The Greeks have an ancient and stellar reputation for seeing the future, so let's hope that Arianna Huffington is telling the truth when she says there's a monumental shift taking place, right here, right now, right before our very iPhones.
"We are entering a new era. ... The second decade of this new century is already very different. ... There's a longing to redefine success and what it means to lead 'the good life,'" she writes in her new book, "Thrive," which I introduced you to last week. "How we measure success is changing."
And not a moment too soon. The old, male-dominated, testosterone-driven definition of success — "toxic and unsustainable" — isn't working, Huffington documents in her book. In fact, it's making us sick.
"To live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a Third Metric, a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving."
Let's start with well-being, too often the first thing to go when you're climbing the corporate ladder of empty dreams.
Well-being must be part of your personal definition of success, Huffington warns, or the Western Workplace culture — "fueled by stress, sleep deprivation and burnout" — will eat you alive.
Walking the talk, she describes what the HuffPost workplace looks like now, seven years after she crashed, burned and re-examined her life.
"We do a lot to prevent burnout," she writes. There are yoga classes, meditation rooms and quiet places to nap. You can work at a standing desk or use the company gym, and if you can show that you're engaging in healthy lifestyle habits, you can earn up to $500 a year. And — how sweet is this? — everyone has at least three weeks of vacation time and is encouraged to take it.
Over-connectivity is the enemy, Huffington declares, quoting a friend who calls these people the "Digital Dead." At HuffPost, they are helping to find a cure.
"We make it clear no one is expected to check work email and respond after hours or over the weekends." I filed this under Too Good To Be True, but it rivals the French Revolution for a dynamite idea.
Pillar two in Huffington's re-envisioning of success is Wisdom. Cultivating it is something she learned — but forgot to practice — from her wise Greek mother, Elli Stassinopoulos, who taught Ariadne (Arianna's given name) to slow down and meditate, to calm her mind, look into her heart and benefit from her inner wisdom.
"Wisdom is about recognizing what we're really seeking," she writes. And it's not a corner office or more friends on Facebook. Not really.
"(It's) connection and love," she writes. Cue the lightning bolts.
"But in order to find them, we need to drop our relentless pursuit of success as society defines it for something more genuine, more meaningful, more fulfilling."
And here's the tricky part. "It means we have to disconnect from all of our omnipresent devices — our gadgets, screens and social media — and reconnect with ourselves.
"Being connected in a shallow way to the world can prevent us from being deeply connected to those closest to us — including ourselves. And that is where wisdom is found."
I know Huffington's beginning to veer into Harry Potter-land. But don't worry — there's a little magic in all of us.
"We all have within us a centered place of Wisdom, Harmony and Strength," Huffington writes, naming at least three of her first cousins. "The question is how quickly can we get back to that centered place."
The answer has something to do with Wonder, the third pillar of what she calls the Third Metric. It sounds too much like a diet shake to catch on, but her ideas certainly deserve attention.
Wonder is "our sense of delight in the mysteries of the universe," she writes, "as well as everyday occurrences and small miracles that fill our lives."
And pillar four is Giving, "the happiness that comes from feeling good by doing good."
"There are many ways to insert these Third Metric values into your life," she writes, suggesting meditation and mindfulness, long walks, yoga, exercise, and making sure to unplug, recharge and get enough sleep.
Do that, and you'll Thrive.
Isn't that worth two columns?
ENERGY EXPRESS-O! ANOTHER WISE GREEK
"Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants." — Epictetus
Marilynn Preston — healthy lifestyle expert, well-being coach and Emmy-winning producer — is the creator of Energy Express, the longest-running syndicated fitness column in the country. She has a website, marilynnpreston.com, and welcomes reader questions, which can be sent to [email protected] She also produces EnExTV, a digital reincarnation of her award-winning TV series about sports, fitness and adventure, for kids of all ages, at youtube.com/EnExTV and facebook.com/EnExTV. To find out more about Preston and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.