Defining Success with Less Stress: Takeaways from Arianna Huffington

I had the pleasure of attending Hebrew SeniorLife’s EngAGE Symposium, which focused on the topic of aging and featured Arianna Huffington, Ben Vereen, Dr. Atul Gawande and Dr. Alexis Abramson.

While all of the speakers were memorable, from Atul Gawande’s personal story to Ben Vereen’s moving acapella performance, Arianna Huffington’s discussion inspired me the most.

As Huffington put it, when it comes to stress in our lives, burnout is the disease of our time. In America, we pride ourselves on working hard and often define success often in terms of money and power, putting our minds and bodies through whatever it takes to get ahead. However, we need to stop defining “success” in that way, and rather open ourselves up to what Huffington describes in her book, Thrive, as the “third metric”: Well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving. These are the elements that we should be paying attention to in order to lead more fulfilling lives.

Huffington also talked about the need to disconnect ourselves from technology, which resonated with me as I stood there holding my two different iPhones. She talked about how we need to create sacred spaces for ourselves that don’t involve technology. For example, when out to dinner with a friend, don’t leave your phone on the table, because even if you’re not using it, it is still disrupting the dynamic of your interaction. Huffington’s advice? Thirty minutes before bed, “gently escort your electronic device out of your bedroom.” When you wake up, take a moment to set an intention and remind yourself what you are grateful for, as opposed to reaching your arm out of bed to immediately check your email.

As a 27 year-old professional, these messages definitely hit home with me and the audience was empowered by it as well. So hopefully, after you’ve read this on your electronic device, you will put it down, step outside or take a moment to yourself and think about a simple change you can make in your life to create your own success.

 

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