is more than many of us can say. (Come to think of it, so has Mikaela Shiffrin, although she’s a teenager and when she seems especially terrifying we just have to remind ourselves that she can’t even vote yet.) But you don’t need to be running a major media company to feel burned out. Nor do you have to be Arianna Huffington to have the intelligence and intuition to correct it. But Huffington would argue (and does, persuasively, in her book) that we all possess what it takes to achieve the third—and most important—metric. To achieve a state of mindfulness and grace, gratitude and strength.
For years at Real Simple, we’ve said that this brand exists “to help women do the things they have to do, so they have more time to do the things they want to do.” That was true of Real Simple when we launched 14 years ago, and it’s true today. Women’s lives and roles continue to expand and change at a rapid pace, and the need to make our lives easier feels much more urgent now than it did back in the year 2000. We could all use a little priority reality check from time to time. This week, for me, it’s THRIVE.
If you (unlike my children) want to hear more from me, you can follow me on Twitter @kvanogtrop.