Arianna Huffington

Gina Murdock: How do you define success?

Arianna Huffington: Success for me is going beyond money and power, and measuring success based on a third metric—one founded on well-being, wisdom, our ability to wonder and to give back. Money and power by themselves are a two-legged stool. You can balance on them for a while, but eventually you’re going to topple over. Basically, success the way we’ve defined it is no longer sustainable.

GM: How do you tap into your own wisdom to make good decisions?

AH: We all have within us a centered place of wisdom, harmony, and balance. Whether or not we believe in the existence of the soul, we’ve all experienced times in which we’re fully connected with ourselves. The second truth is that we’re all going to veer away from that place, again and again and again. In fact, we may be off-course more often than we are on-course. Meditation, yoga, and walks are all ways to regulate our stress and reconnect. We’ve launched an app, called GPS for the Soul, which gives advice on ways to regain that inner balance.

GM: What has The Huffington Post taught you about life?

AH: That very often the only difference between success and failure is perseverance. I was already in my mid-fifties when we launched The Huffington Post. It wasn’t an immediate success. Well, we kept going.

GM: Do you have any regrets?

AH: Eleven years ago, I was in Madison, Wisc., where I was supposed to give a speech. Then I learned that my father, who was very ill in Athens, had taken a turn for the worse. I began what seemed like an interminable journey—Madison to Milwaukee to New York to Athens. I talked to him from the plane. “I’m going to wait for you,” he said. My sister, Agapi, and two nuns met me at the airport. Halfway to my father’s apartment, we got a call from Vicki, who had cared for my father, who told us my father had died the moment my plane landed. I still regret not canceling my speech so I could arrive earlier. For a long time, I was consumed by guilt, not only for missing my father’s final moments but because the whole episode was an illustration of how my priorities were horribly misplaced.

GM: Tell me what you’re most passionate and concerned about?

AH: At HuffPost, we’re doing a great deal around the theme of “The Third Metric: Redefining Success.” This is a great moment for all of us to acknowledge that the current male-dominated model of success—which equates success with burnout, sleep deprivation, and driving yourself into the ground—isn’t working for women, and it’s not working for men, either.

GM: How do you use your platform as a writer to spread the word about ways people can instigate positive change?

AH: For too long, reporters for the big media outlets have been fixated on novelty, always moving too quickly onto the next big score or the next hot get. Paradoxically, in these days of instant communication and sixty-minute news cycles, it’s actually easier to miss information we might otherwise pay attention to. That’s why we need stories to be covered and re-covered until they filter up enough to become part of the cultural bloodstream. That’s what I try to do as a writer and as the editor of HuffPost: cover important stories in an obsessive way that enables them to break through the din of our multimedia universe.

GM: Was there a turning point in your life?

AH: About five years ago, I fainted from exhaustion. I hit my head on my desk. I broke my cheekbone and got four stitches on my right eye. It started me on this journey of rediscovering sleep and balance and integrating my life. I think everyone should stop and reassess their lives before you hit your head on your desk.

GM: What does vulnerability mean to you?

AH: Realizing and accepting that failure is an integral part of life and that perfection is not of this world.

GM: What inspires you most?

AH: I was raised in Athens by a father who was a newspaper editor, and I grew up on the romance of journalism. In a way, I am still pursuing that dream every day. As for The Huffington Post, bringing together people from different parts of my life and facilitating interesting conversations has always been part of my Greek DNA. From the beginning, the whole point of The Huffington Post was to take the sort of conversations found at water coolers and around dinner tables about politics and art and books and food and sex, open them up, and bring them online.

GM: What is one of the best decisions you ever made?

AH: One of my big milestones came when I turned forty and promised myself to stop worrying about all the things I thought I might do but never really would. I was very relieved when I realized that you can actually complete a project by dropping it. That’s how I “completed” learning to cook and learning German, becoming a good skier, and a list of other things too long to recite!

Arianna Huffington is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group; a nationally syndicated columnist; and author of fourteen books. In 2012, The Huffington Post won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. In 2013, Arianna was named to the Forbes “World’s Most Powerful Women” list.


Comments are closed.