Six Emotional Equations You Can Harness at Work

Recently, Rypple hosted a Leadership Series web seminar with Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels and the author of The New York Times best seller,“Emotional Equations.”

In his entertaining and informative session, Chip explored the many complex emotions that impact our effectiveness at work — and how a series of simple mathematical formulas can help us gain control of them.

We’re excited to bring Chip back to present his powerful insights in person at Salesforce’s upcoming Dreamforce conference on Thursday, September 20th from Noon – 1:00 P.M.

In his webinar, Chip outlined six common emotions we feel at work and provided insights and tips on how we can quickly conquer them.

1. Despair = Suffering – Meaning

Despair happens when you find yourself in tough situations. Chip talked about how the loss of a good friend, the bubble bursting, and family troubles impeded his ability to focus.  Determined to understand the emotion and find ways to reduce it, he discovered that by finding meaning in these difficult circumstances, he could actually reduce despair.

  • Quick Tip: Try to understand meaning on a daily basis. Always stop and think, “What is the meaning in this?” and “What am I suppose to learn?”  Don’t be afraid of having conversations about how difficult situations are affecting you and others around you.

2. Happiness = Gratitude / Gratification

Socrates said,  ”He who is not contented with what he has would not be contented with what he would like to have.”  In other words, happiness doesn’t come from wanting more and more things (gratification) but by appreciating the things you already have (gratitude).  At work this is easily expressed with a simple message of thanks.

  • Quick Tip: You can easily increase your happiness by practicing gratitude.  Once or twice a day, thank someone sincerely for doing great work.

3. Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness

Anxiety affects all of us. And the more powerless or uncertain you feel in a particular situation, the more acute your anxiety will be.  To effectively reduce these feelings, focus on what you DO have power over and what you DO know. And if you don’t know something… ask.

  • Quick Tip:Create an anxiety balance sheet. Imagine something that you are anxious about and create lists using the columns below. Focus on column 1 and 3 and ask questions to shorten the list in column 2.What do I know?
    1. What don’t I know?
    2. What can I influence?
    3. What can’t I influence?

4. Curiosity = Wonder + Awe

In a study featured in The Economist,  the happiest years in people’s lives turned out to be before 25 and after 50.  The common thread between these years was that these were the ages when people were likely to be most curious about life. In business, curiosity is one of the most important attributes because it opens up fresh options and helps you become more resilient in tough times.

  • Quick Tip: Learn what drives your curiosity and establish that at the office.  Build and support relationships with other managers and leaders. Why? Because, “managers are great with coming up with answers and leaders are great at asking the right questions.”

5. Flow = Skill/Challenge

Have you ever found yourself doing something, personal or professional, where you find hours pass by without even noticing?  That state of being means you are in the flow channel, or “in the zone.” When your skills match the challenge in front of you, you are engaged and doing your best work.

  • Quick Tip: To help a person get into the “flow zone” they need:

    1. Clear goals that define success.
    2. Immediate feedback so they can incrementally adjust.
    3. An opportunity to focus on a task through to completion.
    4. An activity that is intrinsically rewarding.

6. Thriving = Frequency of Positive/ Frequency of Negative

People rarely thrive in negative environments.  An ideal state of thriving occurs when positivity outweighs negativity in a ratio of 3:1.  The reason we need an abundance of positivity is because “our minds are teflon for positivity and velcro for negativity.”

  • Quick Tip: Focus on ending your executive meetings on a positive note and call out the positive impact of the different members of your team.

To hear more valuable insights from Chip…

Come and see him live at Dreamforce on Thursday September 20. Register here and save $500.

Watch the video:


Charmaine Abalajon is a member of the Product and Community group at Rypple and works tirelessly to help users get the most from the service. Prior to joining Rypple Charmaine dabbled in many industries; from Fritolay to PWC and McCain to TELUS. Fun Fact: she once complimented the tie of the German Minister of Agriculture during Oktoberfest in Munich (it was lime green with little tractors)!