Do emotions and math go together? “Emotions = Life.” That’s how Chip Conley begins his latest book, Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success.
“An equation is just another way of expressing the relationship between two or more things — or two or more forces. Emotional Equations help illuminate relationships — the relationships between one emotion and another and how the mix of two emotions may lead to a third,” says Conley.
A successful businessman, speaker, and author, Chip Conley is no stranger to adversity. Indeed, it was during the bad times that he began to look toward emotional equations for answers. There are many circumstances in life well beyond our control, but there are plenty of things we have the power to change.
Conley believes emotions have a scientific logic. By identifying the equations of your own circumstances, you can work through negatives and find your way to a more meaningful life — to understand yourself, your purpose, and your relationships with others. Emotions = Life.
The books tells stories using math, with Conley taking on the role of “emotional concierge,” as he calls it. If you’re prone to dislike thinking in mathematical terms, you may not take to the book immediately, but after a few chapters it begins to gel.
Considerable research shows that emotions are contagious, especially in the context of the Petri dish of a family or an organization. Approximately 50 to 70 percent of the temperament of a work group is influenced by the emotional state of its leader, so a business leader can almost think of herself as the “emotional thermostat” of her work group. This is just a true in your family or in any other closely knit group of people who regularly congregate.
Humanity’s common currency, emotions, is how we connect, even when we have little else in common. Whether you speak Farsi or Icelandic, are male or female, are eight or eighty, emotions are universal to your experience of life. When talking to someone about how you feel, you probably refer to parts of your body to describe your emotional state; for instance, you say, “I have a broken heart,” “I have a lump in my throat,” or “I have a bad gut feeling about this.” As my grandmother once told me, “No matter where you are in the world, you can always connect with someone by just being honest about your emotions, whether you’re feeling sad, glad, mad, or bad.”
Emotional fluency is the ability to sense, translate, and effectively apply the power of emotions in a healthy and productive manner. Yet most of us have more training in how to use our car or computer than we do in how to use our emotions in work and life. Welcome to driver’s ed for your emotions. Fasten your seat belts, please.
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