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Digital revolution creating burnout – Arianna Huffington

Press Release   •   Nov 14, 2016 09:27 GMT

Arianna addressing the Discovery Leadership Summit in Sandton

Digital revolution creating burnout – Arianna Huffington

The world lives under the ‘collective delusion’ that in order to succeed we have to burn out, while multi-tasking is a scientifically disproved myth, says Arianna Huffington, founder of Thrive Global and co-founder of The Huffington Post.

Speaking at the Discovery Leadership Summit in Sandton this morning, Huffington, who this August changed jobs from running the Huffington Post to start Thrive Global, a wellbeing and productivity company ­ said human beings need time to recharge. The goal was to minimise downtime.”

This is an illusion that stems from industrial revolution, with some leaders who still brag about thriving on minimal sleep, yet they display classic symptoms of sleep deprivation, such as instability and incoherence. Huffington said successful leaders and leading global companies recognised the need for rest and “digital detox”, and to cultivate empathy, proper rest and teamwork.

“The digital revolution has exacerbated the crisis of burnout. Now we don’t really know when or how to disconnect, When to put our devices away. We take better care of our smart phones than ourselves”.

Echoing what Discovery founder and CEO, Adrian Gore said in his opening speech, she said there was a global propensity for “negative fantasy”, which had prompted a worldwide pandemic of stress and burnout which accounted for 75% of healthcare costs.

“Wherever you look, you see people running on empty… walking through life like zombies going through ‘to-do’ lists. We’re missing our ability to see around corners, to reconnect with the meaning and purpose of life. If one googles the question; ‘Why am I…’, the website’s algorithm autocompletes with the words… ‘so tired’, followed by ‘Why am I always so tired’.”

She explained that besides nutrition and exercise, sleep is a vastly underrated commodity, creating a time of frenetic brain activity when the mind gets rid of the accumulated toxins of the day and recharges itself for creativity and ‘being present’ the following day. A very small percentage of people have a genetic mutation where they can operate on four hours sleep a day, but the vast majority of people need seven or eight hours of sleep. “A good day begins the night before,” she said, adding that; “we’re drowning in data, and starved of wisdom.”

Discovery information

About Discovery Limited

Discovery Limited is a South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life assurance, short-term insurance, savings and investment products and wellness markets. Founded in 1992, Discovery was guided by a clear core purpose – to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives. Underpinning this core purpose is the belief that through innovation, Discovery can be a powerful market disruptor.

The company, with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, has expanded its operations globally and currently serves over 5 million clients across South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Singapore and Australia. Discovery recently partnered with Generali, a leading insurer in Europe, and has partnered with John Hancock in the US. These new partnerships will bring Discovery’s shared-value business model to protection industries in Europe and the US.

Vitality, Discovery’s wellness programme, is the world’s largest scientific, incentive-based wellness solution for individuals and corporates. The global Vitality membership base now exceeds three million lives in five markets.

Discovery is an authorised financial services provider and trades under the code “DSY” on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. 

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