Arianna Huffington, chair of The Huffington Post Media Group, as well as its president and editor-in-chief, argues in her latest book, “Thrive,” that people need to redefine success by implementing the Third Metric of success — well-being, wisdom, giving and wonder. The Daily Princetonian spoke with Huffington about the importance of redefining success as college students and what direction the change is heading toward.
Daily Princetonian: Why did you choose those four values — well-being, wisdom, giving and wonder — as four pillars of the Third Metric, of all values?
Arianna Huffington: I think these four values capture everything because well-being is health and our aliveness; wisdom is that center place … to make the best decision from which we can tap into our intuition; wonder is real-life capacity to enjoy life and to tap into the mystery of life that we so often miss when we are buried in our to-do list; and giving completes life because it makes us realize we are more than our own lives and careers.
DP: Why do you think it is important for college students to understand the Third Metric of success?
AH: Mental health problems in college, the impact that stress has on how people react to difficulties, depression, alcoholism and drugs … So clearly we see the casualties, not just in Princeton but all around America. That’s why it is very important to have this discussion because otherwise students are left adrift without the real opportunity to have this discussion, to surface whatever stress they are having and address it before it becomes critical.
DP: How do you think your life might have changed if you had known about the Third Metric of success in an earlier stage of your life?
AH: It’s hard to tell how it would look different from outside; [it is] more likely it would be felt from the inside. I know when I’m connected with myself and when I’m fully present and recharged, I’m more alive. I’m happier. I’m a more creative leader. I’m a better mother. I’m a better friend. All these things are hard to point out, but they change everything.
DP: Why do you think women have more potential to lead this revolution?
AH: The way that the world has been designed at the moment — it was designed by men. The values that the world needs now are more female values — the values of collaboration, flexibility, teamwork — those are the values that have inherently been very central to women’s lives. And now these are the very values the world needs.
DP: You seem to distinguish between integrating personal well-being and external success and balancing the two. How would you explain the difference?
AH: It’s not like you are taking two parts of your life and giving them equal weight at the same time. That’s not how it works. It can be whatever it takes. For me, that’s why it [success] is about integration. There are times when your child really needs you and that’s your full attention, rather than at any one time you are balancing everything. That’s now how life works.
DP: Right now, the new definition of success is still more of an individual one. How is the Third Metric of success developing into a cultural one, one that is more widely accepted in the society?
AH: I think it is going to be happening at multiple levels. Individuals are already making changes — conversations like this help — companies are making changes, colleges, as you see. There is a great attention being paid to mental health and to stress. This is a global phenomenon. Every country is making changes.