The Little Note On Emotional Equations

This post contains my personal notes and reflections from the book ” Emotional Equations” by Chip Conley.

Emotions = Life.

Our lives will always be filled with various emotions. The point is whether we can stop, see the space between the emotion and our reaction and then choose the reaction that will help us evolve.

According to Plutchik we have only 8 primary emotions:

  1. Joy
  2. Anticipation
  3. Anger
  4. Disgust
  5. Sadness
  6. Surprise
  7. Fear
  8. Acceptance

An important thing to remember is this:

Event + Reaction = Outcome

This means that events are things that you may not be able to control. But reaction to the event is something that we all should aspire to control, because the outcome is dependent on it.

Let us now explore some emotional equations:

1. Despair = Suffering – Meaning.

Suffering exists everywhere. This is a fact of life and we cannot get away from it. So rather than focusing on the suffering that exists, if we can focus on the transformation of suffering or pain into something worthwhile and meaningful, we will never fall into despair. Only when we feel there is no meaning in suffering that despair arises.

2.Suffering = Pain x Resistance

Events make create physical pain or even emotional pain but they do not cause suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is.

3. Disappointment = Expectations – Reality

If we expect a lot and things don’t happen as we expect them to do, we are disappointed. This does not mean we should have high expectations. You can have them but you need to realise that you are not entitled for those things to happen. We need to stop focusing on some delusional idea of the way “life should be”. The best way may be to not expect anything and still be passionate: the paradox of someone who is self-aware and wise.

4.Regret = Disappointment + Responsibility

Regret happens when we are dissatisfied with a result and disappointed and that we are responsible for making the unfortunate personal choices that led to the result. We need to make sure that we do not make choices that will cause long-term pain. The other thing is to be contented and satisfied and not try to maximise everything in life.

5.Remorse = Regret + Guilt

You regret because you made the wrong choice. You are then guilty about the actions you did as a result of the wrong choice. This is remorse.

6. Jealousy = Mistrust/ Self-esteem

When you are jealous you have a low self-esteem( sense of worthiness) in the situation as well as independent of the situation. You have a high sense of mistrust about the situation or person as well in general.

7. Envy = (Pride + Vanity)/Kindness

When somebody succeeds and you don’t and you are in the same field and almost peers, you tend to feel envy. The more proud and vain you are, the more envious you are going to feel. The less kind you are to other people when they achieve something, the more envy you feel.

8. Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness

Uncertainty means something that you don’t know. Powerlessness means that you do not have control over. If you want to be certain about something that you cannot be certain about and control over something that you cannot control, then you will feel anxious. On the other hand, if you just let go of these things completely or think only about those things that you can influence then anxiety is gone.

9. Calling = Pleasure/Pain

When you follow a calling, it means two things to your deepest inner being. Lots of pleasure. No or minimal pain. Or even if you have pain, it does not matter because the pleasure is overwhelming.

10. Workaholismw = What are you running from?/What are you living for?

Are you running away from a feeling of unworthiness, a feeling of being unlovable, shame, and a host of fears, from fear of intimacy to fear of failing or maybe even fear of succeeding. Ask yourself what are you living for and whether the work that you do is really the work that you want to do and that is your legacy and something that you feel true joy in doing.

11. Flow = Skill/Challenge ( with the goal of Flow being equal to 1.0)

If we have more challenge and less skill we feel anxious. If we have less challenge and more skill we feel bored. Flow happens when our challenge is around 5-10% above our skill and we gradually increase our skill to meet the challenge to get the flow of 1.0.

12. Curiosity = Wonder + Awe

Wonder is the sense of joyful, innocent surprise with a desire to know more. We feel awe when we are humbled by something bigger than we are. Combine both and you get curiosity, which is life-affirming.

13. Authenticity = Self-awareness x Courage

Self-awareness means you are an expert at emotional hide-and-seek. It means to witness yourself, the patterns in which you think and behave each day and see yourself in an unvarnished way without being judgmental. Courage means to get comfortable to your center and start marching to your own internal drummer. You are brave and stand for what is right, persevere, are honest and positive about life. When you have both of them you have authenticity.

14. Narcissism = Self-esteem x Self-esteem x Entitlement

If you have too much self-esteem( think you are very worthy) and feel that you are entitled to everything that you have or want, you are narcissitic. To get rid of it, be humble and compassionate, look at the world around you and look for something bigger than you.

15. Integrity = Authenticity x Invisibility x Reliability

Authenticity means self-awareness and courage. Invisibility means that we do what we do even when nobody is watching. Reliability means consistency, faithfulness and living up to your words and deeds. Having all three means you have integrity.

16. Happiness = Wanting what you have/ Having what you want = Gratitude/Gratification= Practice/Pursuit

Be contented with what you have. Do not want a lot. Be grateful. Seek less gratification. Practice happiness. Don’t pursue happiness. Then you will be really happy.

17. Joy = Love – Fear

Do something that you love without fear and you will be joyful.

18. Innovation = Creativity – Cynicism

The corporate version of the above equation.

19. Thriving = Frequency of positive/Frequency of negative ( thriving being equal to 3 or more)

You thrive when you are more focused on the positive but not blindly.

20.Faith = Belief/ Intellect

Faith happens when you have belief in something. The intellect has little role to play in faith just like our physical eyes cannot see atoms but we have faith that atoms exist. Belief whose foundation is not intellect but something beyond- that is faith.

21. Wisdom= Square root of Experience

Wisdom is the deep knowledge that comes from experience. It is not based on just accumulation of factual knowledge but something holistic that a person who has years and tons of experience can just see and make a decision. Like Warren Buffett buying a stock.

22. Growth = Change – Resistance

All growth involves change. If we are resistant to change we will not grow.

22. Humiliation = (Shame x Anger) – Power

You are shamed and you are angry about it. But you are powerless about the whole thing. You are humiliated.

23. Empathy = Compassion( for self) + Presence( for others)

Empathy happens when we are present for others and feel what they are feeling and being compassionate with oneself by being attuned to one’s own feelings and being non-judgmental.

24. Self-esteem = Success/Pretensions

If we have a lot of true success and less of pretentious and false successes we will have more self-esteem.


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