Interview with Arianna Huffington: Redefining the Good Life
Women For One is honored to share an interview from six years ago with the brilliant Arianna Huffington. Named by Forbes as one of the most powerful women in the world, Arianna is a truthteller and revolutionary in the realms of politics, news, and business. We were honored that she took the time to share practical insights with us on life lessons that inspired her to expand and grow both as a person and as a citizen of the world—and years later, her advice and wisdom still resonate.
Wf1: At Women For One, we encourage women to courageously share their most cherished experiences and life lessons. What led you to finding the courage to share your truth about your breakdown in your book, Thrive?
Arianna: The hope that I could help others by sharing my story, and the belief that there is a widespread longing to redefine success and what it means to lead “the good life.”
I also find that going public about a decision is a great way to make a commitment stick. In January 2010, I convinced Cindi Leive, editor in chief of Glamour magazine, to join me in a New Year’s resolution that we believed would improve the lives of women everywhere in the world: to get more sleep.
When I blogged about my sleep commitment on The Huffington Post, I started having complete strangers come up to me at events, glancing at their watches and wondering how much longer I planned to stay and whether I was going to be able to get my eight hours. I felt like a kid out on a school night—with dozens of babysitters all anxious to help me keep my commitment.
Wf1: How does your book encourage each of us to get in touch with who we really are so that we can live life on our own terms?
Arianna: Thrive is designed as a bridge to help us move from knowing what to do to actually doing it, filled with daily tips, tools, and techniques that are easy to incorporate into our daily lives. That’s why I have 12 steps I recommend in Thrive, and each of us needs to pick the steps that most resonate with us. Here are just 3 of the 12:
Have a specific time at night when you regularly turn off your devices—and gently escort them out of your bedroom. Disconnecting from the digital world will help you reconnect to your wisdom, intuition, and creativity. And when you wake up in the morning, don’t start your day by looking at your smartphone. Take one minute—trust me, you do have one minute—to breathe deeply, or be grateful, or set your intention for the day.
Introduce five minutes of meditation into your day. Eventually, you can build up to 15 or 20 minutes a day (or more), but even just a few minutes will open the door to creating a new habit—and all the many proven benefits it brings.
Drop something that no longer serves you. I did a major “life audit” when I turned 40, and I realized how many projects I had committed to in my head—such as learning German and becoming a good skier and learning to cook. Most remained unfinished, and many were not even started. Yet these countless incomplete projects drained my energy and diffused my attention. As soon as the file was opened, each one took a little bit of me away. It was very liberating to realize that I could “complete” a project by simply dropping it—by eliminating it from my to-do list. Why carry around this unnecessary baggage? That’s how I completed learning German and becoming a good skier and learning to cook and a host of other projects that now no longer have a claim on my attention.
Wf1: What is your future vision for yourself and how does this apply to women throughout the world?
Arianna: I’m looking forward to continuing to open up the conversation about how we can live our most authentic lives and thrive. I’d love to bring more and more voices into the conversation all around the world. HuffPost is currently in 11 countries—with Greece, India, and the Middle East coming next—and nearly 50 percent of our traffic comes from outside the United States.
Wf1: What methods do you use to nurture your body and soul?
Arianna: My mother taught my younger sister, Agapi, and me how to meditate when I was 13 years old, and I now start every morning with 20 to 30 minutes of meditation. Through mindfulness and meditation, I’ve found a practice that helps bring me fully present and in the moment, even in the most hectic of circumstances.
And after many years of burning the candle at both ends, I now get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Once I changed the amount of sleep I was getting, other habits, such as meditation and exercise, became easier.
I’m also a big believer in the power of walking. When I was living in Los Angeles, I discovered that I came up with many of my best ideas while I was hiking. And whenever I could, I would schedule hikes instead of sit-down meetings, with both my friends and HuffPost editors.
Wf1: If you could encapsulate your truth in one sentence, what would it be?
Arianna: Don’t miss the moment. This was one of my mother’s favorite sayings, which embodied the philosophy of her life.
Wf1: Thank you, Arianna, for your innovate thoughts and service to the world!