Redefining Success with Arianna Huffington: Thrive with Self-Care, Value Creation & Empathy

Arianna Huffington and David Brooks Discuss Empathy Children & Youth Changemaking social change Arianna Huffington (Author) David Brooks (Author) Ashoka: Innovators For The Public (Organization) social innovation

Today, Arianna Huffington released a book "Thrive" that poses the questions 'What is success?' and 'What other metrics are we missing as society focuses on acquiring money and power?'. She shares her own personal story, mentioning an eye-opening incident in 2011 when she found herself needing emergency care due to exhaustion. 

"Thrive" weaves her own stresses and successes with other entrepreneurs' stories and the latest research on how ancient practices like meditation help people take better care of themselves — and do better work.

As Huffington is quick to point out, the book isn’t a new-agey attempt to stop people from striving. Rather, her contention is that in order to be productive, creative, and innovative, you need to take care of your psychological life.  

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Below we share some excerpts from the book that discuss the need to redefine success not only to account for self-care but also, so that individual aspirations are attuned to creating value for others. As we rethink and redefine success, we get an opportunity to redefine our role models to those who impact billions of lives rather than those that have billions of dollars. 

Go-Getters Are Good; Go-Givers Are Better

“Imagine how our culture, how our lives, will change when we begin valuing go-givers as much as we value go-getters. Social entrepreneurs are classic go-givers. They build their work on a foundation of adding value to people’s lives.

Bill Drayton coined the term “social entrepreneur” to describe individuals who combine the practical gifts of a business entrepreneur with the compassionate goals of a social reformer. He came up with the term as a college student after taking a trip to India to witness a man named Vinoba Bhave lead the effort to peacefully redistribute seven million acres of land across India to his most destitute compatriots. Today Drayton leaders Ashoka, the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide.” 

Go-givers are none-other than every day people that give themselves the permission to tune in to their surroundings with an empathy lens and do something to improve the lives of others. In our current interconnected and constantly changing world, empathy becomes key.

‘Bill Drayton emphasizes that empathy is an increasingly important resource for dealing with the exponential rate of change we are experiencing. “The speed at which the future comes upon us – faster and fastter—the kaleidoscope of constant change contexts,” he says, “requires the foundational skill of cognitive empathy.” 

In the video above from the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival, Arianna and David Brooks, author and New York Time Columnist discuss empathy in a world of rapid change.