Arianna Huffington recently co-hosted a conference titled “The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power.” Huffington’s conference suggests that we need a more sustainable definition of success that includes well-being, wisdom, wonder, empathy and the ability to give back, as our survival depends on it—not only as individuals, but on a national and global scale.
So why do we need to redefine the meaning of success? Working and driving ourselves to the point of exhaustion has an air of respectability; it shows that we are driven, loyal and want the finer things in life. It shows that we can eat in the car and drive at the same time; that we can kiss our children goodnight and hopefully squeeze in a hug on the weekend—but we made our monthly contribution to their college fund. Our bills are paid, we’re falling asleep hard and waking up tired, but life is good.
The truth is, we aren’t designed to be in a constant state of go-go-keepgoing-mode. Exhaustion puts us at an increased risk of health problems including heart disease, depression, obesity and memory impairment. It’s been said that to live a healthy life, we must balance our life—but this is usually between two priorities; work and family. What about ourselves and the world around us?
Leading health care practitioners today are leaning toward a new movement of integration. Integration means taking four components of life; work, family, community and ourselves, and making sure we spend quality time on each. This means integrating daily exercise, taking lunch hours away from our desk (which only 1/3 of Americans do), doing volunteer work with our children and taking more frequent vacations. Connecting with our feelings; finding something each day to make ourselves laugh, and taking deep, meaningful breaths—not just necessary ones.
As long as a successful life is defined by what we have instead of who we are, we will never be able to keep up. It’s a race that can’t be won, and we shouldn’t be running it in the first place. Learn how to slow down; take the scenic walk through life and value each moment as a sacred moment in time—because it is.