Self-awareness? We Needed an App for That

Bent over a journal, sobbing as I wrote, broken-hearted from a divorce, beaten by a back injury’s unrelenting pain, exhausted without reprieve from a sleep disorder, I pictured myself in a hospital bed, lights dimmed, encircled three-deep by caregivers. In the warm, imaginary room full of people, present for me twenty-four hours a day, I felt my anguish ease.

As I envisioned myself lying in the bed, every need filled, every heartache and backache tended, I began to sense an uneasy presence in my chest. It felt hard, jagged, plastic and hollow, like a twisted yellow Christmas tree star. No matter what words of comfort those gentle, well-intentioned caregivers spoke to me, no matter what ministrations they offered my body, sharp, angular pain within me persisted, untouched.

Tracing origins of insights is difficult, but I think that experience writing in my journal and realizing that people could help, but that they were not enough, contributed to my beginning a quest to find not just what would ease my suffering from without, but what would ease it from within.

I keep discovering over and over again on my own path, and when others share their paths with me, that self-awareness is the top hope. If I can become conscious of my feelings and thoughts, I give myself a chance to realize what’s going on in my heart and mind. From that information and the insights that result, I can decide what’s next for me. I can choose to do something – or not. Sometimes I can choose to just be.

Zip ahead ten years later to 2010 when I downloaded the mobile app Foursquare to my smartphone. Foursquare connects people by geolocation. “What are you doing?” the app prompted back then.

“What am I doing?!” I thought. “What am I feeling and thinking?! Those need to come first!” And I dreamed of an app where people could check in with themselves and become aware of their feelings and thoughts, gain that oh-so important self-awareness before they made a choice of what to do, then share their feelings, thoughts, choices and locations with each other to find fellow like-hearted and like-minded people at Starbucks, or The Weight Club, or wherever.

I asked Alex if he would be up for coding a self-awareness app and he said, “Sure.”

And that’s how the app that became Cognichoice began.

Self-awareness lets us feel, think and choose

Graphic for Cognichoice(R) by Kelsey Sarles

The app that became Cognichoice(R) launched on July 5, 2010. You can read more about Cognichoice and register for our public demo site on this page.

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  1. […] Mobile technology barely existed in 2006 when I finished my internship. But when I founded a startup in 2008 and continued to learn about possibilities, in 2010, I asked my business partner, Alex Edelman, if he could code a feelings app to foster self-awareness. And he said yes. That app became Cognichoice. (I wrote more about my personal experience with the founding of Cognichoice here.) […]