I've just been reading about Arianna Huffinton's new book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder, in today's Chicago Tribune. The article is part of the newspaper's "Blue Sky Innovation" series in which editors hope to enlighten readers about what is possible (within a certain frame), and coming next (as a result of that frame). Now I've always liked Arianna--her seeming epiphany many years ago that moved her from a self-absorbed far right myopic to a leading voice on what amounts to today's liberal-left. And she's funny. And now having reached a height of "success" she appears to be having another sort of epiphany. Good for her.
If you're a regular reader you may be thinking that Arianna's first two "success metrics" are quite foolish: wealth and power. But to "thrive", well that's something worth talking about--especially if that's where one starts, and aims to steer clear of the other two. Such a pursuit seems akin to Aristotle's eudiamonia, or human flourishing.
But what interests me most is the corporate culture that is adopting, not only Arianna's recommendations, but a panoply of ideas aimed at improving workplaces by adding nap-rooms, recreation, classes in mindfulness and so on and on and on. There is a grand movement going on within corporate culture that is trying to humanize a very anti-human environment. Look at the picture above--a company actually makes these chairs calling it a Metro-nap Energy Pod. And then ask yourself what kind of world has been built for us--by corporations--that there is a need for one of these contraptions just to find some peace. I laughed out-loud when I saw this picture, a huge guffaw, and thought AYFKM?! In reality, the chair is not about rest at all. It's about enabling continued and constant productivity, which itself is anti-human. Where is Aristotle when you need him!
That the pursuit of wealth and power and living in corporate culture requires such contraptions to treat our wounds indicates to me that there's something very wrong with what we're doing, day-to-day, year after year after year--something a metro-nap won't heal.
Thanks Arianna for your well-meaning thoughts. But I think we'll all be better off if we start, and finish, with wonder and well-being. Then I'm sure we'll have plenty of time for a nap...on a couch.