Arianna Huffington has good news for the future of media. The Co-Founder, President, and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post is hopeful not only about the role women will continue to play in shaping and sharing our news and culture; she also sees a bright future for the impact of female leadership on gender, power, work-life balance, and even sleep in the digital age. By shifting our business focuses onto wellbeing rather than measurable success, we will find ourselves actually transforming the way success is measured and achieved, and doing so for the better.
How does your experience working in media connect to other key issues that are top of mind?
When we founded The Huffington Post in 2005, we knew it had to reflect the shift from presentation to participation – meaning that the days of the Media Gods, sitting up on Mt. Olympus and telling us how things are, have long since ended. That’s why The Huffington Post is both a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism enterprise with investigative reporters all around the world and a platform where people both known and unknown with something interesting to say can say it.
From the beginning, the whole point of The Huffington Post was to take the sort of conversations found at water coolers and around dinner tables – about politics and art and books and food – and open them up and bring them online.
How do you see your role in changing, shifting, or influencing in the next 10 years?
At The Huffington Post, our mission is to inform, inspire, entertain, and empower. With 15 global editions, we’re poised to reach more people around the world than ever before and add value to their lives. We’re constantly evolving, but what remains the same is our commitment – and my commitment, as editor-in-chief – to staying on the stories that are most important to us and our audience, chomping down on them and continuing to tell them long after others in the media have moved on.
What emerging values will shape the way in which our digital lives will be formed in 2040?
The dominant topic of discussion at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos was transition. Klaus Schwab, the Forum’s founder and executive chairman, captured this sense – the possibilities as well as the challenges – with this year’s theme, the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Schwab describes this new period as “the fusion of technologies across the physical, digital, and biological worlds, which is creating entirely new capabilities and dramatic impacts on political, social, and economic systems.” It’s an era of automation, constant connectivity, and accelerated change, in which the Internet of Things meets the Smart Factory. But Schwab also warns that “a shared understanding of this change… is essential if we are to shape our collective future in a way that reflects ultimately that the human being should be at the center.”
This human element was unmistakably at the center of Davos this year. And it captured one of the most important emerging values that will shape our lives in 2040 and beyond. Taken together, the conversations at Davos this year were a blueprint for a wider definition of success, one that recognizes that in our quest for a competitive edge and enhanced performance, we actually stand to gain from putting our humanity, wellbeing, and sense of purpose at the center.
What does it mean to “change the world that men have designed”?
It means that the world needs women to not just climb the ladder of success – it’s a misguided definition of success, after all, which was largely created by men – but to chart a new path to success that includes wellbeing, wisdom, wonder, and giving. For far too long, men have equated success with working around the clock, driving yourself into the ground, sleep deprivation, and burnout. Women need to lead the way to change that, both for their sake and for the sake of successful men who desperately need a new model of success.
How are notions of leadership changing? How will they have to change in order to support your vision of a more mindful future?
We are witnessing a global shift toward leadership values and abilities traditionally considered feminine: empathy, compassion, and collaboration. The more these qualities gain traction, the better off we’ll all be, women and men alike.
How do you think the way we talk about and access sleep will be different in 2040 than it is today?
Right now, our cultural assumption that overwork and burnout are the price we must pay in order to succeed is at the heart of our sleep crisis. The method (or cheat code) we use isn’t a mystery: feeling that there aren’t enough hours in the day, we look for something to cut. And sleep is an easy target. In fact, up against this unforgiving definition of success, sleep doesn’t stand a chance. Indeed, in much of our culture, especially in the workplace, going without sleep is considered a badge of honor.
So, in 2040, I believe the cultural assumptions around success and sleep will have been dramatically transformed. To start, going without sleep will no longer be considered a badge of honor!
Read the full feature, The Future According to Women HERE.
Arianna Huffington’s latest book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time is available on Amazon.