The Thrive Questionnaire with Princess Eugenie of York

The Princess talks meditation, her relationship with technology and how she finds strength in failure.

Courtesy of Princess Eugenie

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

In this edition, Princess Eugenie Victoria Helena of York discusses her life in the United Kingdom. Her Royal Highness is the second child of The Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York, and sixth grandchild of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh. 

When she is not working as a full-time Director of the contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth, Princess Eugenie can be found supporting her charitable endeavors. She has been campaigning against Modern Day Slavery since 2012 and has worked on and alongside The Key to Freedom, the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women and her new initiative The Anti-Slavery Collection. Here is a peek into how Princess Eugenie successfully balances all of her commitments. 

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Princess Eugenie: I’ve just moved house and now I can hear the birds tweeting. So now I listen to the birds and if Jack’s there give him a big hug. I need to start using my Thrive bed for my telephone more as I am naughty and check my emails. Since reading the book though I’ve been more mindful to not have it in my room.

TG: What gives you energy?
PE: Sunlight, exercise, art, family and friends, puppies, French fries (chips in the UK).

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
PE: I’ve started to meditate, which has really been wonderful to give me the energy and time to think and re-focus on what’s important. It gives you the space to deal with stress and to prioritize what really matters.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
PE: Half the sky written by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
PE: Yes — I have to move it out of the bedroom though as I really see how detrimental it is to read your emails straight away when you wake up.

TG: How do you deal with email?
PE: I usually try and reply as they come in so I don’t get overwhelmed by them all. But a lot of the time that doesn’t happen. I also don’t use my email over the weekend so I can take time away from it.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
PE: Enjoy my lunch, look up at the sky and be grateful or walk around the block at work to get me going again.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
PE: I have to say wedmin is one of the most tiring things…

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
PE: Einstein said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried something new.” I believe we have to have failure to succeed. There are daily situations where you may feel like that; I know I do but it makes me who I am.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
PE: Recently I went to see Jack Whitten’s show at the Baltimore Museum of Art. As you enter there is a quote from him that says, “My life has been an epic adventure.” It has really stuck with me because at the end of a long life I would like to look back and be able to say that. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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