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The Third Metric: Beyond the Self

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In preparation for The Third Metric's upcoming event Thrive in New York, D.C. and Los Angeles, industry leaders attended a special session at NYC Social Media Week. A diverse selection of start-ups including GitaSutra, BRB, Casper, Greatest, Headspace, DonerChose.org, and Fueled discussed the opportunities and challenges that exist for emerging technologies to improve individual growth.

Juice bars and gym memberships saturated the self-improvement movement of the past. The Third Metric's mission to "redefine success beyond money and power" is rapidly rising in our culture. This month's TIME magazine cover story even features "The Mindful Revolution." Francis Pedraza, co-founder and CEO of Everest, observed in a HuffPost blog that human's "social need" for connection, as described by psychologist Abraham Maslow in the 1940s, has been satisfied by our hyper-connected lifestyles. Indeed, Facebook, Twitter, and texting, have created instantaneous human connections. Pedraza asserted, "With less of our time taken up by basic survival, our need to improve ourselves will move from the back-burner to the front."

Self-actualization is at the top of Maslow's needs hierarchy pyramid. Today, basic self-actualized peak experiences appear in many forms, whether it's running marathons, pursuing advanced degrees, or achieving a "personal best" in a hobby. This intense focus on the self sometimes manifests as ego validation, so it is crucial to understand the distinction between the two. Whatever the case may be, the CEOs from wellness start-ups who attended NYC Social Media Week last week offered solutions to get you there.

While some are compelled to disconnect from their electronic devices, others prefer to remain firmly connected. CEO of HeadSpace, Rich Pierson, cleverly coined the phrase, "plugging in to unplug." HeadSpace is a free, guided meditation app that contains bite-sited pieces to foster meditation starting with 10-minute sessions. Derrick Flanzaich, CEO of Greatist.com, a fitness, health and happiness start-up commented, "I firmly believe that never has wellness been more important -- I think there is a reason HeadSpace is catching on and picking up steam, we are truly changing in the way we prioritize how we spend our day and how we value success."

Still can't bear the thought of cutting the cord? BRB (Be Right Back) was conceived when the founders went to dinner and realized everyone was looking at their phones. BRB is a virtual secretary that will inform others that you are not available -- but will be right back, of course. "There is a constant social pressure to be on the devices all the time," co-owner, Noah Levy added.

The expansion of Maslow's self-actualization concept in 1971 emphasized a move beyond the self to achieve the highest level of self-actualization. For those who are "just too busy," social media now facilitates such a pursuit. For example, Donorschoose.org is a non-profit organization that helps teachers acquire materials for their classrooms. By utilizing technology, we can create culture of service and gratitude, Margie Cadet shared, "technology has made it easier for people to give and engage... 1.3 million people have given to the site Donerschoose.org and 50 percent have given to schools in a 20-mile radius from their homes."

For those who choose to "unplug," Rasanath Das, an ex-Wall Street executive turned full-time yogi practices a personal approach to wellness at GitaSutra using the Bhagvad-Gita and Enneagram as psycho-spritual development tools for executives. Classes are personalized and include "Excavating Your Ego Type," among others. Das very humbly prescribes an actionable daily program of service and gratitude: "At the end of the day, if you can spare 15 minutes, and take of stock of one act of kindness that you did, or one lesson that you learned, even by observing someone, and see how it has affected your life and store it inwards, keep it with you, and carry it with you for the next day. It's those small things that make a big difference."

Today, I challenge you to live the mission of The Third Metric by redefining your success beyond money and power by embracing its mantras of Well-Being, Wonder, Wisdom and Giving.

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