DUBAI 11 February 2019: Co-founder of the Huffington Post and a renowned advocate of wellness, Arianna Huffington, “would not run” for U.S. Presidency even if she was eligible, because she wants to have a “bigger and bigger impact” at her endeavors.
Huffington, is not a natural-born US citizen as she was born in Greece, therefore, she cannot run for Presidency.
Besides being known for previously running one of the most influential media outlets in the world, Huffington Post, her influence has been growing in raising awareness on the significance of a good night sleep, and individuals and companies’ well-being and performance, however, despite that she wouldn’t have been interested in Presidency, she said.
“I was not born in the States, but I would not run for presidency even if I were, because I love my job and I love what I’m doing and hope we can keep having a bigger and bigger impact,” the author of ‘The Sleep Revolution’ told Emirates News Agency in an exclusive interview.
In August 2016, Huffington launched Thrive Global, a corporate and consumer well-being and productivity platform with the mission of changing the way individuals work and live by ending the collective notion that burnout is the price individuals must pay for success.
With over 64.5 per cent of the Middle East population using the internet, driven by smartphone ownership, internet penetration, and a digitally savvy youth population, the question we asked her was: “Is the Middle East heading towards a digital burnout?”
Boundaries need to be set, said Huffington, adding that if not, “we will get lost in what is becoming a growing addiction”.
“It’s going to be game changing when people realise they can love their phones, love social media, love games, but we need boundaries so that we can reconnect with ourselves, with our loved ones, with everything that matters with our lives,” she explained.
This is where a ‘digital detox’ comes in, Huffington explained. A digital detox is a self-imposed ditching of the cell phone and computer, and disconnecting from social networking sites and email for a while to recharge and relax.
She went on to say that whether an individual disconnects for a few minutes a day, or over a holiday, or once a week, “by beginning to set boundaries, we can create a space in our lives” that leads to better productivity and creative breakthroughs without burning out.
Recent findings in the Harvard Business Review show that psychological and physical problems of burned-out individuals have reached an estimated US$125 billion to $190 billion per annum in the United States’ healthcare spending. The impact is far greater across a range of productivity, personal, and business scenarios.
When asked to comment on how countries like the UAE, with its innovation-focused strategies and application of artificial intelligence, can create sustainable means for development, Huffington said that the country has a balanced approach.
The UAE, she explained, has a minister for artificial intelligence, but also a minister of happiness, adding, “You don’t just have a minister health, its health and prevention, so the country seems to be very aware that the future will only be bright if at the same time we are promoting technological innovation, we also continue to promote human innovation.”
Human innovation, she continued, is “simply reconnecting with all that matters, with our own deepest truth, and that cannot be achieved if we’re always ‘on’”.
Commenting on global inter-connectivity and the building of dialogue among people, Huffington said that tolerance is an important theme set by the UAE for 2019.
“But at the same time, globally empathy is going down, emotional intelligence is going down, so we need to recognise that for tolerance to be real we need to nurture soft skills, those that connect us with each other,” she said.