Last year we held the first-ever Third Metric conference in my living room. We wanted it to be cozy, but so many people showed up that it was downright intimate. But it was a sign of how widespread the longing to redefine success and make room in our lives for renewal, wisdom, wonder and giving really is.
So this year we knew that either we'd have to move to a new location or I'd have to get a much bigger apartment. We chose a new location. But happily, one thing that didn't change was my co-host, Mika Brzezinski. And as we said as we opened the conference, our purpose this year was to move from knowing what changes we needed to make to actually making them.
To help the more than 2,000 attendees make those changes, over two days we heard from neuroscientists, doctors, musicians, writers, teachers, comedians, artists and a yoga instructor who led what was probably Manhattan's biggest yoga class.
I hope all those who attended were able to take home some tools to make those changes in their daily lives. But for those of you who weren't able to make it, here are some highlights from the conference.
Jon Kabat-Zinn on the low-tech benefits of meditation:
"The real meditation practice is how we live our lives from moment to moment to moment.... You don't need the iPhone; you've got the most exquisite apparatus in the known universe sitting right in your head and the rest of your body -- the most complex organization of matter in the entire universe. And here we are, a little depressed and feeling like we're not getting where we need to be instead of realizing you may be exactly where you need to be...."
Julianne Moore on setting yourself up for success:
"Don't say, 'I want to be President of the United States.' It's too hard to get there! But if you say, 'I'd like to think about becoming involved in local politics,' you keep your goal close to you. Always keep your goal right in front of you. If you say to yourself, 'I want to write a story,' don't say, 'I need to publish a story.' Just write the one page that day, then write the second page, then write the third page. But do it in little bits so you always feel like you have achieved something."
Mark Bertolini on employee well-being and the bottom line:
"Since 2010 we've in essence been down almost 8-percent in our health-care costs as a company by focusing on our employees. And I think that's a message for the whole country, in that if we work on reducing stress, making sure people are taking care of themselves, giving them the time to do it, I think that is a huge opportunity for us to bend the curve and reduce the impact of health-care costs on our nation's deficit."
Richard Davidson on the science of kindness:
"There are changes in the body that occur when we generate compassion and warm-heartedness, and there are parts of the brain that are involved in monitoring what's going on in the body that also correspond to the change."
Laurie David on the moral urgency of addressing our obesity epidemic:
"There was a stunning stat that came out recently that this is the first generation of children that are going to lead shorter lifespans than their parents. That's unheard of and completely unacceptable."
Alicia Menendez on securing our own mask first:
"Sometimes it's easier to see in the people that we care about than it is to see in ourselves, but you are of no service to anyone else if you don't take care of yourself."
Randi Zuckerberg on setting a healthy technology example for our children:
"A lot of people always ask me what my rules are for my son, but no one ever asks me what my rules are for myself. And I have found that he copies and emulates a lot of my behavior, so it's unfair for me to tell him 'No, you can't play with Mommy's phone right now' if I'm texting under the table."
Cindi Leive on her digital detox:
"The main thing I learned is that it really helps to have a partner in crime when you're trying to force yourself to step away from your to-do list and focus on you and take some time for yourself."
Alanis Morissette on cultivating an inner life:
"I think a lot of what's happening in this sort of distraction age, if we can call it that, is that we're running from ourselves, in a way, because there's these existential questions of: Who are we spiritually? Who are we emotionally? Are we our past?"
Dr. Dan Siegel on embracing uncertainty:
"I think people are realizing that the life that we've been living is just not working, but that's going to require for us to go inward to a place that, for some people, is very frightening, and they avoid it, but it's certainly full of uncertainty."
Panache Desai on living an authentic life:
"We must be willing to inform our lives from the inside out."
Federica Marchionni on how she relaxes and recharges:
"I need to sleep. I exercise. I like active things: I run, bike, swim, skate and do Bikram yoga. But most importantly, I need to kiss my son. He's 6."
Andy Puddicombe on a piece of advice he's never forgotten:
"It might sound pessimistic, but I remember one teacher saying to always live life with death on the side, the idea of remembering how precious life is. I think about it every day, like, 'Wow, life will end for all of us.'"
Lucy Danziger on true character:
"True character is how you are when things aren't going your way. When you're down or get kicked down -- or get fired, in my case -- how you act in those moments, the resilience you find ... is the most important thing you can do. I believe that personality is destiny, because when you have these bumps in the road, you have to rely on your character and strength to get back out there."
Adam Grant on a little-discussed way of giving back:
"Busy people can easily give back by making introductions. A well-done introduction can be life-changing for the people who receive it."
Maysoon Zayid on getting past the "busy" trap:
"You're never too busy to find one hour a week that you dedicate to giving back."
Tory Burch on the support she received on the way to success:
"My whole career I've been helped by women, and I think that was really something that really affected me in a very positive way."
Ali Wentworth on the importance of having a support group:
"Having lived in Hollywood for many years, I actually found that women did not help women in that business at all. I sort of figured, 'I want one place where women are genuinely 100-percent helping and supporting each other and not judging each other.'"
Charles Best on the mission of his company, DonorsChoose:
"Anybody can now be a philanthropist. Even if they just have one dollar to spare, they can search for classroom projects that match their passion, see exactly where their money's going and hear back from the classroom they chose to help."
Dr. Dean Ornish on the mind-body connection:
"When you change your lifestyle, it changes your genes, over 500 genes, in just a few months."
Dani Shapiro on the connection between our inner and outer lives:
"The older I get, the hungrier I am for these moments of authenticity, connection. An authentic connection begins with permission to be ourselves."
Finally, our thanks and gratitude go out to our sponsors: Bliss, IPG Mediabrands, Ipsos, the Girls' Lounge, JPMorgan Chase, Kenneth Cole, Performance Lifestyle and Westin. Our event would not have been such a success without their support.
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