Thrive (1)










By Lindsay Stephens

The last YWE Book Club met late in the Fall, to discuss Arianna Huffington’s latest book “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder”.

To prepare the group to discuss the sections and themes of the book, we discussed a provoking ice breaker question – “How do you define success in your life?”. Everyone agreed success needed to include your career, family and personal relationships. Specifically how we defined success included:

  • finding your work challenging in the career you chose
  • working with people you like;
  • reaching a point in your career where people look up to you for advice and guidance;
  • being on a constant journey of personal development;
  • feeling a sense of fulfillment and balance (if that exists!); and
  • finding happiness throughout all facets of your life.

In “Thrive”, Arianna Huffington challenges us to redefine the commonly accepted definition of success. The current status quo tells us that success is defined by two metrics: Money and Power. Based on Ms. Huffington’s experiences after achieving both, she discovered they are not the only metrics that define success. Enter the third metric – Thrive. Thrive consists of four pillars: Well-being, Wisdom, Wonder and Giving. The general feeling of the group was that these are all intuitive themes that make sense to strive for, but as young professionals who are still trying to define our own success, do we have the ability to fully incorporate this third metric into our lives? When considering this question, there was a sense of hope around the table, that yes, to some extent, it is possible to build our success using some of the building blocks from these four pillars.

The book explores each of the four pillars of the third metric further:


It took a hard fall for Arianna Huffington to realize that taking care of yourself and focusing on your own well-being is essential to success (not just an aftersight). This book talks about the importance of sleep and avoiding burn-out. It highlighted the fact that the ability to deal with stress and make difficult decisions is limited when you are sleep-deprived. When you are working your way up the corporate ladder, a lack of sleep seems to equate to a badge of honour. When this was discussed around the table, the group was split, there were some who strived for their eight hours of sleep and others who did not have the same luxury. With a young lawyer at our table, the point was made that though eight hours of sleep might be ideal, it is not always realistic.

Well-Being Recommendations:

  • moving your body;
  • introducing five minutes of meditation into your day; and
  • trying to get 30 minutes more sleep than you are getting now.


Numerous references were made to studies by various philosophers in this book, in particular, references to Greek philosophy and mythology. In this section we are introduced to the concepts of mindfulness, hurry sickness, time famine and stoicism.

Mindfulness, brings in the notion that we need to take time to disconnect from the technology that constantly surrounds us, and be aware of our overconnectivity and that we need to “cultivate our ability to do things knowing that we are doing them”.

Hurry sickness and time famine are terms that seemed to truly resonate with the group. We are all constantly faced with deadlines and new tasks that keep piling on, but we realized there are benefits to taking the time to slow down and evaluate priorities. In our discussion, it was recommended to think about what is important versus what is urgent and dedicate your time accordingly. Stoicism teaches that unhappiness and stress are not results of the outside world, but rather are results of how we judge “what matters and what we value...we have little power to choose what happens, but we have complete power over how we respond.”

Wisdom Recommendations:

  • listen to your inner wisdom;
  • let go of something today that you no longer need; and
  • have a specific time at night when you turn off all of your devices and take a minute to breathe deeply.


This section of the book encouraged your child-like sense of wonder to return. “Wonder is not just a product of what we see - of how beautiful or mysterious or singular or incomprehensible something may be. It’s just as much a product of our state of mind, our being, the perspective from which we are looking at the world”. Ariana encourages us to be present enough to “not miss the moment”.

Wonder Recommendations:

  • take some time to reflect in silence;
  • focus on your breath while becoming fully present; and
  • pick an image that ignites joy in you and use it when you feel the need to expand your mind.


Giving your time, skills or talents to a worthy cause can not only help the spirit, but teach valuable life lessons. “Thrive” talks about the importance of giving back, whether it is during times of great disaster, or simply to a neighbour in times of trouble or sadness. More and more companies are recognizing the importance of promoting volunteering and community involvement and are encouraging and promoting staff to pursue volunteering opportunities. The group talked about various volunteer initiatives that their own companies promoted that are making differences in our communities, our country, our world and in ourselves.

Giving Recommendation:

  • make small gestures of kindness and giving a habit and see how it affects you.

“Thrive” is a book that asks us to look at success in a different way. It challenges us to incorporate personal awareness into our daily lives. This book included many references to excellent studies and quotes from other inspirational individuals, but it was the personal stories and emotional openness from Arianna Huffington that made this an engaging read. Though this is the first mention of it here, “Thrive” seemed to be a book dedicated to Arianna’s mother. Her character comes up in every section and you get a keen sense that the idea of incorporating a third metric of success was greatly influenced by this important and inspiring woman. A woman who took time to take care of herself and others, imparted great wisdom, saw the wonder in the small things and realized the importance of giving.

Join us at our next YWE Book Club on January 29th, 2015 at Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro. E-mail to RSVP.