Lessons from Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington’s Top Life & Success Lessons

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“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer

When it comes to achieving success, there are countless lessons to be learned from those who have already made their mark. One such individual is Arianna Huffington, the renowned founder of Huffington Post. Her unique insights and authentic leadership style have made her a sought-after figure in the business world.

In her keynote speech at INBOUND 2013, Huffington challenged the traditional notions of success, urging us to consider metrics beyond money and power. She emphasized the importance of well-being, inner wisdom, capacity to wonder, and giving back. Huffington’s perspective on success resonates deeply, urging us to redefine our own definitions of what it means to truly thrive.

In this article, we will delve into Arianna Huffington’s top life and success lessons, exploring her insights on redefining success, creating space for innovation, embracing intuition, prioritizing time and energy, learning from failure, practicing generosity and humility, and continuing the journey of growth through her popular podcast.

Key Takeaways:

  • Redefine success by considering metrics beyond money and power
  • Create space for innovation and strategic thinking
  • Embrace intuition as a valuable decision-making tool
  • Prioritize time and energy to maximize productivity and well-being
  • Learn from failure and use setbacks as stepping stones to success

Redefine Success

According to Arianna Huffington, success is not limited to financial wealth and power. She urges leaders to redefine success by considering alternative metrics that prioritize well-being, inner wisdom, capacity to wonder, and giving back. In Huffington’s view, the conventional focus on monetary success is comparable to a two-legged stool, which is unstable and unsustainable.

Huffington advocates for a shift in perspective, emphasizing the importance of tapping into creativity and innovation. By slowing down and creating space for new ideas to flourish, leaders can redefine success in a way that aligns with holistic well-being and sustainable growth.

“We need to redefine success beyond the two metrics of money and power. It’s like sitting on a two-legged stool; sooner or later, you’re going to topple over. We need to add well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving back to redefine success.”

When success is redefined to encompass well-being, wisdom, capacity to wonder, and giving back, individuals and organizations can thrive in a more balanced and meaningful way. This broader definition of success enables leaders to make decisions based on a holistic perspective that goes beyond mere financial gains.

By integrating these elements into the framework of success, leaders can foster a culture that values personal growth, social impact, and the capacity to make a difference in the world.

The Unstable Two-Legged Stool

The conventional definition of success, focused solely on money and power, is like sitting on a two-legged stool. Without the stability provided by a well-rounded metric system, this narrow view of success can lead to imbalance and eventual downfall. Huffington challenges leaders to embrace a more comprehensive definition that includes well-being, inner wisdom, capacity to wonder, and giving back.

When leaders prioritize well-being, they create a foundation for sustainable success. By nurturing their physical, mental, and emotional health, they can enhance their overall performance and make more thoughtful decisions.

Inner wisdom, another aspect of redefined success, encourages leaders to tap into their intuition and make decisions aligned with their values and authentic selves. This intuitive approach complements logical analysis and allows leaders to embrace creative problem-solving.

The capacity to wonder not only sparks curiosity but also fosters a mindset of continuous learning and growth. By maintaining a sense of wonder, leaders remain open to new possibilities and fresh perspectives.

Giving back, the final component of redefined success, emphasizes the importance of contributing to the well-being of others and the community. By using their resources and influence to make a positive impact, leaders can create a ripple effect of change and inspire others to do the same.

In essence, redefining success involves broadening the scope of measurement to include well-being, inner wisdom, capacity to wonder, and giving back. By embracing these alternative metrics, leaders can create a more balanced and fulfilling path to success, benefiting themselves, their teams, and the world at large.

Create Space for Innovation

Arianna Huffington recognizes that creating space for innovation is crucial for success. In today’s fast-paced world, leaders must find ways to step back, think strategically, and prioritize self-care to foster a culture of creativity and productivity.

Leaders like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates understood the power of taking extended breaks to reconnect with themselves and their ideas. They would retreat from their regular environments, find solace in nature or solitude, and return with fresh perspectives. This intentional space allowed them to think deeply, envision new possibilities, and make strategic decisions.

Huffington also acknowledges the importance of relaxation and downtime in the workplace. At Huffington Post offices, she introduced nap rooms to encourage employees to recharge and rejuvenate. This emphasis on self-care supports the belief that a well-rested mind is more capable of generating innovative ideas and solving complex problems.

“Innovation is born from moments of reflection and rest.”

Arianna Huffington

Huffington warns against the culture of burnout that plagues many organizations. Prioritizing self-care and work-life balance is not just a luxury; it is a necessity for sustained success and well-being. By setting clear expectations and fostering an environment that values individual well-being, leaders can create space for innovation to thrive.

By carving out time for reflection, strategic thinking, and self-care, leaders can unlock their full creative potential and pave the way for their teams to do the same.

Benefits of Creating Space for Innovation Actions to Foster Innovation
  • Fosters creativity
  • Encourages fresh perspectives
  • Supports strategic decision-making
  • Boosts productivity
  1. Schedule dedicated reflection time
  2. Promote work-life balance
  3. Encourage employees to take breaks
  4. Create a supportive culture

The Embrace of Intuition in Decision-Making

When it comes to decision-making, Arianna Huffington values the power of intuition. In her view, intuition plays a critical role in recognizing important opportunities and unlocking one’s true potential, even in the presence of extensive data. Huffington urges individuals to trust their instincts, rather than relying solely on logic and analysis. She believes that listening to and cultivating one’s inner voice is crucial in achieving success. (First source)

The Science behind Intuition

Studies have shown that intuition is not a mystical phenomenon, but rather a result of the subconscious mind processing relevant information that the conscious mind may not be fully aware of. The brain’s ability to process and recognize patterns can lead to gut feelings that guide decision-making. By acknowledging and harnessing this innate ability, individuals can tap into a valuable resource for making sound choices.

In the words of Arianna Huffington:
“I recommend…listening to your intuition. That’s the most powerful thing you have…It’s not just looking at data, it’s also looking at people and yourself and saying ‘What do I feel is right?'”

Intuition can provide valuable insights that are not readily available through logical analysis. It allows individuals to consider factors beyond the scope of data, such as personal values, emotions, and the overall context of a situation. By embracing intuition, leaders can foster innovative thinking and make decisions that align with their authentic selves.

Developing Intuition

While some individuals may possess a natural inclination towards intuition, it is a skill that can be developed over time. Huffington encourages cultivating this instinctive ability through practices such as mindfulness, meditation, and self-reflection. Taking the time to quiet the mind and listen to one’s inner voice can enhance intuitive decision-making capabilities.

The Role of Intuition in Leadership

In the fast-paced world of leadership, time is often limited and decisions must be made swiftly. This is where intuition can be particularly valuable. By embracing intuition, leaders can make quick, yet informed choices based on their internal compass. Intuition can offer unique perspectives and innovative solutions that may not be apparent through a purely analytical lens. It can also enable leaders to navigate uncertainty and complexity with confidence.

Ultimately, Arianna Huffington’s emphasis on embracing intuition reminds us of the power of trusting our inner wisdom and incorporating it into our decision-making processes. By recognizing and listening to our intuition, we can open doors to new possibilities and unlock our full potential.

Benefits of Embracing Intuition in Decision-Making How Intuition Enhances Decision-Making
1. Access to valuable insights beyond logical analysis 1. Considers personal values and emotions
2. Foster innovative thinking and creative solutions 2. Allows for quick decision-making in time-sensitive situations
3. Navigate uncertainty and complexity with confidence 3. Provides unique perspectives and unconventional solutions

Prioritize Time and Energy

Arianna Huffington emphasizes the importance of effectively managing time and energy to enhance productivity and personal well-being. She believes that by prioritizing these resources, individuals can achieve greater success and lead more fulfilling lives.

Huffington advises individuals to identify where their energy should be invested and where it can be let go. This involves evaluating tasks and projects to determine whether they align with your goals and values. If a project does not warrant the additional time and energy investment, Huffington suggests dropping it to preserve resources for more meaningful endeavors.

“Time is our most precious resource, and it’s nonrenewable. Once a moment passes, it’s gone forever. By consciously prioritizing how we spend our time and energy, we can optimize our productivity and make the most of each day.”

According to Huffington, efficient time and energy management are vital not only for success but also for personal well-being. By allocating our resources wisely, we can avoid burnout and create a healthier work-life balance.

Time and Energy Management Techniques

Here are some practical techniques recommended by Arianna Huffington for prioritizing time and energy:

  1. Set clear goals and priorities: Define your objectives and allocate time and energy accordingly. Focus on tasks that align with your long-term goals and eliminate distractions.
  2. Delegate and outsource: Identify tasks that can be delegated or outsourced to free up time and energy for more important responsibilities.
  3. Practice time blocking: Allocate specific time slots for different tasks, ensuring focused and uninterrupted work. This technique helps prevent multitasking and improves overall efficiency.
  4. Take breaks and recharge: Incorporate regular breaks into your schedule to rejuvenate and replenish energy levels. Short breaks can improve focus, creativity, and overall productivity.
  5. Establish boundaries: Set boundaries to protect your time and energy. Learn to say no to non-essential commitments and prioritize self-care.

By implementing these strategies, you can optimize your time and energy management, boost productivity, and create a more balanced and fulfilling life.

With a clear focus on time and energy as valuable resources, Arianna Huffington’s insights can guide individuals in maximizing their productivity and achieving success in both their personal and professional lives.

Learn from Failure

Arianna Huffington believes that failure is not an endpoint but rather a stepping stone on the path to success. In her view, being willing to fail, learn, and adapt is essential for personal and professional growth. Embracing failure as a learning opportunity and not being discouraged by setbacks is a key mindset that Huffington encourages individuals to adopt.

Resilience is another important quality that Huffington highlights. The ability to bounce back from failure and continue moving forward is crucial for achieving greatness. Instead of dwelling on past failures, Huffington emphasizes the importance of iterating and improving based on those experiences.

“Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s a stepping stone to success,” says Arianna Huffington.

By learning from failure and adapting accordingly, individuals can develop the resilience and adaptability necessary to navigate the challenges that life and business present.

Failing Forward

Learning from failure requires a mindset shift. Instead of viewing failure as a negative outcome, it can be reframed as an opportunity for growth and improvement. Understanding what went wrong, identifying valuable lessons, and making the necessary adjustments are essential steps towards future success.

One way to embrace failure and foster a culture of learning is by cultivating curiosity. Keeping an open mind and actively seeking opportunities to learn from both successes and failures can drive innovation and continuous improvement.

Failures That Led to Success

Throughout history, many successful individuals have experienced significant failures before achieving their greatest triumphs. One well-known example is Thomas Edison, who famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” His persistence and willingness to learn from each failed attempt eventually led to the invention of the practical incandescent light bulb.

Individual Failure Success
Steve Jobs Was initially fired from Apple, the company he co-founded Returned to Apple and led the company to become one of the most valuable in the world
J.K. Rowling Received numerous rejection letters for “Harry Potter” before finding a publisher Became one of the most successful authors of all time
Walt Disney Experienced multiple business failures and bankruptcies Founded Disney, a global entertainment empire

These examples demonstrate that failure is not an indication of one’s potential for success, but rather a crucial part of the journey towards it. By learning from failure and being adaptable, individuals can harness the valuable lessons it offers and use them as stepping stones to achieve their goals.

Practice Generosity and Humility

Arianna Huffington believes that practicing generosity and humility is crucial for leaders, especially in uncertain and turbulent times. These traits not only foster positive relationships but also create a culture of empathy and understanding within organizations.

As a leader, being generous with your time, resources, and knowledge can have a significant impact on the success of your team and the overall organization. By sharing your expertise and supporting others, you inspire collaboration and promote growth.

Approaching others with humility allows you to acknowledge their contributions and perspectives. It fosters an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and heard. Huffington encourages leaders to listen actively and seek feedback, recognizing that true leadership involves learning from others.

“Leadership is not about being in power, it’s about empowering others,” Arianna Huffington once said. Leading by example is essential in practicing both generosity and humility. When you demonstrate these values, you inspire others to follow suit and create a positive ripple effect within your organization.

“The best leaders are those who humbly acknowledge their own limitations and continuously seek to learn and grow.” – Arianna Huffington

The Power of Generosity and Humility in Leadership

Generosity and humility are not signs of weakness but rather demonstrate strength and authenticity. In times of uncertainty and change, these qualities can help leaders navigate challenges with grace and empathy. By prioritizing the well-being and growth of their team members, generous and humble leaders create an environment that fosters collaboration, innovation, and success.

Leading with generosity means giving credit where it’s due and recognizing the contributions of others. This cultivates a sense of value and belonging within the team, motivating individuals to go above and beyond in their work. It also encourages a culture of support and trust, where colleagues feel comfortable seeking help and providing assistance when needed.

Humility, on the other hand, allows leaders to acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses. Embracing humility enables leaders to accept feedback, admit mistakes, and learn from others. It fosters an environment of continuous improvement and growth, where everyone feels empowered to contribute their ideas and perspectives.

By practicing generosity and humility, leaders not only build strong relationships and cultivate trust, but they also inspire others to follow their example. These values create a positive work culture that attracts and retains top talent, ultimately setting the stage for long-term success.

Leading with Generosity and Humility in Action

One inspiring example of a leader who embodies both generosity and humility is Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Nadella is known for his empathetic approach and willingness to learn from others. Under his leadership, Microsoft has shifted its focus to embrace innovation and collaboration, fostering a culture of inclusion and growth.

Through initiatives like the Hacking Autism project and Microsoft Philanthropies, Nadella demonstrates a commitment to giving back and making a positive impact on society. He recognizes the importance of using Microsoft’s resources for the greater good, highlighting the power of generosity in creating a better world.

By embodying humility, Nadella acknowledges the contributions of his team members and encourages them to share their ideas and perspectives openly. He understands that leadership is a collective effort and that everyone has the potential to contribute to the company’s success.

Incorporating Generosity and Humility into Your Leadership Style

If you aspire to be a leader who practices generosity and humility, consider the following strategies:

  1. Encourage collaboration and teamwork by creating opportunities for individuals to share their expertise and work together towards common goals.
  2. Take time to actively listen to your team members, valuing their input and feedback. Be open to different perspectives and create a safe space for constructive conversations.
  3. Show appreciation and recognize the contributions of others. Celebrate the achievements of your team and highlight their successes.
  4. Lead by example, demonstrating vulnerability and a willingness to learn from others. Admit mistakes and take responsibility for your actions.
  5. Give back to your community and support initiatives that align with your organization’s values. Use your platform and resources to impact the lives of others positively.

By incorporating these practices into your leadership style, you can cultivate a culture of generosity and humility that fosters growth, collaboration, and success.

Wisdom from Podcast Guests

Arianna Huffington hosts a podcast called “What I’ve Learned,” featuring insightful interviews with a range of guests. Through these conversations, she delves into the valuable wisdom and lessons learned by individuals from various fields and backgrounds. The podcast offers a platform for guests to share their unique experiences, perspectives, and insights, providing listeners with actionable advice and inspiration.

Some notable guests featured on the podcast include Adam Grant, the renowned organizational psychologist and bestselling author, who shares his expertise on motivation and productivity. Van Jones, a prominent political commentator and activist, provides insights into social justice and inspiring change. Jay Shetty, a former monk turned motivational speaker, offers wisdom on personal growth and finding purpose.

“Your time and energy are precious resources. Choose where you invest them wisely.” – Arianna Huffington

Another remarkable guest on the podcast is Bozoma Saint John, the chief marketing officer of Netflix, who shares her experiences in the corporate world and highlights the importance of authenticity and embracing diversity. These conversations offer valuable insights into success, personal growth, leadership, and well-being.

The podcast episodes conclude with Arianna Huffington sharing science-backed Microsteps, which are small and manageable actions that listeners can take to improve their lives. These Microsteps are designed to make a significant impact on well-being, productivity, and overall happiness.

Notable Guests:

  • Adam Grant
  • Van Jones
  • Jay Shetty
  • Bozoma Saint John

By tuning in to “What I’ve Learned,” listeners gain access to an abundance of wisdom and actionable advice that can inspire personal growth and collective action. The podcast serves as a valuable resource for those seeking to learn from the experiences of others and apply these lessons to their own lives.

Continuing the Learning Journey

Arianna Huffington is thrilled to continue the journey of ongoing learning through her highly acclaimed podcast. With each episode, she aims to entertain, inspire, and ignite collective action among her audience. The podcast features a diverse lineup of fascinating guests who share their unique insights and experiences, providing listeners with a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

Some of the upcoming podcast guests to look forward to include Dan Harris, Lindsey Vonn, Tim Ferriss, and many others. Each guest brings their own expertise and perspective, offering valuable lessons and actionable advice that can empower listeners in their personal and professional lives.

By tuning in to the Arianna Huffington podcast, individuals have the opportunity to learn from the best and gain invaluable wisdom. Through dynamic conversations and thought-provoking discussions, listeners can acquire fresh perspectives and innovative ideas that can lead to personal growth and positive change.

As Huffington believes, even small changes in our lives can have a profound impact. By incorporating the insights shared on the podcast into our daily routines, we have the power to create meaningful transformations and achieve our goals. So, join Arianna Huffington on this exciting journey of ongoing learning and let the podcast be a guiding light on your path to success and fulfillment.


Arianna Huffington’s leadership and life lessons offer invaluable insights into achieving success and personal well-being. Through her emphasis on redefining success, creating space for innovation, embracing intuition, prioritizing time and energy, learning from failure, practicing generosity and humility, and continuous learning, individuals can navigate their personal and professional journeys with confidence. By incorporating these principles into their lives, they can lead more fulfilling lives and make a positive impact on the world.

Huffington’s belief in redefining success challenges the conventional notions of money and power. Instead, she encourages individuals to prioritize their well-being, cultivate inner wisdom, maintain a sense of wonder, and give back to others. By doing so, they can achieve a more holistic and sustainable form of success.

Creating space for innovation, thinking strategically, and prioritizing self-care are essential aspects of Huffington’s leadership insights. She emphasizes the importance of detaching from work to foster creativity, as exemplified by successful leaders like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Through setting clear expectations around work-life balance and promoting well-being in the workplace, individuals can enhance their capacity for innovation and productivity.

Huffington’s lessons also highlight the significance of embracing intuition, trusting one’s gut, and not solely relying on logic and analysis. Understanding when to prioritize time and energy, learning from failure, practicing generosity and humility, and continuously seeking knowledge are all key tenets emphasized by Huffington. Incorporating these lessons into daily life can empower individuals to lead fulfilling lives, both personally and professionally.

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  • Matthew Lee

    Matthew Lee is a distinguished Personal & Career Development Content Writer at ESS Global Training Solutions, where he leverages his extensive 15-year experience to create impactful content in the fields of psychology, business, personal and professional development. With a career dedicated to enlightening and empowering individuals and organizations, Matthew has become a pivotal figure in transforming lives through his insightful and practical guidance. His work is driven by a profound understanding of human behavior and market dynamics, enabling him to deliver content that is not only informative but also truly transformative.

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