When I first saw Chip Conley speak a few years ago, his take on how Maslow can be interpreted through a business lens absolutely floored me. So simple, so profound, so applicable. I literally have been drawing the hierarchy of needs pyramids to address nearly every important business challenge I have faced since then.
Chip’s book Peak was so valuable to me that I sought out more of his advice, and since then we’ve kept in touch as he’s been developing new ideas in the intersection of Psychology and Business (his main stomping ground). Now those new ideas have formally entered the world, and they’ve got people talking about something that has been ignored in the business world for much too long. Like the elephant in the room, emotions play a big part in every single business interaction. But we pretend that emotions don’t matter – business isn’t personal. But it is. Everything that involves a person is personal in some way.
Chip’s new book, Emotional Equations, is based on an idea as simple, profound, and applicable as Maslow on business. His belief is that emotions are complex, but they can be understood and managed, like the constants and variables of an equation. Chip’s inspiration (and one of mine as well) was Viktor Frankl, who wrote the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” after surviving a Nazi concentration camp. One of Frankl’s quotes stuck with Chip, as he realized it gave him control and responsibility over his own emotional baggage:
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
After digging in to the prevalent emotion he was feeling at the time – DESPAIR – Chip Conley recognized that he could define it as:
Despair = Suffering – Meaning.
As the Buddhists will tell you, suffering is a constant. but meaning was a variable that can definitely be manipulated. As Chip worked on increasing the meaning of his situation, he found that his suffering decreased in proportion, and his sense of despair vanished. Encouraged by others who saw value in this equation and wanted more, Chip created 17 more equations, for many of the most common emotions including happiness, anxiety, jealousy and joy. And now you can dive into the equations for yourself, and discover how to move from emotional intelligence, to emotional fluency – where you can manage your emotions more effectively than ever before.
There are three videos below. The first is a book trailer, then a TEDx talk, and last a long form seminar Chip did at Google recently. For a non-math guy going into Google to talk about equations I think he did pretty well. Enjoy!
Long form talk at Google