Thrive Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Thrive shines a light on the missing ingredient in our perception of success, which includes well-being, wonder, wisdom and giving, and goes beyond just money and power, which often drive people right into burnout, terrible health and unhappiness.

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Thrive Summary

Arianna Huffington makes me think of Wonder Woman. She’s strong, she spreads good wherever she goes, and she does it all without sacrificing her own health or happiness in the process. It’s one of those popular faces on the internet I actually appreciate showing up everywhere, where most others annoy me after a while, because they’re just out to sell more of their stuff.

But Arianna is just as human as you and me, so when she sacrificed her health and happiness in the search of money and power, the universe had to send her a wake-up call. In 2007, it did. Arianna fainted in her office, hit her head on her desk and woke up in a puddle of blood. It took her five stitches in her face and a broken cheekbone to realize that maybe there’s more to life than just work.

In Thrive, she shares everything she’s learned about true fulfillment since. This book will help you balance your ambition to keep you from burning yourself out on your path to success.

Here are 3 lessons to show you what it means to truly thrive:

  1. Update your definition of success to include thriving.
  2. Look inside yourself for true wisdom, instead of trying to filter all the information around you.
  3. Quit checking your smartphone all the time.

Did you sleep well? Especially if not, it’s time for our three to thrive!

Lesson 1: Add a third metric to your definition of success: thriving.

After Arianna’s skull-shattering incident in 2007, the doctor told her she was suffering from burnout after working 18 hours a day for so many years. If that’s not cause to take a good look at your life, I don’t know what is. Determined to put an end to the stress, she found the reason for her problem in her distorted view of success.

So far she had thought it consisted of only 2 ingredients: money and power.

When she realized she had plenty of those two things, but still felt like she wasn’t thriving, that is living a life of true fulfillment, she decided to add thriving as a third metric to measure her own success by.

To her, thriving consists of four key elements:

  1. Well-being – taking care of your physical and mental health.
  2. Wisdom – learning on a deep level with true insights.
  3. Wonder – reflecting on the marvelous beauty of nature, art and life.
  4. Giving – being generous to others so you’ll improve your own joy and happiness.

Here’s one of the ways in which you can make sure you thrive too.

Lesson 2: For true wisdom, look inside yourself.

Huffington says true wisdom does have nothing to do with intelligence or knowledge. When we hear that word, we usually think of something ancient, maybe an old man with a long, white beard, who amazes us with profound insight. But that’s just because we lost touch with ourselves.

The truth is, true wisdom lives inside every single one of us. All we have to do is look inward, rely on our experiences, and listen to our gut. It’s easy to turn to the endless vastness of facts available online in our Google-fueled, information overload driven world. However, when you stop letting yourself get distracted from the day-to-day, you’ll see that even this intangible, mysterious source of just knowing what feels right and what not from inside is very real and very powerful.

After her devastating divorce, Arianna took some time to look inside, and then decided to channel all of her energy into caring for her children and being a great mum, which was exactly the right decision to get over the breakup.

So view life as a classroom, keep your eyes open and listen to your intuition whenever you can.

Lesson 3: Stop looking at your smartphone so much. Seriously.

Ready for a pretty sobering statistic? Here goes.

You are checking your smartphone 150 (!) times per day, on average.

Taking into account that you’re asleep for 8 hours (hopefully), that means your arm reaches for that beeping, vibrating, pandora’s box of distraction every 6 minutes. Do you know how insane that is?

Smartphones are a big reason we end up in insane scenarios, where we think about buying a book that teaches us how to read a bedtime story in just one minute, so we can put our little ones to sleep faster, and start cutting away time from the most important things in our lives, just because of the permanent sense of urgency our devices create in our minds.

Connectivity is a great gift, but only if we use it right. When you objectively look at your smartphone usage, you’ll probably agree that it’s too much. It’s time to turn off notifications, get back your sense of time and learn to deeply concentrate on whatever thing is right in front of you again.

You know it’s the right thing to do.

Note: For a fun, but profoundly true take on the subject, check out why Louis C. K. hates smartphones.

My personal take-aways

Another thing I like about Arianna Huffington is that she keeps things simple, but not in a simpleton’s way. The way she delivers these powerful calls to action to return to some of the things from our past, which are proven to be healthier and better for us, makes them easy to understand and implement.

The fact that she manages to run this behemoth of a company called The Huffington Post, while still getting 8 hours of sleep a night and not having a smartphone transplanted into her arm tells you a lot about true success.

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What else can you learn from the blinks?

  • Why mitigating stress should be at the top of your priority list
  • How Facebook ruins serendipity and your sense of wonder
  • Why giving works not just when catastrophe strikes
  • How we rob ourselves of the feeling that there’s enough time for everything (which there is)
  • Why putting yourself will help your career, not ruin it

Who would I recommend the Thrive summary to?

The 21 year old McKinsey intern who thinks she just has to push through for a couple of years until she’s “made it”, the 59 year old, who asks himself why he’s not feeling truly happy, in spite of having all the money and power he wants, and anyone who secretly knows they’re addicted to their smartphone.