Monday, May 05, 2014

Arianna Huffington, Opening Keynote #ASTD2014

These are my live blogged notes from the opening keynote at ASTD International Conference & Expo, this week in Washington, D.C. Forgive any typos or incoherencies.

Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post, Author of Thrive

Everyone has a personal story about change.
Our society has defined success as money and power. But this is like a two-legged stool that just falls over.  We need a third measure of success.

This third measure of success is made of four pillars:

1. Well-being
In our culture, we have come to believe that burn out is an express elevator to the top. But the truth is when we get enough sleep, meditate, move, we’re going to be more effective. More able to incorporate change. To see the icebergs before they hit. More likely to see new opportunities.

Athletes are now looking at sleep, yoga, etc. We now have sleep science that shows sleep deprivations reduces mental clarity, makes us less effective.  She describes how she went from 4-5 hours of sleep to 7-8 hours. This was her keystone habit. (just make one step first).  Start with getting 30 minutes more sleep a night. 

Men wear their sleep deprivation like a religious symbol.

At Huffington Post, she instituted a nap room. If you’re exhausted, there’s nothing better than a nap room.

We also need to find quiet time in our day. Our days are enslaved to making calls, catching up on emails…technology has enslaved us. We need to set boundaries. If we’re constantly operating from our inbox, we can never be truly creative. Everything becomes transactional. (Bill Gates’ Think Weeks; Steve Jobs zen mediation).

Start with five minutes of being quiet.

That voice inside of our head that takes us into the future…”there are many terrible things in my life, but most of them never happened.” Evict that voice.

Time famine.

Multi-tasking is not real. Task switching is too stressful. Texting while walking has become a real hazard.

Allow silence in your life. That’s when we notice things that can be transformational.

Science is validating ancient wisdom. We need periods of pause, reflection.

When did it come acceptable to drag ourselves like zombies through our days?

It’s when you’re tired that you make the most mistakes.

Praising people for working 24/7 is like praising someone for coming to work drunk. A big part of our job is managing change and being creative.

2. Wisdom
Smart leaders with high IQs making terrible decisions. They lack wisdom, which is different from intelligence. Wisdom is when we have a vision.

Turn off your devices and leave them out of your bedroom. And don’t start your day by looking at your smartphone. Instead, breathe deeply and be grateful. Start your day by thinking about what you want to achieve in the world (not with what the world has to tell you).

We’re always tempted to look at our data. Which intrudes into our time of renewal and regeneration.

The one freedom we have is to choose our own attitude when bad things happen to us. How we deal with them will drive our success. In hard times, focus on what you’re grateful for…put on your own oxygen mask first.

3. Wonder
At the heart of science and religion. Connecting with the mystery of the universe.

People love coincidences. It gives us a feeling that there is a purpose and that we are connected.

Multi-tasking is an obstacle to wonder.

35% of American companies are introducing some form of stress reduction practice.

In Germany, one company issues company phones that are automatically turned off from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.

We must give ourselves time to renew and recharge when we are healthy, otherwise we let disease in.

Well-being, wisdom, and wonder.

Stress impacts the bottom line. When your employees are stressed, mistakes are made.

Aetna brought in yoga, meditation, acupuncture to all employees. They saw 20%(?) reduction in health and an overall increase in productivity (like an hour a day more).  When we are more transactional, we make more mistakes. We overreact.

Rumi: “Live life as though everything is rigged in your favor.”

See the hidden blessings. Don’t hold grudges. Each night, forgive yourself at the end of the day for any judgments you hold against yourself, and then forgive others.

Give something up. You can complete a project by dropping it. Do an inventory of your projects. Decide where you’re really going to put your energy behind.

4. Giving
Our genes are wired for giving. It’s truly a short cut for happiness. Give your time, your money. Giving has the same impact on your happiness as an increase in household income.

Read the Good News section of the Huffington Post. Examples of compassion, generosity, giving.  We need to cover what is good so we can scale and replicate it. Share our recipes for thriving.

When we give, our inflammation markers (the precursors of disease) actually go down.

Start by making small personal connections with the people around us. Say hello. See everyone as a human being with no hierarchy.

Burnout is not the way to success.


Alan Eisenberg said...
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Alan Eisenberg said...

I talk about this same subject all the time with people. It's good to know that it is recognized to a wider audience. Sleep, mindfulness, and giving help lead to happiness. A great keynote on basic mental health practice.