I kept hearing about the book ‘Thrive’ on my internet travels so I thought I must get it out from my local library and see what everyone is raving about. In one word ‘Thrive’ is amazing! Full of useful nuggets from the esteemed writer and founder of Huffington Post. It is not a quick easy read rather a book that you should take some time over while also having a good think at the same time as there is a lot of thought worthy content.
In my mind the general premise of the book is that we should all be working smarter and not harder. She begins with detailing her breaking point where she realised that she really needed to make some serious life choices in where she put health and well-being back at the top of her priority list ahead of work.
The book is divided into four sections; Well-being, Wonder, Wisdom and Giving. I think Well-being was my favourite section as I made the most notes there!
In ‘Well-Being’ she highlights the two practices of mindfulness and meditation. Arianna talks about how every detail of well-being is magnified through the practice of meditation and that mindfulness is not just about our minds but our whole being. She touched on Kabat Zinn’s writings which discusses mindfulness and balance. The heart needs to lead through empathy and the mind needs to guide us with focus and attention. She also discusses ways that companies are improving the well-being of their staff. Stress was reduced by a third from employees at Aetna by doing yoga for only one hour per week!
In Well-being she also discusses over-connectivity, the internet and our ‘device’ heavy culture and how it is a poor substitute for real human connection which is sorely lacking!
Arianna discusses how we have much to learn from our pets. There was a beautiful section where she highlighted some things that John Grogan (the author of Marley and me) said about his dog Marley and how he learnt a lot about friendship, selflessness and loyalty from him. Arianna talks about how animals are very much wired to connect, reach out and love but unlike them with humans other things always are competing for our attention. Our pets help us to reach back to what makes us human. Arianna also says that we need to regularly rebalance or recentre ourselves to reach a place of stillness or true nature. She also discusses how important it is to tend to our ‘inner garden’.
Arianna also discusses loss from Parents who lost their son in a school shooting, they said “you have to make your heart bigger than the hole. You just have to make your decisions out of love and when we make decisions out of fear that’s when we have problems”. I think my most favourite section of the book is when she detailed how her mother died – at home, with her family, on her own terms. I was in tears it was so beautiful and touching. She also talked about death and how it is not seen as a natural and normal part of life but something where you need to be hospitalised and drugged up – much like childbirth!
All in all a fantastic read – I will definitely be reading this again!
As I talked briefly about love and fear here is an amazing talk by Jim Carrey on that same topic:
Jim Carrey: Love vs. Fear
(Photo: Toby Wong)