Social Survey: Seven questions with Arianna Huffington

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The media mogul stopped by The Social to chat about her new book Thrive, which explores our society's detrimental definition of success and puts her at the forefront of a wellbeing revolution. We snagged some extra time with her in the green room to learn more about her own journey and what she hopes the future holds.
 
Q: You talk a lot about eulogies and how they're at odds with the values our working world prizes. What do you hope your eulogy says?
 
A: I actually don't think that life ends with our death. So I'm not particularly interested in my eulogy. I'm more interested in how I live my life so I can see everything that happens, like a classroom that sandpapers me and makes me more connected to the true essence of who I am. My true authentic self.
 
Q: I imagine it takes quite a bit of sacrifice to shift your attitude and behaviour the way that you did. Did you have to give up anything that you miss in making your wellbeing more of a priority?
 
A: I have a great quote about sacrifice by the poet Mark Nepo in the book, who says that sacrifice is giving up things that are no longer working for us to move closer to things that are sacred, that are make life meaningful. Nothing really feels like a sacrifice because when I make choices, say, prioritizing getting enough sleep, prioritizing meditating, over say, doing something with friends, I know that when I do see my friends, I'm going to be more recharged, more alive and more completely 100 per cent there. And that's what I value more than anything now, is to be fully alive and present in what I'm doing.

 
Q: It's 2064. What do you hope a day in the life of an average North American looks like?
 
A: I love this question. Well, first of all, I want to say that I see this as a problem all around the world. I was in South Korea when we launched The Huffington Post there, and it's even more stressed than we are here – 40 people a day commit suicide from stress. In 2064, we're living in a world where everyone has learned to thrive, which means that they can work hard, have big dreams, accomplish more than ever before because they've learned to renew themselves, to unplug and recharge, not to drive themselves into the ground. So they have abandoned completely the delusion that are we are living under now, that burnout is the way to succeed. They'll look back at 2014 and they'll think it was ridiculous that people were congratulated for working 24/7, or that people would say to each other – I hear this all the time – “I can't remember the last time I was not tired.” That's the real sacrifice – of our own wellbeing and wisdom. That is no longer happening in 2064.
 
Q: There are a lot of wise quotes in Thrive. If you could choose one philosopher, living or dead, to lecture our society today, who would it be?
 
A: I love Marcus Aurelius, I quote him a lot. He was a Stoic philosopher and he was also the emperor of Rome. I choose him because obviously, he had a big job. He had a lot to do. I want to demonstrate that incorporating these practises that I recommend are so simple, mostly meditation, walking, giving, basically taking care of ourselves. Incorporating these practises doesn't mean that we're checking out of life or chilling under a mango tree. It actually means that we're more effective at everything we want to achieve. They're performance-enhancing tools. 
 
Q: Here's a controversial one: What are your ultimate pizza toppings?
 
A: I'm a cheese freak. The more cheese, the better, multiple cheeses. I could live off cheese for the rest of my life. And soy lattes.
 
Q: What is your favourite Twitter account to follow?
 
A: There's a great English writer Stephen Fry, whose Twitter account I love. I love Twitter accounts that are funny, Bill Maher is phenomenal, I love him. And they give you a take on current affairs, but with a twist.
 
Q: What's on your bedside table right now?
 
A: Right now, I have a book by Father Gregory Boyle, which is a beautiful book that is about his work with gang members in south central LA, and how they built bakeries and gave them jobs and transformed their lives. I love that, because it shows that every life is redeemable, if we really give them love.


 
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