On Wednesday night, LM and I went to see Annabel Crabb interview Arianna Huffington as part of the 2014 season of Ideas at the House (Only it was not held at the Sydney Opera House; rather it was at Carriageworks, which is not even close!).
Of course, Arianna Huffington was the star attraction. But I’m quite partial to a dose of the endearingly quirky and intelligent political journalist, Annabel, too.
And, I do think the calibre of the interviewer matters a lot in talks such as this.
Don’t really know who Arianna Huffington is…?
Her abbreviated bio from the Ideas at the House site reads: “Born in Greece, Huffington moved to the US by way of Cambridge University in England, becoming a renowned broadcaster and nationally syndicated columnist. In May of 2005, she launched the Huffington Post, which quickly became one of the most widely read and -cited online media brands. Huffington was soon named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, and is currently the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. Her latest book, Thrive, which debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list reflects on her stunning success as well as her passionate and personal mission to redefine its meaning.”
She’s a pretty impressive woman. Obviously very bright, articulate and savvy, not to mention connected. But, she also has a great sense of humour and the ability to laugh at herself. I wonder if she’d like to be my mentor?
Bill Clinton said the biggest mistakes he made while President were when he was tired. He just forgot to acknowledge which mistakes these were. (Arianna Huffington)
I actually bought Arianna’s latest book, ‘Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder‘ (bit of a mouthful) when it was first published.
And, given the health caper I’ve been on over the last wee while, you may be unsurprised to learn that I kind of agree with many of the sentiments expressed in the book…
The two areas that have really resonated for me are around sleep and worry. Let’s call them numbers 1, 4 and 9 from the 12 tips listed above. I never knew just how much I worried. Or, just how important getting enough sleep was. Until I didn’t worry as much. And, until I started regularly getting more sleep.
Which is all good. But, it’s not quite that easy to just start sleeping more and worrying less. It actually takes some work. Hard work. And, I suspect people are different in terms of how they can best achieve results.
And, then there’s a little cynical version of TSL sitting on my shoulder. The ‘negative version of me’. The one who makes excuses. And, she’s saying “64-year old Arianna Huffington (who looks 20 years younger), you made US$315 million from the sale of the Huffington Post to AOL in 2011. And NOW you practise ‘mindfulness’.”
Where does a normal person find the time…?
The truth is, something’s got to give. Arianna is quite right when she says we are becoming slaves to technology. Well, I think she is.
And, she’s also right when she says we are mis-guided in our belief that multitasking is the answer to productivity. Juggling too many balls just means you achieve less. This is certainly true for me. It is impossible to be all things to everyone in your life. Work out your priorities. Then, focus on those. Humph!
There were many terrible things in my life and most of them never happened. (Michel de Montaigne)
Arianna suggests we shouldn’t hold grudges. We should aim to be permeable – let the grudge go into us and then out again. Through us, if you will. We should look to little children as role models for this. They get upset, throw a tantrum and move on quickly. I remember my little sister being a master of this as a child. Me, not so much. Perhaps there’s a lesson in there…
It was worth it – seeing Annabel interview Arianna. But, I do feel as though I have a long, long way to go until I’m really ‘thriving’…
Ideas at the House is Sydney Opera House’s annual Talks & Ideas program. It brings big ideas, extraordinary people and the best of contemporary culture to the stage, and to online audiences. Next up, Yotam Ottolenghi is having a conversation with Joanna Savill on 29 October…