Pillar #4 of the Third Metric: Giving

03/24/2014 10:51 am ET | Updated May 24, 2014
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In the entrepreneurial world, there's always a bit of debate as to whether "giving back" is really the right way to view philanthropy and charity.

After all, you never took anything as an entrepreneur, so why is it called "giving back"?

What I love about the way Arianna Huffington explains giving in her book, THRIVE, is that she talks about giving from a totally interesting perspective. When she talks about giving, she talks about it as "the willing to give of ourselves, prompted by our empathy and compassion."

My good friend Eben Pagan says that the most profitable skill to learn in business is compassion. When you have empathy for a person and you can really understand their perspective, you say things in a way that relates to them. You can actually speak to another person in a way where they feel you really get where they're coming from.

In fact, it's not only profitable, but as Arianna points out in her book, empathy and service increases our well-being, too. She states: "happiness comes from being a productive part of a community and contributing to the greater good."

Entrepreneurs go beyond themselves, step out of their comfort zones and serve others. That's what we do.

In her book THRIVE, Arianna says "Go-Getters Are Good; Go-Givers Are Better." When you build your work on a foundation of adding value to peoples' lives, you're setting yourself up for real success.

And one of three steps to giving that Arianna suggests in her book is to use a skill or talent your have to help someone who could benefit from it. She states that this will "jumpstart your transition from a go-getter to a go-giver, and reconnect you to the world and to the natural abundance in your own life."

And that word -- abundance -- is exactly what is available to you today. As Arianna's and my good friend Peter Diamandis, founder of The X PRIZE Foundation and the Abundance 360 Summit, says: "We're living in a world of ABUNDANCE. We're living as emperors and kings would have lived 100 years ago. I think that we're living in a time where there are trillion-dollar opportunities that never existed before. It's an exciting time to be alive."

Here's the upshot of all of this: You don't have to live your life within the boundaries of what our culture defines as "success." You don't have to sacrifice your well-being, your relationships or your happiness. We simply can't find the answer to "success" in our current definition of success alone. Money and power are not enough.

We need a Third Metric... and it begins with well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.

Here's what I want you to do now. Go get Arianna's book THRIVE.

Read it. Tell me what you think, and implement it in your life.

I'll leave you with a passage from THRIVE that I really like...

Have you noticed that when we die, our eulogies celebrate our lives very differently from the way society defines success? Eulogies are, in fact, very Third Metric. But while it's not hard to live a life that includes the Third Metric, it's very easy not to. It's easy to let ourselves get consumed by our work. It's easy to allow professional obligations to overwhelm us, and to forget the things and the people that truly sustain us. It's easy to let technology wrap us in a perpetually harried, stressed-out existence. It's easy, in effect, to miss the real point of our lives even as we're living them. Until we're no longer alive. A eulogy is often the first formal marking down of what our lives were about -- the foundational document of our legacy. It is how people remember us and how we live on in the minds and hearts of others. And it is very telling what we don't hear in eulogies. We almost never hear things like: "The crowning achievement of his life was when he made senior vice president." Or: "He increased market share for his company multiple times during his tenure." Or: "She never stopped working. She ate lunch at her desk. Every day." Or: "He never made it to his kid's Little League games because he always had to go over those figures one more time." Or: "While she didn't have any real friends, she had 600 Facebook friends, and she dealt with every email in her inbox every night." Or: "His PowerPoint slides were always meticulously prepared." Our eulogies are always about the other stuff: what we gave, how we connected, how much we meant to our family and friends, small kindnesses, lifelong passions, and the things that made us laugh. So why do we spend so much of our limited time on this earth focusing on all the things our eulogy will never cover? ...Even if you build an iconic product, one that lives on in our lives, what is foremost in the minds of the people you care about most are the memories you built in their lives.

Get Arianna's book THRIVE.

It's a fantastic book and I really encourage you to read it and use it in your life.