Summary Written by Jill Donahue
"Have you ever noticed that when we die, our eulogies celebrate our lives very differently from the way society defines success?"

- Thrive, page 15

The Big Idea

The four pillars

"...the current way we lead our lives is not working… there are scientifically proven ways we can live our lives differently – ways that will have an immediate and measurable impact on our health and happiness.”"- Thrive, page 19

Daily positive changes in the four pillars of the third metric can make a big difference in your life. Below are three things you can do now to get started in each pillar. Which pillar will you start with this week?

A) Well-being:

  • Get more sleep
  • Move your body
  • Meditate daily

B) Wisdom:

  • Let go of something you no longer need (resentment, negative self-talk, a project you know you won’t complete)
  • Start a gratitude list and share it with two or more friends who send theirs to you
  • Draw a line at night at which you turn off your devices and remove the digital world from your bedroom

C) Wonder:

  • Become fully present: Focus on the rising and falling of your breath for ten seconds whenever you feel tense, rushed or distracted
  • Whenever you feel contracted think of something that brings you joy and inspires a sense of wonder
  • Look at each day with newness and wonder by forgiving yourself for any judgments you are holding

D) Giving

  • Make small gestures of kindness and giving a habit
  • Make a personal connection with the people you interact with daily – the barista, the sales clerk, the cleaning crew, etc.
  • Use your special skill or talent to help someone who might need it

From these four pillars you will find powerful lessons that speak directly to you. Perhaps they will be from the well-being category. I remember the first time I heard these lessons (when I read books like Eat, Move, Sleep and Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zone Way) I changed things in my life. Life changed again when I first became aware of the importance of lessons in the giving category, through books like Give and Take and The Charge. So today, I will delve into two of the lessons Arianna shares that have been harder for me to learn.

Insight #1

Coincidence? I think not!

"One pathway to awakening wonder in our lives is the serendipity of coincidence."- Thrive, page 194

Arianna talks about the importance of coincidence. I had planned a lovely retreat to Big Sur for my husband and me for his 50th birthday celebration. As the date approached, and my work stress heightened, I added a conference to our short agenda. As the date drew even closer, I suggested we do our 2015 business planning while away. After all, we had so much to do. I know what you’re thinking and you are right! What a drag!

Of course I didn’t want a spare minute to be wasted so I brought the next book on my list to read on the plane. It happened to be Thrive. What a lovely coincidence. It was exactly what I needed. It helped me recalibrate my compass.

Working in the pharmaceutical industry, I value evidence and am highly skeptical of anything that is not proven. However, Arianna taught me under the category of wonder to appreciate the coincidences in life. Maybe we don’t have to know what coincidences mean. They can just simply be reminders to maintain your sense of wonder, to stop and allow yourself to be fully present in the moment and open to the mystery of life.

Join our newsletter

Sign up for the very best book summaries right to your inbox.
We care about your data in our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Insight #2

A new drug for stress

"This effect is equivalent to discovering an entirely new class of drugs."- Thrive, page 43

Would you like to decrease the stress in your life? There is a new drug that, in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, showed stress reduction resulting in a 23 percent decrease in mortality, a 30 percent decrease in death due to cardiovascular problems and a significant decrease in cancer mortality. The drug? It is at your disposal whenever and wherever you want it! It’s meditation.

I’m sure you know some people who are really great at tennis. How did they get that way? Well of course, they practiced a lot! What about people you know who are really happy? How did they get that way?

Luck? Birth?

Nope! We learn in Thrive that we need to view happiness not as a trait but rather as a skill, like tennis. You have to practice to enhance your happiness and well-being. In fact, every strand of scientific evidence points to this.

Meditation is one way to practice.

Meditation is a wonder drug and like any drug, it needs to be adhered to. I always say “showering works, but you still have to do it everyday!” It is the same with meditation. It must become a part of your everyday life to be effective.

Isn’t it time? Time to live your life with more grace, joy compassion, gratitude and love. Time to create your own definition of success and create a life that will achieve that.

Read the book

Get Thrive on Amazon.

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of fourteen books. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. In 2013, she was named to the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. In 2006, and again in 2011, she was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on several boards, including EL PAÍS, PRISA, the Center for Public Integrity, and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Subscribe to digest
Read about our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.