Are you thriving?

I  was out of town at a conference last week and, when I returned to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport last Friday, I was greeted by this: iPad overload!

It struck me as hilarious and sad and the state of our current society. And this photo is taken from the side without any people–the other side of the waiting area was full of people–each in front of their own iPad. Waiting to go somewhere with their family, for work, or just to visit someplace new. Who knows where their travels would take them, but they’d be caught up on the latest Candy Crush sagas or CNN news reports when they got there.

I guess what saddened and struck me was the number of families, with kids, not talking to one another, but rather staring into a screen. I get it though–it’s hard to keep kids occupied at an airport. But, it does seem to be the norm now. People are constantly connected. We’ve all seen the YouTube guy who was texting on his phone while walking and almost ran straight into a black bear. Or the guy who dove into a river to catch his cell phone with a tragic ending. At some point, we need to say enough with it all, right?

And I suppose the scene was particularly startling to me, having just finished reading Arianna Huffington’s new book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder.

In it, she describes a third metric for success, moving beyond money and power as things to strive for. She talks about how we can thrive instead. Her book is fabulous and breaks it down into four buckets of opportunity: Well-being, Wonder, Wisdom and Giving.

Arianna summarizes the latest research and pulls in her own life lessons to describe a better approach to living–one in which we take ‘digital vacations’ and look for opportunities to volunteer as a family when making weekend plans. A life where we value our own physical health and well-being, including getting enough sleep and finding time for renewal. And, instead of the constant capturing of memories on our smart phones, we could actually enjoy the moment instead. She talks about rediscovering the wonder that we once had as children and the realization that life is a classroom–everything that happens teaches us something.

Here are some of her tips from the book (there are many more):

1. Redefine success.There’s no prize for working the most hours per week or making the most money. Arianna talks about writing your own eulogy or headstone. Nobody talks about how awesome it was that you worked 80 hours a week or were the last one in the office every day. What do you want to be remembered for?

2. Avoid burnout. Working harder doesn’t necessarily mean better results–-in fact, it can have the exact opposite effect.

3. Nurture your well-being. Make time to take care of yourself in terms of exercise, meditation, music, art and family life–-this isn’t selfishness, it’s good sense. Get more sleep–every element of your life can be improved with the proper amount of sleep.

4. Take a digital detox. Did you know that smartphone users check their phones on average, every 6 1/2 minutes or nearly 150 times a day! Are you present with your loved ones? Challenge yourself to a digital vacation without interruptions. The email will still be there when you turn your phone back on.

5. Give back to your community. Being a compassionate person and helping others can help solve some of society’s biggest problems. Find a way that you can share your unique talents or time with a local shelter, an elderly home, or at your children’s school.

Read more tips on how to create a Thriving work culture.

How are you Thriving? Are you redefining success? What does that look like or mean for you?

“For a long time, it had seemed to me that life was about to begin–real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last, it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”

–Fr. Alfred D’Souza

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