Typewriter Tuesdays – Dear Arianna Huffington

Well being, Wisdom, Wonder, Giving

The above are four words that from the point I was done reading the book ‘Thrive’ to infinity will always be ingrained in my mind. I loved this book so much I decided to dedicate this review specially to the author.

Dear Arianna,

All I want to say is thank you. Thrive is a book I have had in my possession since November 2014 and had not bothered to get into it as I thought it would be yet another cliche self-help book but; what makes this one quite different is how well you relate your entire life to the four pillars (mentioned above) that make up the third metric to success according to you. I read this book on a flight back to Kenya from India and I’m not a very fast reader… 8hours later I was done with the book and filled with a whole new insight to life.

We all know that we should take care of ourselves, mentally, physically and emotionally. We should be of sound mind to be able to perform our daily duties well. But the problem most of us face is the supposed ‘lack of time’ to take time out to take care of ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally. This was the basis of your book fortunately (because were it not for your fall this book would not be in existence) and unfortunately (because you got hurt pretty bad, a cut eye and broken cheek bone?? Ouch!)ย 

We all want success and fulfillment in our careers but at what expense exactly? I took this trip to India to visit my mother who was undergoing treatment there and it could not have come at a more perfect time as I was already feeling burned out (In March!) and in need of a break. I work 5 days a week at my full time job and weekends are spent taking care of different freelancing engagements if any… The life of a writer – the hustle never stops. My schedule isn’t as hectic though compared to some people I know who literally work almost over 20 hrs a day, Monday to Sunday and the only break taken is to either eat, answer the phone or take a nap for a couple of minutes and it’s back to the grind.

“Your business might have a great bottom line, but you are your most important capital.”

The 4 pillars to the Third metric of success all serve a particular purpose to our lives and as this is not only a letter but a book review as well, I will give my thoughts on all four here.

Well Being

Well being is all about getting time to know YOU. You explain to readers that the three things that affect our well being are burnout, stress and depression. We constantly put a lot into our lives that we forget as the damage process goes on in our life, there must be time to repair and renew as well. Renewal happens in the form of meditation and plugging out of our digitally consumed life even if for an hour or less. Every minute not taxing your mind with so much counts.

I have never been one to meditate, I never seem to, for lack of a better word, ‘have time’ to switch off from the world even for 5 minutes. I have always been told it’s a good thing to add to your everyday schedule but I just found it as time wasted when I could do something else like check my email or twitter. The tips you gave on meditation for beginners by the way – stellar. It took me a good 3 days to get used to setting aside 10 minutes in the day to just be fully present and in the moment no matter what else I had going on but it has since helped me prioritize better and take on hectic tasks and hectic people better. A certain *whoosah* moment comes with taking time to be patient with yourself and everything around you.

Getting enough sleep and getting blood circulation going by staying active are two more aspects you talk about to help with taking care of your well being. As a self proclaimed insomniac and night owl, I find this part not impossible to do but it has its challenges. As a creative, I have since tuned my body to function best at night whether it’s when doing work or working out or getting inspiration to work or workout… Everything, according to my life since High school, has always worked better late at night. Getting into the real world after college gave me such a wake up call because the rest of the world functions during the day and never at night aside from a select few. Just until recently, read January 2015, despite having to wake up at 5:30am for my morning run, I would still find myself staying up way past midnight. I am not getting any younger as I work harder sadly and my stamina is slowly reducing thanks to how much I push myself. Sundays were the only day I would ever get a full 7-8 hours of sleep. That has since changed thankfully and I try get in as much as sleep as I can everyday, no matter the amount of work that needs to get done. There is a time for everything.

“When we are all mind, things can get rigid. When we are all heart, things can get chaotic. both lead to stress. But when they work together, the heart leading through empathy, the mind guiding us with focus and attention, we become a harmonious human being”

Wisdom

This was my favorite section of the book because of how open you were about parts of your life such as your daughter’s addiction problem. You were faced with the hardest challenge when the drugs almost took her life, but it taught you and your daughter how to be grateful for the most simple things and how to be vulnerable in the face of challenges.

Intuition is one other part in the wisdom chapter that equally resonated with me. I’m sure you have all heard the saying – trust your intuition, it’s almost always right. That’s because it is. The examples you give in the book are quite incredible and I have some interesting yet random intuition based connections that have really worked out positively so I truly believe in intuition – that inner voice that can only be listened to if you are mindful of it aka get enough sleep, learn to take time out of the world and be fully present. See what you did there?? Haha everything is one big circle. Well being, Wisdom, and now… Wonder. P.S: The gratitude list was the best thing I ever did for myself and my best friend, love it!

“My heart is at ease knowing that what was meant for me will never miss me, and that what misses me was never meant for me”

Wonder

What I liked best about this section was the fact that the simplest things like the flowers blooming outside (Spring is nigh somewhere in the world) or taking time to disappear into a book, or encountering a random coincidence are all a form of forced reboot as you say. These things force us to stop and think about the present moment. Wondering makes us gain a sense of gratitude for things we usually take for granted.

The story about Scott Simon’s dialogue on death as he live-tweeted his mother’s death really hit home for me. I was with my grandmother during her last few weeks alive and to this day regret not being there during the last days. I was not prepared for her to go, I really wasn’t. I knew she would be home in time for my 20th birthday and we had even talked about what we would do on that day and how she believed that being 20 means I need to start finding a husband haha, she was a funny one my grandmother. Anyway, I clammed up after her death for about two years and with that came a depression that almost made me drop out of college in my sophomore year. It took me those two years to come to terms with the cruel but necessary hand of death and to accept it. To know that it should not be the end of my life and to be grateful for the mere fact that I was alive every single day I woke up. I wonder sometimes what she would be doing now were she still with us, and all I know is that she would be happy. Happy living her life as I should be.

“Don’t Miss the Moment”

Giving

Very self explanatory and important to be reminded about. Most insightful part was the section you wrote about go-givers being better than go-getters. Key word of this section – Social Entrepreneur, thanks Bill Drayton for the clever term. A social entrepreneur is basically a business entrepreneur and social reformer combined. Perfect. More and more entrepreneurs here in Nairobi are in it to better the country they live in while still getting a profit from giving a service as well. I have a friend who works in finance and has always wanted to start her own company. Having studied in the States during her undergrad she got to see how crowd funding works and works well especially for the youth. She has since started her own version of crowd funding locally but with a different twist. Her company, Mradifund, an online fundraising platform, helps small business owners connect with investors who provide both the capital and mentorship to help these young budding innovators get to the next level. The average Kenyan with a big idea gets to see his/her dream become a reality while the investors not only build their portfolio in the process but also get to become a part of the next big thing with each successful idea acted upon. Kudos to you @missvnjoroge!

Thank you Arianna for reminding us that success is not success if it only benefits you.

“Because it is really true that while we grow physically by what we get, we grow spiritually by what we give”

This is quite a long letter but after reading this book, I had to share my sentiments on it not just with you but with the world as well. Once again, Thank you for sharing your life lessons with the rest of the world and with each page of Thrive turned we all gain a sense of well being, wisdom, wonder and a sense of giving as well.

Sincerely,
Avid fan of the Huffington Post and now, Thrive.

N/B: All quotes are from the book.

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