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I recently finished reading Arianna Huffington’s new book ‚Thrive‘: a part philosophical and  part self-help guide to a more fulfilled life. It would be easy to roll your eyes and lay the book aside. Except that it is so personal and the stories of lessons learned somehow makes you listen.  Apart from being the very first book that I have managed to read (and completely finish reading) on an electronic device, it’s definitely a book that’s got me thinking. Much the same way that ‚Lean in‘ by Sheryl Sandberg did.

For a long time it has seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.

– Fr. Alfred D’Souza

That’s the opening quote of the first chapter. Nothing groundbreaking about it, but still I hadn’t really thought about it like that. How often I tell myself that life will get back to normal after my exam/project/ wedding planning(!) is out of the way. But that’s it. Life is about all of it.

The book presents the idea of the ‚Third Metric‘ –  defining a successful life with something more than aspiring to just making money and gaining power. After becoming a Huffington post reader over the past few months (for obvious reasons) I came to assume that the phrase ‚the Third Metric‘ has been around for years. But actually, it seems to be a concept truly Huffington and not even a year old. In her book, the concept of the Third Metric is expanded upon in the chapters well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving. All the ingredients we need for a fulfilling life.

It touches on the increasing levels of burnout in our society, the challenges faced by women at work, the pressure we are under from being constantly on-line, our constant feeling of being short of time and offers solutions for all of these thing. Obvious things  like long walks, yoga (Arianna Huffington is a big fan of yoga and mindfulness. I will use this opportunity to admit that I have up till now found time to carry out exactly one 10 minute session of my free 10 sessions from my Mindfulness app), a hobby or time spent with family and friends. And most importantly learning to prioritise these things, especially in times of stress, as these are the things which nourish us the most.  I liked this quote from the lady herself very much:

 ‚Stress is not inflicted on us by external circumstances and events, but are the result of judgements we make about what matters and what we value‘. 

The book is full of little practical tips for ways we can change our lives in small ways. From making lists of things we are grateful for to breathing exercises. I’m not sure that all of it is my thing. But I do have an unusual item on my shopping list this weekend: an alarm clock. Walking up in the morning without the horrid ringtone of my mobile phone (and checking mails and news before you know it) may just be a way to inject a little bit of wonder back into the early morning.