How to Become an Effective CEO: Chief Emotions Officer

Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels

Chip Conley is the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, which he began at age 26 and built to more than 30 properties in California alone. In 2010, Joie de Vivre was awarded the #1 customer service award in the U.S. by Market Metrix (Upper Upscale hotel category).

Conley has also been named the “Most Innovative CEO” in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times, and I’m proud to call him a friend.

We’ve shared many glasses of wine together. He doesn’t know what I’m about to tell you, but it’s true (Hi, Chip!). When we first met, and after reading his first book on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I wondered “Is this Chip dude for real? Implementing self-actualization in a company?!?” My curiosity drove me to visit a few of his hotels, including Hotel Vitale, where I eventually concluded: these are the happiest employees I’ve ever met.

He has figured out what makes people tick.

The following post is a guest post by Chip and based on his new book, Emotional Equations. Be sure to read to the end, as there is a chance to win an expense-paid trip to SF to spend an entire day training with him.

Deal-making? Empire building? Self-fulfillment? He’s your guy.


Enter Chip Conley

I graduated from Stanford Business School at age 23 with Seth Godin.

I remember talking with him and others about my aspirations as an entrepreneur and my desire to become a CEO some day. Back then, I thought in order to become a successful CEO, I would need to become superhuman, leaping tall buildings in a single bound. But, after 24 years of being a CEO (I founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality, what’s become the 2nd largest boutique hotelier in the world, and sold a majority interest to a billionaire in 2010), I’ve come to realize that the best business leaders aren’t superhuman, they’re simply super humans as they’ve learned how to become Chief Emotions Officers.

Chief Emotional Officer?

Leaders are the “emotional thermostats” of the groups they lead. If you want to dig into the support for this, read this compelling piece by Daniel Goleman, the man who popularized the idea of “emotional intelligence” in the 90s and proved that 2/3 of the effectiveness of business leaders comes from their EQ rather than their IQ or level of work experience.

There are multiple metaphors I use to describe how emotions work in our lives. One that feels very familiar to me is baggage. Our luggage in life is an apt metaphor for me – a guy who’s been a hotelier for a quarter century. Countless times I’ve seen people show up at our hotel front desks with all kinds of baggage, and only some of it the physical kind. Most of us have emotional baggage that may seem invisible to the untrained eye or invisible to the person carrying the baggage. But the results of lugging that baggage around for years is noticeable in how that person shows up at the metaphorical front desk of life. If you are a Chief Emotions Officer, you are more aware of all the bags you’re carrying and how to open your luggage up and make sense of what’s inside.

Opening up a bag, you may find a truly messy interior with things in complete disarray. But, these emotional equations create a certain logic to how you pack and unpack your bags and, in fact, being a little more conscious of what’s in your bag may allow you to discard a few heavy items that have been weighing you down. Creating your own internal logic regarding your emotional baggage will allow you to carry a lighter bag…one that’s eminently easier to unpack.

4 Emotions to Unpack

We’re going to focus on four emotions that you can start unpacking (i.e. mastering).

Think of emotions as existing on a color wheel. Isaac Newton created the color wheel long ago and helped us understand that red plus blue equals purple, for instance. I learned in my research for Emotional Equations – which allowed me to spend a couple of years with some of the world’s psychology luminaries – that there’s an emotional wheel with primary and secondary emotions: the Plutchik wheel. In my book, I evolve this wheel further so you can imagine that Disappointment + a Sense of Responsibility = Regret. And, once you understand the emotional building blocks of Regret, you can turn it from a downer into a lesson. Regret teaches. Fear protects. Sadness releases. Joy uplifts. Empathy unites. Think of your emotions as messages that give you the freedom, rather than the obligation, to respond. One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning:

“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.”

Now, let’s unpack and master the emotions of Despair, Happiness, Anxiety, and Curiosity.


I am very proud of this equation.

It’s the one that started my exploration of emotions through the lens of equations. I took Viktor Frankl’s book and distilled it down to this useful mantra at a time in my life in 2008, when I had a series of friends commit suicide, had a flatline experience myself while giving a speech in St. Louis (literally: my heart stopped, and I dropped), and the rest of my life felt in disarray. If you consider the words “despair” and “meaning” to be abstract or off-putting, consider “sadness” as a tamer version of despair or “learning” as a more concrete version of meaning.

First off, in order for the math to work, “suffering” has to be a constant. This is the first Noble Truth of Buddhism, but it’s also true, and not just in a recession. You can always find the suffering if you want to look for it. I had no idea when I started writing this book that this decade would come to resemble the 1930s in that our near Depression-like economic conditions would persist as long as they have. But while the Depression was a very difficult time for so many people, interview-based research studies show that it indirectly prepared young women for losing their husbands later in life. These women learned self-reliance, independence, and courage early in life, which served them (and perhaps saved their families) when their husbands passed.

So, consider “meaning” in the following way: many of us go to the gym to exercise our physical muscles to ensure that our physical body doesn’t bloat or atrophy. If you’re going through a difficult time right now, maybe – unwittingly – you’ve signed up for emotional boot camp and you’re being asked to exercise emotional muscles that haven’t had this kind of workout for years. But, this isn’t meant to be just agony. It’s meant to prepare you for later in life. The emotions you may be mastering today – humility, resilience, persistence, a sense of humor – will serve you well at some later point in your life, maybe in the not too distant future.

For me, having my long-term relationship end in the midst of my train wreck of a life in 2009 was the last thing I was looking for. Suffering felt ever-present, like the fog during a San Francisco summer. The foghorn that cut through this opaque time was the question I asked myself on my most sad, self-pitying days, “How is this experience going to serve me in my next relationship? How is this going to make me a better partner when I find my true soul mate?”

These weren’t easy questions to ask when I felt radioactive and couldn’t imagine anyone loving me again. But I kept the exercise metaphor in mind. The fact that I could joke with friends about my emotional boot camp helped me realize that great rewards – or meaning – could arise as a result of this painful experience. So, just know that there are fruits to gather in the valley of Despair.


People often have a love-hate relationship with this equation. The proper definitions of the numerator and denominator are what create the magic. “Wanting what you have” can be translated into “practicing gratitude,” having a reverence for what is working in your life. The more tricky definition is in the bottom of this equation. To “have what you want” is an act of “pursuing gratification.” I want something and it’s my job to go out and pursue it or “have” it in order to satisfy that want.

Don’t get me wrong. The act of pursuing something can bring us a sense of accomplishment and take us into that focused “flow” state. But, the risk is that “chasing something with hostility” (some dictionaries’ definition of “pursuit”) or even with just focused attention can completely distract you from what’s in the numerator, what you already have. Socrates said it best, “He who is not contented with what he has would not be contented with what he would like to have.”

As a type-A guy who’s spent more than my share of time on the hedonic treadmill, I can tell you that it’s very difficult to simultaneously practice gratitude while also pursuing gratification. Some mystics are able to take the bottom of this equation down to zero, which may give them infinite happiness. But, for the rest of us mere mortals, the risk is not in lack of pursuit, as this is part of what modern society demands of us. The risk is that we completely diminish the power of gratitude.

So, the true power of this equation is in keeping your attention on the numerator.

Someone once said to me that feeling gratitude without sharing it with someone is like wrapping a present without giving it to the intended recipient. So, what are the ways you can show your gratitude in such a fashion that it becomes a habit or practice for you that’s ingrained in your everyday life? For me, I needed to start by having it on my conscious “to-do” list each day. I had a rule that I had to give two face-to-face expressions of gratitude each day at work, preferably to someone who found the thank you unexpected. In fact, I wrote about this in the Huffington Post after one of my recent trips to Bali. What if you thought of your expressions of gratitude like a devotional daily offering?

Let me give you a suggestion about a Gratitude Journal as well. They’re not for everyone, just like personal journals resonate with some while repelling others. The purpose of a Gratitude Journal is to help you be conscious about “wanting what you have.” An alternative means of accomplishing this purpose is to have a Gratitude Buddy. Make it a point to meet with your Buddy once a month (or more frequently if you wish) in a location where there are no distractions and ask each other, “What gifts do you have in your life that are easy to take for granted?” and “What was a recent gift that may have been wrapped up as a pain or punishment?”

For those of you who’d like to explore this equation a little further, I have two suggestions.

1. Check out a research article by Jeff T. Larsen and Amie R. McKibban where they literally put this equation to the test (with inconclusive results, but really interesting findings).

2. Watch my 2010 TED talk, in which I share my key learning from my trip to Bhutan to study their Gross National Happiness Index.


After reading more than a dozen books and 50 research studies on anxiety, I was struck by the fact that 95% of the causes of anxiety seemed to be distilled down to what we don’t know and what we can’t control. You may have heard of the study that demonstrated most people would prefer receiving an electric shock now that’s twice as painful as receiving some random shock in the next 24 hours. This is why, as leaders, we need to recognize that hiding the truth, especially when it’s going to come out at some point in the near future, is a futile mistake that can often just increase the amount of anxiety your employees are feeling.

If we know that the combustible product of uncertainty and powerlessness creates anxiety, we can create what I call an Anxiety Balance Sheet to turn this around. Take out a piece of paper and create four columns. Then, think of something that is currently making you anxious. Regarding that subject, the first column is “What Do I Know” about this issue. The second column is “What Don’t I Know.” The third column is “What Can I Influence.” The fourth column is “What Can’t I Influence.” Spend enough time doing this so that you have at least one item per column but you may find that you have a half-dozen items in some columns.

After you feel complete, what do you notice with respect to the four columns? About 80% of the people I’ve worked this through with are surprised that they have more items listed in columns one and three (the “good” columns) than they do in columns two and four. The reality is that when something is making us anxious, we tend to fixate on those elements of the problem that feel mysterious (what we don’t know) or uncontrollable (what we can’t influence). So, there’s some liberation in just outlining what’s making you crazy and realizing that there may be many balancing positives to those issues that are vexing you.

Now, spend some time reviewing the items in column two (what you don’t know). Is there someone you can ask – your boss, your boyfriend, your doctor – who can help you with some needed information that will move this item from column two to column one? Maybe it’s just doing a Google search? I know it’s scary to ask your boss whether your job is in jeopardy, but remember the electric shock example I mentioned earlier. Anxiety can be more painful and debilitating than bad news. Now look at column four and truly ask yourself, “Are you completely powerless about the items on this list?” I’ve found that having a smart friend sit with me can sometimes help me uncover ways to move items from column four to column three.

In sum, just the act of unpacking your anxiety bag and knowing what’s inside can have a profound effect on reducing your fear of the future.


We’ve had a subtraction, a division, and a multiplication equation so far. Now, we’ll finish with an addition equation around the experience of curiosity. Recent studies have shown that curiosity is one of the most valuable emotional qualities people can leverage during periods of crisis. Fear and most negative emotions train us to narrow our scope. “Fight or flight” reactions are evolution’s means of helping us avert danger. But, oftentimes, we need to move from narrowing our attention to the “broaden and build” way of thinking that Barbara Fredrickson talks about in her book on Positivity. Getting through your own emotional recession may require bigger thinking rather than narrow execution.

When you’re living in a place of fear, it is hard to be curious. But, I’ve found that so much of it comes back to defusing my natural tendency toward reactivity. In other words, it’s learning to pause. Curiosity is not a reactive emotion. It’s one that takes a certain amount of reflection and a willingness to admit what you don’t know. So, ask yourself, “What habitats allow me to be more curious?” I first had to make a list of which habitats made be less curious: the office, any conference room, investor meetings, and spending time with people who I wanted to impress.

So, I knew that these were not places that were going to help me stoke up bigger thinking. Ironically, when I made my list of curious habitats, I found my list to be longer than I expected: anywhere in nature but especially near a beach with crashing surf; hanging out with kids; museums or other experimental spaces with art; zoos; places with a big night sky and lots of stars; my backyard cottage; and any place where I felt comfortable laughing from my gut (it’s hard to be full of humor and full of fear at the same time).

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that seeking the sacred in life opens up my sense of awe and my ability to connect with curiosity.

I’ve recently made a decision to seek out a sacred festival somewhere in the world each quarter as a means of committing to finding habitats for curiosity. As Tim F. knows (he was a fellow citizen of my camp Maslowtopia), I’ve been an aficionado of Burning Man for many years and some of my best business ideas have come out of my time in the desert marveling at transcendent art and having non-linear conversations.

So, if you’re feeling “on empty” creatively, know that curiosity is the fuel you need to seek. In author Liz Gilbert’s 2009 TED talk (TED is another habitat for curiosity), she shares the fact that the genesis of the word “genius” comes from “genie” and that the most creative people in the world are able to become vessels for the genie to inhabit them. My experience is that these genies prefer inhabiting curious places in the world and that’s where they’re most likely to tap you on your shoulder and give you the gift of inspiration that may change your life.

In sum, the more the external world becomes chaotic, the more we rely upon internal logic. This was true in the 1930s when Nazism and political and religious fundamentalism rose. But, that decade also sprouted new thinking from people like Norman Vincent Peale, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Viktor Frankl, and Reinhold Niebuhr (who created the Serenity Prayer).

I hope that you find these emotional equations help you to think differently, live better, and truly become the Chief Emotions Officer of your own life. It’s worth the introspection.


Chip is offering an exclusive to readers of this blog: the chance to spend a full day with him in San Francisco.

He’ll cover economy airfare from anywhere in the US (if you’re international, you’ll need to get yourself to the US), and he’ll also cover two nights at Hotel Vitale on the water, or the best alternative if they’re sold out. The usual legal stuff applies: must be older than 18, void where prohibited, no purchase required to enter, etc.

No later than this Friday (1/20/12) at 5pm PST, leave a comment below and answer the following, in order, and in no more than 300 words:

1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

Only the first 100 entrants are eligible, so the earlier the better!


Odds and Ends: The Crunchies, Winners, and More

The Crunchies, something like the tech Oscars, are currently in the finals, and quite a few of my start-ups have made the cut (I’m honored to be involved with all of them). If you like these products or people, please click through to give them a vote! All of the candidates, many of them friends, are outstanding.

CEO of the YearPhil Libin (Evernote) and Dick Costolo (Twitter)

Angel of the Year – these folks are all incredible, but I have to vote for my man, Kevin Rose.

Founder of the YearLeah Busque (TaskRabbit) For the story of how Leah and I met, as well as how she got me to be an advisor, see this article: “How to Turn $750 into $1,000,000”

Best Tablet AppStumbleUpon

Best Mobile AppEvernote and Taskrabbit

Best Location AppUber (check out the San Francisco grid)

For all of the categories and finalists, go here.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

Leave a Reply

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)

535 Replies to “How to Become an Effective CEO: Chief Emotions Officer”

  1. 1. “Define your nightmare, the absolute worst that could happen if you did what you are considering.” Not trying to suck up but this and the following questions from 4HWW helped me move to Germany. Everything is going well =)

    2. As a video game designer, the curiosity equation is one of the equations I work with frequently. In trying to build a whole new world virtually, I have to have an understanding of the world around me whether its architecture, anatomy, math, music, and how humans will react to different scenarios. By always remembering how complex and deep each of these elements are, I can find myself in constant wonder and awe, which really pushes me to learn and further my creations.

    3. A chance at this trip would help me solidify and affirm my goals of self sustainability and independence. I’m working hard to take my developments to the next level and people like Tim and Chip have gotten me there. I’ve often dreamed of making a video game or interactive experience that goes into these kinds of emotional and psychological experiences in life. Chip’s break down here and the mathematical approach make it much more feasible to turn into a type of virtual experience so I’m wondering what he would think of that. I would definitely love to know.

    Great post!



    1. Thanks, Rob. Yes, I think some kind of virtual experience where people could go inside their body and understand which sensations or feelings tend to be a precursor to an emotion would be pretty fascinating and educational. We’re working on a diagnostic test that people could take that would allow them to understand their proclivity to each of the emotions in the book from Authenticity to Narcissism to Joy to Regret.

      1. Great Chip, thanks for the quick response and I’m glad you’re into the idea as well. I’m not sure that I will win this competition, but I would certainly love talking about it regardless. If you’d like to reach me at Rob(at) or rstorm000(at)gmail my ears will be wide open. Thanks!

  2. 1)Not really an actual inspirational quote but more so a concept-

    -Why be realistic?

    -it was unrealistic to think that when you walk in to a room and you press a switch light would appear until some one thought otherwise..

    -it was unrealistic to have a piece of moulded metal fly over an ocean until some one thought otherwise

    -it was unrealistic to think that you could speak to some one without having to see them face to face, until someone thought otherwise

    -it was unrealistic to think that you could eat whatever you like for one day of the week and still lose weight until some one thought other wise 🙂


    I’ve never really heard of the study about where people would like to take an electric shock now rather than later but it really does make sense and seems rather intuitive. I think this holds the most substance for me since it provides me with an actionable logic as to why I should deal with issues head on and not postpone them for later because I am ‘busy’ etc….

    3)I wouldn’t really know what I would like to change so I ‘d be more so inclined to understand things that chip is talking about on a deeper level. The concept of emotional intelligence really struck a chord with me even though I’ve only really come in to contact with it after reading this blog post. I think by proxy I would end up changing many things just by actually understanding what he is describing and the concepts he would go through.

    To say I know what I would like to change would be a lie since I think that would all change when I meet him since the goal posts would shift. If I could build some thing it would really be a greater understanding (similar to the change I guess) of emotional intelligence and how I can practically apply it on my self and others. For example the points mentioned about gratitude earlier seemed like actual actionable points and not just some roundabout advice about how you should practice gratitude. I would love to be able to take what I spoke to chip about and help make other people lives better as a result of it.

    That’s all folks!

    1. Perhaps one of my favorite quotes from George Bernard Shaw is what you were trying to express. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

      1. I cannot agree with that quote more. Another way to say it is that a fool left to continue in his folly will become wise.

  3. As a former Sociology/Psychology teacher, I have a very warm place in my heart for Maslow and his hierarchy. I have always thought that it was a great way to break down many aspects of life to evaluate and even predict happiness. To see Chip Conley use it as the basis for running his business is fantastic.

    I wish more CEO’s considered the baseline emotional security of their employees when making decisions. The world would be a happier, more productive place. Thanks for sharing this story!

    PS: I’ve lost 13 pounds and 1.5% body fat on the diet in under 2 weeks. SWEET!

    1. I believe the MOST NEGLECTED FACT IN BUSINESS is that we’re all human. So, why not use an iconic theory on human motivation (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) to run your company? If you’re relying on trucks to ship your product, you better have an operating manual for your truck. Same goes for being a leader of an organization full of humans. Thanks!

      1. agree- with you chip. And people are wired so differently. Im a very senior executive at a startup and I manage more than half the people in the company- all w varying skill sets and emotions and ways of being! I try to treat the all differently and as they need to be guided! I’m often praised for my content but I know I come off completely wrong at times! I’m working every day on the eq piece and I agree, starting w meditation and practicing mindfulness is a wonderful way to have your brain be ready to lead and emotionally prepared. I can’t wait to learn more from you! 🙂

    2. 1) My favorite philosophical comment to people is “Happiness is a choice.” All day, I’m around people who are just negative about everything and when they start complaining (whining) to me, I tell them “happiness is a choice.” I can’t give credit to who may have said it first because I don’t remember…but it’s a great philosphy!


      I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I have had an excellent career by most people’s standards; but there is still something missing. I want to have more freedom that I currently do; I want to be in charge more; etc. 2012 is a year of focus for me – and this is one of the big things I’m focusing on.

      3) My goal for a day with Chip would be to get is his head as much as possible. I’d like to learn what has worked, and what hasn’t. You are who you hang around with-and Chip would be an excellent person to spend some time with.

      1. Dave

        Reading through all these interesting posts, I wanted to say I hear where you are. When you are living a dream to most people’s standards it can be hard to walk away or even share with others that it isn’t enough. Hard even to work out exactly what is not enough when we are so blessed in so many ways.

        It is always encouraging to hear of others feeling similarly.

        Thank you for sharing!


        ps My post is below – I chose the same quote.

  4. 1) “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    2) DESPAIR = SUFFERING – MEANING I’m putting a new meaning to a 15 year addiction that is giving me a true purpose

    3) I would like to quickly build a community of athletes, business owners, and champions that want to live a fulfilled life on all levels and have the privelege to coach them as a group.

  5. Where do we submit replies for Chip’s offer-chance to win a trip to San Francisco and a two night stay at Hotel Vitale?


  6. 1. Happiness is not something you postpone for the future, it is something you design for the present.

    2. Happiness is wanting what you have/having what you want.

    Really taking the time to focus on my life and the things in it will help me with this equation rather than always looking to add things.

    3. I have a plan to start my own company and I think this day with Chip would be very helpful and inspirational for helping me achieve that.

  7. 1. “Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.” ~ Nikola Tesla

    This quote reminds me that no matter how hard I strive to succeed & improve, I can’t forget to accept & use my failures as a guide. Without combining both the good & bad experiences & traits- I would not (& could not) be the person I am now.

    2. ANXIETY = Uncertainty + Powerlessness

    By applying the simple four column idea, I clearly see my anxiety (about the time it’s taking to build my muse) is really just a mental negotiation where, because of past failures & fear of the unknown, I seem to be focused on the worst possible outcomes of my decisions rather than the best possible outcome or even the most likely outcome.

    3. Meeting with Chip gives me an opportunity to talk one-on-one with someone who can show me how to effectively take the first steps to improve my tendency to use a “logic only” approach to my decisions when, in reality, emotions (albeit hidden/repressed ones) are clearly impacting them.

  8. 1. You can preach a better sermon by who you are then what you say. – Robin Sharma

    2. Happiness = Wanting what you have / Having what you want

    I used to get gratitude but until I actually started practicing it regularly did it show up in other areas of my life. This equation makes it much easier for me to implement and stick with my habit of journaling about what I’m grateful for. I used to come up with many things I was grateful for like “having a car that takes me from point A to point B” or “closing a deal” and so on.

    I’ve been gaining greater benefit after getting even more basic but also deeper like “my hands that allow me to create words, music, food, express affection and love” or “my organs that process and function so that I can assimilate nutrients, use it for energy and productivity throughout my day and repair my muscles after hard workouts.”

    I’ve gotten so much more connected with my experience of the present moment that so many other emotional matters seem smaller.

    3. I am already on a entrepreneurial journey that revolves around this holistic approach to life and business. Everything is connected and this is the new shift in the business paradigm that I am truly aligned with.

    I want to build my real estate business with solid relationships and principles that reflect this type of self-knowledge and awareness. As well I am working on a web series called The Holistic Entrepreneur where I am making videos, blogs and lessons so that as I learn, expand and live by these principles I can share them with more entrepreneurs with the same mindset.

  9. 1)”Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream. You gotta protect it. When people can’t do something themselves, they’re gonna tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period” Will Smith – The pursuit of happiness film


    3)How to change my present activities to follow my dreams that I want for me, my family and our world.

  10. My favorite quote would have to be “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Dr. Wayne Dyer. This quote transcends in to many areas of my life. I find it extremely helpful when hitting on your first equation, despair=suffering-meaning. Curiosity=wonder+awe is the equation that will affect my life the most. At this point in my journey getting out of my comfort zone and learning from other cultures and personalities is a huge goal. This would allow me to take my experiences and look at them through a different lens. After spending a day with Chip I would like to build a vision that helps people through their journey by enhancing their health. I want to create an experience for people that will change the way they look at things by enhancing the mind, body, and spirit. Thank you guys for all the inspiration.

  11. 1. “No bees, no honey; no work, no money.” W.P. Proverb

    2. Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness

    Uncertainty, in many cases, just is uncertain, so we won’t discuss that now.

    I’m a highly passionate, happy person that makes things happen, but I’m a worrier. The above equation is heaven sent. Using it shows me – how much power I really do have. Thanks. I have a zest for life that is infectious. Many times people, even strangers come up to me and say “you have such an incredible energy about you.” I want to make sure I am not overshadowing the great with worry. I plan to use this equation regularly as I find it freeing and helps unleash creativity by putting anxiety at ease.

    3. I want to learn how to be a great CEO! Specifically the tools to be emotionally effective when dealing with under performers you can’t fire or outsource. I’m a highly emotional human being- that’s in touch and empathetic, but I’d like to channel that emotion and learn to react more effectively.

    People fascinate me; I think I’d learn a great deal.

  12. 1. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” To me, this means whatever you want to go after in life…do it. Damn the torpedoes and do it.

    2. Wow! So many gems in Chip’s message! In the equation: CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE. I never thought about curiosity as something you have to work at, “It’s one that takes a certain amount of reflection and a willingness to admit what you don’t know.” Knowing that now, I can choose to be more curious. Choose to find more inspiration in life to push myself and those around me to higher levels. That inspiration that can change my life, is what I seek. Always improve and always dig deeper in life. I am making my list now in one of my curious places, under a large oak tree in the middle of a large field. Action!

    3. I believe we are most like the people we surround ourselves with, so Chip is a great person I would love to spend time with if just for a day. After spending a day with Chip I would like continue practicing the little day to day actions he practices. The little daily habits creates who we are so by replacing the ones I don’t like with some I learn from Chip I will essentially change myself. Which is not only good for me, but good for those around me. By becoming a better person I am helping everyone around me: friends, family, strangers…everyone. Essentially, changing the world! I look forward to meeting you Chip! Thanks for the article! – Will M.

  13. 1. “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love, and belonging, and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” –Brene Brown

    2. Happiness = wanting what you have/having what you want. Gratitude is often lost on my generation (in their 20’s) because we’ve been raised to believe we’re entitled to all of our blessings. And I’d like to change that. I would apply this equation in my life by connecting with at least 3 people (teachers, friends, relatives etc.) that have been my light and guidance thus far and thank them. I would tell them how the small things they said and did impacted my life in big ways. But the maximum benefit would come from connecting unconditionally – no expectation for anything in return.

    3. I’d like to make a small change in the way young women are socialized. Despite massive progress in education, many women are concentrated in to the most female-traditional jobs, make on average considerably less annual income than men, and hold few senior management positions. Many of the skills that require success in these positions can be learned. I’d like to build a platform where they can learn these skills.

  14. 1. Less is More

    2. Adding the happiness equation to my life and specifically focusing more on the numerator would bring the max benefit. Physically writing the equation somewhere where I see it on a daily basis would benefit me greatly since I’m currently in “pursuit” mode feverishly caught up on the denominator.

    3. I’d like to work on the anxiety emotion and building control over it. I’m a confident individual, who is comfortable meeting new people and having conversations. But when the amount of people in the room approaches a certain threshold, I get anxious. After thinking about the anxiety column worksheet, I realize it may be for many reasons I can’t influence.

    On top of all this, would just be happy to meet someone I can learn from.

  15. 1. A unique quote I believe in by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas is, “We have 8,000 stores, but if I’d graduated high school we may have 16,000.” As an educator, this is a quote I found in one of Dave’s books several years ago. Now, as superintendent, I actually have this quote on my wall. I think it’s important.

    2. I would apply the “HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT” theme for maximum effect. Again, as an educator in a small rural district in northern Michigan has its unique advantages, as well as disadvantages. We are small, so our pay scale for all employees is less than our neighbors (and less than much of the state). We are able to “make some things up” with a calendar with frequent breaks and things like that. Since I’ve been the superintendent here, we have done some things to improve the conditions and focus on marketing the great things we are doing as a school. We believe in our employees because they are the ones who believe in the kids. And it’s all about kids.

    3. After a day with Chip in San Francisco, I would like to understand that it’s all right to try different things in education to build a school district. I would also like to gain some insight into how to step outside the box and build the new education system. I have some ideas, but would like to flesh them out. Moreover, I believe that education sets on the threshold of becoming the next “Big 3” or even the next Kodak if we don’t figure out WHAT PEOPLE (staff, students, families, community, etc.) REALLY WANT!

  16. 1) This is a quote I created, myself. “Consequences teach better than moral concepts. We obey pain” It came to me after I realized that, although I have a propensity to learn from other’s mistakes that sometimes, I have to feel the pain myself in order to learn.

    2) Happiness = wanting what you have / having what you want. I’m currently a federal employee who works in the social sector of government. I enjoy the help I give others, but I often feel unhappy despite the fact I know I’m making a difference in people’s lives. I think if I could appreciate this fact, I could solve this dilemma.

    3) I would like to increase morale at the office. It’s abysmally low. As for building, I have considered volunteering, here locally. I live near the Gulf of Mexico and I love the beach. One day, it would be nice to create a non-profit that helps take care of the beach or the gulf.



  17. 1. “Stay hungry. Stay foolish” – Steve Jobs

    2. The ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS equation is wonderfully applicable. To boil it down, if one can gain any sense of control over the situation or knowledge about the situation – the anxiety can be reduced exponentially. One could use this equation to effectively apply the 80/20 principle to an intangible thing like anxiety. Awesome!

    3. Chip understands that we’re all just people being people. I’m working on an exciting project now that focuses on the fact that humans are still very much stuck with the evolved mental architecture of our ancestors. We’re designed to live in communities of 20-200, not cities of 10 million. I’m studying the various problems we face as humans as a result of our (perhaps dated) mental evolution existing in a modern civilization. Due to his interest in human emotion and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I imagine Chip would have a lot to say on this topic. On the business side, his wisdom on empire-building would definitely help as well.

    1. FYI:

      Steve Jobs compared The Whole Earth Catalog to Internet search engine Google in his June 2005 Stanford University commencement speech. “When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation…. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along. It was idealistic and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.” During the commencement speech, Jobs also quoted the farewell message placed on the back cover of the 1974 edition of the catalog: “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”

      1. I knew the origin story so perhaps I should have credited The Whole Earth Catalog circa 1974 instead of Jobs!

        I’ve watched the commencement speech several times. Always good for inspiration.

  18. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “The mind has to be empty to see clearly” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    The Anxiety equation is one that resonates with me in understanding things I cant control or being anxious about things that are irrelevant when I am in the present. Unpack that bag to realize there is little to fear.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I would like to build a happiness quotient into my daily life.

    1. Love this quote, Alpesh. It reminds me that for many in the world (those who meditate), the best praise you can give them is that they’re “thoughtless…” In other words, thoughts can sometimes get in the way of experience and essence. I’m writing this as I sit on a sandy Hawaii beach ready to catch some waves. Time for me to be thoughtless!

  19. 1. When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him. -Thomas Szas

    2. Anxiety. As someone who loves watching people interact and figuring out how to they tick, I think anxiety is one of the largest motivating forces behind decision-making. Also, as someone who leads people in a few different areas, I believe it falls on the leader’s shoulders to cast a vision, and empower the follower to reduce anxiety. Having a group of people plagued by anxiety they will never be able to produce anything from a place of strength. Anxiety kills creativity and the desire to do something in well.

    3. Right now I’m working a day job as a UI designer/web designer, and working towards launching an app/website that has to do with giving. Being around Chip, and understanding how/why he does what he does would be priceless. You don’t often find leaders (business, personal, or otherwise) who understand emotion and how to inspire those following him or her. It would be an amazing opportunity to take a couple days and be a sponge.

  20. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “Life is about getting it less wrong; not right.” Paul Grobstein, Neurobiologist

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?


    Many people don’t know what they have. Sometimes I forget. It’s easy to forget and to fall out of tune. The thing is, everyone has potential – infinite, unbounded potential. Everyone has a purpose. That purpose is often clouded, but it is there. Everyone has the ability to give freely. Everyone has the ability to be loving and accept love. Everyone has the ability to connect. Everyone has rights – the right to change, to stop, to start, to start over. Everyone has the ability to create and sustain pure bliss, to tune in to the self, to achieve their ideal self, and to create perfect health. I mean, if you think about it, what more could you want? Yes, money is great. Dream jobs are great. But that which we already have, that which is inherent to being human, already gives the potential to create and sustain happiness without chasing pursuits, without supreme attention, without building businesses. We have far more than we realize, if we just expanded our minds and tapped into the right, big picture side of our brains.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    To pursue Ayurvedic medicine studies. To build a yoga business and Ayurveda healing center near a national park, perhaps my old stomping ground: Yosemite. To have the means to travel. To make good money freelancing. To practice and internalize Chip’s emotional equations. To develop stronger emotional intelligence.

  21. Great Post

    1. “We were not placed here to invest in someone else’s idea of what we should be.”

    2. ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS – As an entrepreneur I struggle with the anxiety of a new idea. New ideas or improvements to my current business make me nervous because I’m not sure if I can control the outcomes. I guess I get anxious when I’m not in control of things and have to trust others, hence I only place individual sports like bowling, golf, and chess and I’m currently self employed.

    3. After meeting with Chip, I would hope to have learned how to put that anxiety to rest and to trust others to perform to the best of the abilities and beyond my expectations. I would immediately look to hire some one to help me to grow my business so that I can stop doing everything myself.

  22. 1. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” ~ Albert Einstein

    So simple, yet I see it happening day in and day out. Take responsibility and make the change.


    I see this everyday. I have the privilege of working with some extremely affluent members of the community, and the one thing that I have realized is that money exaggerates who you already are, it does not determine it. You can travel to the ends of the earth, but ultimately, you are still stuck with your own company because everywhere you go, there you are.

    3. I currently own an online Nutrition business and outdoor Fitness Bootcamp company. My dream is to open a retreat for CEO’s, Entrepreneurs and business owners that immerses them in a lifestyle that fosters their creativity, improves their health, teaches them to cook, eat healthy while travelling, workout and connect with other like-minded professionals. I am close to making this a reality, and would love Chip to be along for this awesome ride 🙂

  23. 1. “‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; 21nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” For, in fact, the kingdom of God is within you.” – Jesus, Luke 17:20-21

    2. Despair = Suffering – Meaning – I serve as a pastor in the United Methodist Church and am in the business of helping people find meaning and purpose, particularly in the tragedies of their lives.

    3. I would like to explore teaching about emotional equations in the context of a spiritual community.

  24. Thanks! I’m looking forward to reading Emotional Equations! Love the concept of applying logical construction to life circumstances… this book is right up my alley.

    For my entry:

    1. “In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true.” ~ John Lilly

    2. CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE. I have always fancied myself a curious man, but I have admittedly thought little about it. I see the conscious application of this formula being a boon for problem solving and community service. To approach any given circumstance combining wonder and awe, I believe, can have tremendous practical application in imagining possible outcomes and constructive scenarios. I am often in wonder, and occasionally in awe; to harness these two at once will cultivate an open mind (to borrow a phrase from Michael Gelb).

    3. I have chosen to live a life focused on the pursuit and propagation of joy. I have yet to find a manner in which I can consistently apply the “propagation” aspect in a workplace setting. With Chip’s employees as happy as Tim says they are, I want to know how I can implement this in my own surroundings.

  25. 1) I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~ E.B. White

    2) CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE. I typically wonder about things, but have lost my sense of awe. With 7B people on the planet, human feats don’t see surprising and global connections have brought even the most remote brilliance in our living rooms on a daily basis. So I will look for ways to remind myself that something is truly awe-some rather than just shrug my shoulders and say “that’s cool”. It’s not just search that makes us curious, but the impact on us of what we find.

    3) I’d use my time with Chip to help find focus to change myself and serve others. My energy, time and passions span multiple areas and I often move onto something new before having the deep impact on others that I could have if I pushed a little further. I’d like to explore the equations for Purpose, Perseverance and Action as a means to strengthen my community in the areas of health and wellness. Thank you for your time.

  26. 1. What matters most is how well you walk through the fire. Charles Bukowski

    2. The happiness equation stands out in my mind. It reminds me to appreciate that I have so much (including latent, unused and unexplored talent) and that I must work to streamline my life to eliminate that which I have that I do not want.

    3. I would like to change my relationship with fear. Fear holds me hostage in many ways. I would like to disarm it, embrace it and learn from it.

  27. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.” – Jesse Jackson

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for

    maximum benefit?


    Ishita Gupta at has taught me a lot about fear. It is paralyzing, detrimental, and avoidable. Your equation on Anxiety directly relates to fear, something I have been slowly working to overcome. I still have a lot of fear in asking for what I love so that I can be passionate in my works.

    Reducing the uncertainty and powerlessness of Anxiety, what many of my college friends fear, will not only increase my confidence. Saving others, showing people that they can be in control — that’s what I want for the world.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I want to create an audio-blog series on preparing college students mentally for how to enter their new world after college.

  28. 1. Every stroke of my brush is the overflow of my inmost heart. – Sengai

    2. On a personal level, continue to reduce my anxiety by embracing my powerfulness, which reduces the factor of powerlessness to a fractional level or to zero. Cultivating powerfulness may also contribute to a feeling of clarity. Accepting that one is capable of helping oneself, can lead to visioning of what can be/do or the possibilities one may wish to explore. This has really helped me recently make progress with personal and professional goals.

    Sharing this equation can also help others in my life. I can see my partner and clients benefit from reflecting on this equation.

    3. Learn the language of emotional equations as a start. Explore the equations to see how “my baggage is organized” and how I may want to rearrange things.

    My gut says this will be helpful to integrate into the work I do in a large multi-national in the fields of coaching, talent management, and development of leaders and high potentials.

  29. 1. Carpe Diem!

    2. ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS We spend a lot of time worrying about things that we don´t even know if are going to happen… and if they are going to happen and we can´t avoid it, what´s the point on worrying about it?

    To obtain maximum benefit from this equation you just have to deeply understand it and then take out ANXIETY from your LIFE equation, and then the outcome will be more HAPPINESS.

    3. I can´t tell you that I would change or built something after a day with Chip. What I can tell you is that for sure it will be a wonderful experience and a privilege. I have no doubt that I will learn a lot from him (and perhaps he will learn something from me hehe). The dots will connect later.

  30. 1. Bear and Forebear


    We seem consumed with chasing external drivers of happiness…acceptance, approval, or a myriad of other nouns that never touch the crux of the matter. It lies within us, and our choices.

    I am a firefighter/medic, and a business owner. It is the perfect balance. My day job reminds me of where I could be in the blink of an eye…not always a pleasant prospect. And my business allows me the pleasure of empowering and educating others who work for me.

    It seems that waking up every day (that act in itself is a gift) grateful, drives internal happiness toward infinity. Much more preferable to a fraction that leaves one less than whole!

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I would like to learn more on minimizing the distractions within our organization and my people’s lives, so that they find more happiness and purpose, and are better able to share that with each of their spheres of influence. If I am a better leader, both in the Fire Service and in our company, they will be stronger themselves and as acolytes to their worlds.

  31. 1. Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements. – Napoleon Hill


    At 29 years old I have had my share of anxiety. I battled anxiety not as a clinical problem but as a result of the powerlessness I felt as a former company that I founded at 25 years old expanding too quickly to 10 figure revenues and then crashed shortly thereafter into BK. As I look back at the success and failure of that venture today I see that the anxiety (uncertainty x powerlessness) I experienced was keeping me from taking bold action to change the ultimate outcome. Being able to deconstruct the emotion of anxiety into a formula to clearly define “what I can influence” and what is clearly out of my control will allow me to immediately begin crafting better actions through even tough and uncertain times to achieve the ultimate blessings I seek for myself / my family.

    3. My deepest desire has been to be a great leader to my future employees and family. The impact on the lives of the 50+ employees I had to let go (including my parents) at the collapse of my company in 2009 was impacted greatly by my inability to work through the anxiety to lead us out of troubled waters to success. I have launched a new venture that is gaining traction and will far surpass the “success” of my previous venture. I owe it to my employees now and those that come on board in the coming months/years to be the best leader I can be to ensure for them happy and secure employment. I seek to build an organization that fosters a sense of community and pride.

  32. 1) …we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope… (Romans 5:3-4)

    2) I am full of wonder, but my curiosity is lagging at some points. So if I just focus on awe the curiosity will abound. Awe is more easily tapped into when something is new. The first time you felt a plane take off, your first kiss, watching oxygen create the human sunrise on the skin of a new born child as she takes her first breath. I will start signing up for new things to simply get awed. Awe is like wine, you can feel after the glass is gone but only for so long, and therefore, it is not just about doing something new but then harnessing that awe into other areas of your life. As in the book “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind” I will push myself not forward always, but back into the beginner, into the awe.

    3) A day with Chip would be a day of examining how to become two things that Chip excels at; a better leader, and bringing amazement into the physical world to a tech dominated consumer mindset. I am 28 and recently transitioned away from a job at a fortune 500 company to become the COO of web start-up, I desperately want to lead a team of people to a better them, not just a better bottom line.

  33. 1) “…and in the process, she found joy.” Julia Powell, the Julie/Julia project

    2) Curiosity. The real world has gotten the best of me, my inner genie (creativity) retreating and the realistics of life setting in. The land has transformed itself, with curiosity disappearing and practicality reigning. To be able to reinvite that genie back into my space would also usher in the return of a fulfilling and abundant life. Creativity is the secret ingredient that is often able to make sense out of our curiosities; it is that genie that grants us our wishes, allowing us to renew a desolate space and making it spring back to life again. Knowing the curiosity equation allows me to seek out places where the genie resides; maybe it is just merely looking around me or exploring my own mind in reflection. The equation challenges me to look at life with wonder and awe again.

    3) Being able to stay at Hotel Vitale would refresh my mind and allow my creative juices to start flowing once more. Chip clearly practices what he preaches, which has allowed his creations to flourish and prosper. I feel like if I could spend a day with Chip and surround myself with such positive and profound energy; I could feed off of that. That kind of energy, stemming from appeased curiosities and infectious creativity, is what I want to witness and take back with me to my home and people I love. It is a viral positivity that would be wonderful to be around! Genie, if you’re hearing me, I want this, I’m curious about it, and even if I don’t get this trip, I know I already have it in me. The experience is icing on the cake.

  34. 1. Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.

    Charles Spurgeon


    I think the problem identified in the quote is defined by the equation. So often, people (including yours truly) fall short of their potential because of the anxiety caused by either uncertainty or their feeling of powerlessness in solving it. Though not often spoken, this limiting behavior is the difference between significant success and boring mediocrity.

    3. Chip appears to have done a ton of research on this anxiety issue, and I suspect has silently suffered with it over his tremendously successful career. I’m intrigued about how he could help me solve these issues for both myself and my team. If he could help me with strategizes on neutralizing (not eliminating) anxiety, I think both me and my company could soar to new heights.

    Thanks for the consideration!


  35. Having been a math person before I turning into a feelings-and-needs person, I’m absolutely thrilled seeing this stuff presented as equations! I’m actually quite stunned 😀

    1. There’s many quotes I like, but this one speaks to my Innermost Self: “When once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” —Leonardo Da Vinci

    This for me means that now that I’ve seen how whole I can feel, there’s no way I ever want to go back. I’ve tasted the freedom of being my true self, which to me is tasting flight 🙂

    2. Curiosity has always been “the” thing for me, so that would be the obvious one to pick. But maybe I feel like that I already have that, since it’s the anxiety one that I find I’m going back to. That’s something new to me. Anxiety = uncertainty * powerlessness. It’s quite grim, but I think I’m in love with it 😀

    I often write when I feel anxious, to get to the root of my feelings. I think next time I’m going to try the Anxiety Balance Sheet. I’d better prepare it beforehand, as I don’t see myself being interested in drawing grids and stuff when my anxiety hits!

    3. I’m always looking for mentors. Most of my mentors are authors who have no idea I even exist (like you, Tim, have been since me finding your 4HWW). It would be amazing to actually get to know one of them! I have absolutely no idea what exactly I would change or build after that. I think I would do as I always do, go there with an open curious mind, and see what comes out 🙂

  36. 1) “I believe that you can reach the point where there is no longer any difference between developing the habit of pretending to believe and developing the habit of believing.” -Umberto Eco

    2) Anxiety equation. All of the above equations resonate with me. I am trying to improve the relationships in my life – all of them – to the greatest degree possible. My family circumstances are such that a lot of decisions are outside of me. Working with this and accepting it is helping me be quiet my stress and take care of myself and the things that I can control. On the professional side of things I have just moved into a position in the company that I work for that is a touchstone for other employees and the people we represent in the market. My role can make them feel heard, understood and assisted on a daily basis.

    3) If I can spend a day with Chip I would like to learn more about Buddhist practice – in work and daily life – and Chip’s own personal tips for working toward a rewarding experience in personal and professional life.

  37. 1) This is a quote I created, myself. “Consequences teach better than moral concepts. We obey pain” It came to me after I realized that, although I have a propensity to learn from other’s mistakes that sometimes, I have to feel the pain myself in order to learn.

    2) Happiness = wanting what you have / having what you want. I’m currently a federal employee who works in the social sector of government. I enjoy the help I give others, but I often feel unhappy despite the fact I know I’m making a difference in people’s lives. I think if I could appreciate this fact, I could solve this dilemma.

    3) I would like to increase morale at the office. It’s abysmally low. As for building, I have considered volunteering, here locally. I live near the Gulf of Mexico and I love the beach. One day, it would be nice to create a non-profit that helps take care of the beach or the gulf.

  38. Thanks for so many great entries already. Looks like that Anxiety equation is resonating with people. I guess it’s a sign of our times that most people are commenting on that one rather than the Happiness equation. In any case, look forward to more entries and to meeting one of you out here in San Francisco.

    Just remember, becoming emotionally fluent is smart as your emotions are one of the few things you carry with you your whole life.

  39. 1. “If your not growing, you’re dying.”

    2. HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT. Over the last 4 months I’ve become aware of gratitude. Before I had seen it/heard it, but was not mindful of its ability to affect, create and defeat negative emotions. This equation is going to solidify it in my mind, and most importantly the fact that it is a division equation. Truly understanding the mathematical relationship between the numerator and denominator is the POWER. Being type-A, it’s very easy to find too many faults to change (or wants) but the brilliance of this equation is that my wants are usually a means to an end of happiness. Therefore The only way to actually ensure happiness is to at least double my efforts in the numerator and the wants will take care of themselves.

    3. I want to learn curiosity x happiness. Change is infinitely accelerated with the help of someone who has done it. They can see the next steps that are sometimes the hardest to take. With Chip I would want to solidify and grow my gratitude “muscles” as well as understand how he creates the conditions for daily curiosity. I’m learning that running a company and helping people from a place of gratitude is the most powerful mindset to operate from. Investing in me, I’ve learned is the fastest way I can help others, and using this equation I can forever power my ability to grow personally and then change the lives of people with digestive problems who are not getting their needs meet by current medical practices.


  40. 1. “To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” -e.e. cummings


    I consistently produce a variety of story ideas (I’m a writer) and business concepts, but often find myself hitting a wall and leaning back on old routines that I’ve already deemed unproductive. Nine times out of ten, this is due to anxiety once I get to the delivery stage of the process. The Anxiety equation, and the related Anxiety Balance Sheet, will help me focus on what I can control and eliminate lingering feelings of powerlessness that hold back a lot of my projects. This would enable me to increase my production and better craft my life to the goals I’ve already determined, but not yet followed through on.

    3. With Chip’s help, I would like to establish a new mental approach to recognizing the individual emotions that pop up in the creation process. This would provide a great foundation for moving forward in my writing career, which I would like to gear up into a professional environment. By recognizing the individual emotions holding me back, I can change my approach of dealing with criticisms (my own and others) and better strategize my career path.

  41. 1. “God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please–you can never have both.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

    2. The anxiety equation is both powerful and practical. I suffer from anxiety and it has always paralyzed me to the point of inaction. I can follow the method of creating the four columns and pinpointing the positives and negatives. With the anxiety mapped in this way, it would likely allow me to take action.

    3. I would like to get Chip’s perspective on courage. Sometimes, I think the only thing standing in my way is a lack of courage to follow through on my dreams.

  42. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “Live with purity of thought and purpose.”

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    Anxiety = uncertainty x powerlessness

    My 4 year old daughter Katie has Cystic Fibrosis. I am constantly anxious that Katie’s health will fail and she will die before a cure is found. Currently, Katie’s health is good, but that could change at any time. A cure does not currently exist. So, I fundraise to help researchers find a cure or effective control so that Katie will be able to live a long, healthy, stable life.

    I feel uncertainly that Katie’s health will remain strong until a cure is found. And, I feel powerlessness to help affect positive change in the search for a cure. My fundraising dollars feel like a drop in the bucket when I look at the total $ raised to help fund research.

    I’m going to use Chip’s Anxiety Balance Sheet to help me narrow my uncertainty and to identify potential areas of powerlessness that I can turn into areas of focus that I might be able to pursue.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I’d like to:

    a) identify the ways that I could best influence the search for a cure (based on my personal strengths); and then

    b) build a plan to influence the search for a cure based on the ways identified above;

  43. 1. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. – Eleonor Roussevelt.


    I just applied the exercise from the anxiety equation. It worked wonders (thank you Chip!!!). For a number or reasons I felt anxious about all the success and joy I am recently experiencing, sort of “God is this for real?”

    After this exercise I realized that regardless of what I can control or know; everything is “figurable” and that the most important thing is to focus on what makes me happy; which comes from the satisfaction I get when I am in tune with my values. The most wonderful benefit I see is to ask myself “what can I do to let God flow through me” instead of brewing an anxiety attack.

    3. Build our network marketing business in Latin America. Prolife ( is a Peruvian company dedicated to distribute natural products and allow their executives to attain financial freedom following a 2-4 year plan (working 7-10 hours per week). Being with Chip in SF will help me lead my team to expand and ROCK OUT our business.

  44. While serving in the Marine Corps from ’99-’04, I picked up many powerful quotes. But because of it’s usefulness, my all time favorite is:

    “Retreat Hell! We’re just attacking in another direction.”

    When you feel surrounded and obstacles seem insurmountable, use your head to get yourself in a better position… always be in the offensive mindset.


    As an entrepreneur it’s easy to get focused on the demoninator. After all, every entrepreneur is looking to the future of what (s)he envisions their company to be. Sometimes I feel this is really unhealthy. It causes you to feel older than you are because you’re constantly putting your mind into the future. You feel you’re running out of time, when in reality you still have a lot of life to live. Focusing on the numerator (i.e. – filling the void), is a theme this very blog has discussed many times over. Being a math type though, learning of this equation is my ‘A-ha’ moment.

    Not saying I’m some socially inept weirdo, but I know there are subconscious emotions that prevent me from acting on improving my social / business network. I’d like to learn how to measure emotional intelligence, identify it’s weaknesses, and how to improve upon them to build a stronger network.

    Thanks for a really great post and an introduction to Chip’s work.

  45. Ridiculously fantastic read… Just what I needed.I have a BA in psychology, though I went on to get my MBA and currently work in the telecommunications sector, so I really appreciated this in-depth fusion of my two passions. Emotions are incredibly important in the work atmosphere and it’s scary how many bosses, managers, etc. don’t realize that. Thanks Tim and Chip!

    1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    The final test of a gentleman: his respect for those who can be of no possible value to him.

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?


    Poweful… I am currently remodeling an apartment, which has been incredibly stressful and packed full of suffering, but I know that if I don’t take away as much meaning as possible and go on to cherish it, my negative emtions will have been for naught.

    I feel as though suffering + meaning leads to a truly empathic person, who can understand those around them, including their employees, leading to a more pleasant existance and work atmosphere.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I’d like to change HAVING WHAT YOU WANT. I need to work on getting that denominator closer to 0. I was not raised in a religious household, but rather by an atheist father and an agnostic mother, but I feel as though meditating upon this prinicipal will make me a better person and lead to a more fulfilled life. It’s hard when your surrounded by people who are consumed with their desire for material goods… I’d like to learn how to separate myself.

  46. 1) “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.” Really though, what better time than now? 🙂

    2) Anxiety = Uncertainty + Powerlessness. This formula punched me in the face. These mornings, I’m often rudely awakened by Anxiety. Even though I’ve accomplished some of my biggest goals thus far, I’ve seemed to hit a threshold that I have yet to overcome. Just a year ago, I used to wake up feeling like a champ–on top of my game. Now, uncertainty in certain aspects of my life has crept in, producing a deep feeling of powerlessness. Needless to say, I’ll be dissecting Chip’s method to unpack my emotion of Anxiety.

    3) A day with Chip would be phenomenal. Chip’s experience of understanding human beings/emotions is light-years ahead of conventional CEO’ism and would be far superior than 20 years of trial and error. Learning just a smidgen of his knowledge would provide the greatest foundation in my passion for creating value and solutions. After a day with Chip, I would love to build a conglomerate of [progressive] start-ups all solving fundamental needs. I would also hope to take my learning’s and share them with as many hearing ears as possible.

  47. 1. It’s more of a poem than a quote.

    “It doesn’t interest me

    what you do for a living.

    I want to know

    what you ache for

    and if you dare to dream

    of meeting your heart’s longing.

    It doesn’t interest me

    how old you are.

    I want to know 

    if you will risk 

    looking like a fool

    for love

    for your dream

    for the adventure of being alive.

    It doesn’t interest me

    what planets are 

    squaring your moon…

    I want to know

    if you have touched

    the centre of your own sorrow

    if you have been opened

    by life’s betrayals

    or have become shrivelled and closed

    from fear of further pain.

    I want to know

    if you can sit with pain

    mine or your own

    without moving to hide it

    or fade it

    or fix it.

    I want to know

    if you can be with joy

    mine or your own

    if you can dance with wildness

    and let the ecstasy fill you 

    to the tips of your fingers and toes

    without cautioning us

    to be careful

    to be realistic

    to remember the limitations

    of being human.

    It doesn’t interest me

    if the story you are telling me

    is true.

    I want to know if you can

    disappoint another

    to be true to yourself.

    If you can bear

    the accusation of betrayal

    and not betray your own soul.

    If you can be faithless

    and therefore trustworthy.

    I want to know if you can see Beauty

    even when it is not pretty

    every day.

    And if you can source your own life

    from its presence.

    I want to know

    if you can live with failure

    yours and mine

    and still stand at the edge of the lake

    and shout to the silver of the full moon,


    It doesn’t interest me

    to know where you live

    or how much money you have.

    I want to know if you can get up

    after the night of grief and despair

    weary and bruised to the bone

    and do what needs to be done

    to feed the children.

    It doesn’t interest me

    who you know

    or how you came to be here.

    I want to know if you will stand

    in the centre of the fire

    with me

    and not shrink back.

    It doesn’t interest me

    where or what or with whom

    you have studied.

    I want to know 

    what sustains you

    from the inside

    when all else falls away.

    I want to know

    if you can be alone 

    with yourself

    and if you truly like

    the company you keep

    in the empty moments.”

    -Oriah Mountain Dreamer

    2. The Curiosity = wonder + awe equation is the most interesting to me, as the idea that we could create inspiration rather than just waiting on it to strike is interesting to me. As entrepreneurs sometimes we get bogged down in the details and forget that it’s our job to be curious. Finding ways to access that port during times of low energy or low inspiration would be invaluable to me. 

    3. My husband and I are entrepreneurs who currently own a restaurant and a consulting business. We have many ideas for future ventures , which will happen regardless of meeting with Chip, but we find consistently high customer service to be one of the hardest things to deliver. Also, we are very inspired by EQ vs. IQ and we are always trying to expand our knowledge base on becoming more E.Q.  for our teams to be successful. 

  48. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” – Albert Einstein

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?


    Massively increase gratitude, which will ensure maintaining a constant happiness while at the same providing space for more aggressive pursuits. A hyper-focus on gratitude (i.e. journaling daily, sharing thanks with people, public speaking about generosity) will allow me to achieve what I desire without sacrificing happiness during my pursuit. In essence, maximising gratitude would be a direct method to helping me to ‘enjoy the journey’.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I’d like to change people’s perspective from local to systemic so that they relieve themselves from the burdens of strictly cause and effect thinking, allowing them to find greater individual success and to generate social harmony. I’d like to do this through the delivery of systemic stories, metaphors and experiential exercises via public speaking and writing to business, charities and private audiences.

  49. 1. “It is easier to act yourself into a better way of feeling than to feel yourself into a better way of action.” – O.H. Mowrer

    2. Curiosity is my favourite emotion, and it’s difficult to see where it comes from. I have this “need to know” that’s there sometimes, and not there other times. I agree with Chris, that there are places that for some reason, create barriers to creativity. For me, the office is sometimes that, and sometimes not. My suspicion is that when I need to work with people to do something creative, the office is where I need to be. And when I need to work alone to be creative, the office gets in the way. I’ve never explored exotic locations for the purpose of being creative. But if awe and wonder are key ingredients, then I should absolutely look for inspiriational places to create ideas.

    3. I want to create “places condusive to human flourishing”. It’s one of the reasons I want to start lots of companies. Because I think employers have really dropped the ball on creating workplaces that people want to be at. Everyone should love where they work. (Not more than their family, or friends, or leisure time, but still love it) Why can’t everyone who goes to work know that they are creating value, and making the world a better place? Whether EQ or Maslow’s Heirachy, I want to use every tool available to me to achieve this.

  50. 1. Of all the quotes I have ever read, only one seems to ground me. And, it’s not even a quote. Rudyard Kipling’s “If”

    2. Without a shadow of a doubt, the equation that I could see the most benefit from is Happiness=Having What You Want/Wanting What You Have. That “hedonic treadmill” is getting tiring.

    3. I’d like to take the experience and priniciples and apply them to my life and my business. I would like to help make the people around me happy too!

  51. 1. One of my favorites that came to mind when reading this post was “Men are governed only by serving them; the rule is without exception.”—V. Cousin. It appears that Mr. Conley has definitely figured this one out.

    2. Despair = Suffering – Meaning. This plays on the widely held belief that all change is painful but it takes it a step further. It reminds us of the lessons that can be learned from the struggles in our lives. The feeling of despair can be eased when paired with the knowledge that can be pulled from this event and can also begin the path towards success.

    3. I believe leaders like Chip who truly understand the human factors that are found in our businesses radiate when in their setting. I would love to observe and interact with him and take that back into my own business.

  52. 1. What gets measured gets managed (Peter Drucker) — applies to both business and aspects of life, when you think about it.

    2. ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS; I think my big takeaway from this equation is to not dwell on items that it’s impossible for me to know, and impossible for me to act on. Focus instead solely on what I can learn and what I can change/act on; and the rest will play out as it will.

    3. I would like to build a thriving community of first-time entrepreneurs after a day with Chip. Helping folks overcome the resistance, the uncertainty, the powerlessness. Learning about funding ventures even if you’re tight on cash. And how to take that big, but rewarding, leap.

  53. 1. Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head.


    As a budding screenwriter, any level of anxiety I have for my future comes from this equation, and it was really neat to read it summarized in such a simplistic form.

    The nature of my work will always be uncertain until I start to build some traction (or in other words, empower myself). The only way to do that is to do things that will put me closer to a position to make something happen. First, have a script in hand ready to go, next, make the industry work for me, whether it be through meeting the right contacts, entering contests to have my stuff read, there is no one equation to success so it’s about trying things until I find something that works.

    3. What would I want to build or change? I think I take this topic too seriously. Life in general. I would want to change in myself, the ability to let go. I’ve accomplished a lot at 25, for my peer group, but at times I think about the sacrifices I’ve made to have the determination I’ve had. It will pay off when I succeed, but I think what I’ve also lost is some of that ability to just “let go”. I’m always “on.” Chip sounds like a guy, who, through his years of experience I think would recognize that, and I would just love to have dinner with him and hey, let’s film it and show the world a conversation with Chip from a readers perspective.

  54. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary – Cecil beaton

    2. Despair = suffering – meaning

    For most people, there are inevitably events that can cause sadness or depression, for example. the grief of losing a loved one, the serious illness of a close family member, the loss of a relationship or losing a job. The sadness that those experiences generate can be debilitating, not only when those events occur, but also when those experiences are recalled, (as painful experiences so often can be), years later. Finding meaning in the suffering that accompanies despair can be a great way to combat that destructive effect of suffering. I almost had a nervous breakdown while working for a large company, being pushed to do work that I didn’t want to do and dealing with a destructive relationship. It was a horrible experience, but looking back and identifying how beneficial those experiences have been in my life makes me appreciate what I have in my life now. I’ve also learnt so much more from those periods, becoming a far more confident person, and able to avoid or deal with similar experiences that I might encounter in the future.

    3. I would like to explore ways in which I can create an alternative income stream and build my muse.

  55. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “In the province of the mind, what is believed to be true is true, or becomes true within certain limits to be learned by experience and experiment. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the province of the mind. There are no limits.” – John C. Lilly


    Keeping the mind supple, removing dogmatism and using the word “Maybe..” more to keep curiosity and creativity flowing

    3. By trade and curiosity I am interested in user interfaces and software development. I’d like to see if there are any software development opportunities and needs within his network that my team and I can help out with.

  56. Tim, I think you could also add LinkedIn share button as much of your posts are business related (as is LinkedIn). Hope this helps =]

  57. 1. “Let the unseen days be. Today is more than enough.” Tolkien

    2. Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness.

    Worry and anxiety about future and past events, about what others think of me are things with which I struggle. Instead of using my limited resource of attention to others, anxiety needlessly ensnares my focus inward. These worries take me away from the present and distract me from all the wonderful things that I have in my life. Conley’s Anxiety Balance Sheet is a powerful exercise with concrete steps to help name your fear and master your emotion.

    3. I’d love to spend a day with Mr. Conley to help change my perspective on people’s needs and emotions, to help me build better relationships and to share his wisdom with others.

    Thanks for the great post and article!

  58. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    The equations resonated deeply with me but especially CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE. I have been building a philosophy of youth athletic competition around fascination and wonder instead of fear and aggression. The central point is that competitive greatness is about elimination of fear. The kids I am focused on are high school athletes. When they square up with the kid across from them they are typically looking to dominate and crush that kid mentally and physically. They are impatient, reactive, and over anxious when they should be relaxed and playful. Playful does not imply a loss of intensity but an increase in intensity as attention turns inward to what is possible. What are my limits? Breakthrough performances have that dimension of fascination. Trash talking and TD dance celebrations can’t happen there. There’s infinitely more interesting stuff going on.

    Adding curiosity to the mix and specifically ‘curious habitats’ expands the idea space and builds a bridge to expand and complete the philosophy.

    That philosophy is one part of a much bigger idea. My software company works with at-risk kids through our foundation. The mission is to give kids with few options unlimited options. After a day with Chip we will generate ideas, energy, and understanding that will directly impact thousands of lives.

  59. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “You have blessed me with many gifts, God, but I know it is my task to realize them. May I never underestimate my potential, may I never lose hope. May I find the strength to strive for better, the courage to be different, the energy to give all that I have to offer. Amen.”

    This prayer has helped me redirect my mission not only for myself, but also enabled me to inspire my clients and help them realize the power of their decisions, that they aren’t just victims to how or what their body looks like (I’m a Personal Trainer). Discover the inspiration of strength, rather than the fear of all the health problems life can have, and discover what this strength can do for you in any situation.

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    It’s funny that the author of the post is proud about an equation that he has about despair – no one wants to feel it yet he naturally gravitated towards it. I feel the one equation that I naturally gravitated towards (in my own life) was always curiosity. However, in terms of emotional equations, I’m probably weakest when it comes to the Anxiety Equation. I always seem like I need to plan into the future, trying to control every variable that I can at my fingertips. But I can’t control everything, namely people and how they react, and quite frankly this scares me. Powerlessness was the word used, and I feel it quite often. So understanding this one equation can certainly preface my growth not only professionally, but also in my familial and personal life as well.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I’ve come to the realization (after many sleepless nights) that the key to achieving any goal is through changing your behaviors and habits (in this case, clients achieving their dream body). Just as Chip had an aptly used metaphor for the luggage we carry throughout life, he has also hit another nail on the head – physical workouts vs. emotional workouts. As a Personal Trainer, I often joke with my friends and family saying that I’m more of an Emotional Trainer, because I’m often learning how the person works and what makes them tick, so I can “undo” these triggers and help them achieve a more sound physical body. What I would propose is developing a manuscript, all based around the emotional components holding anyone back from achieving their physical goals. Not so much remaking the wheel, but *discovering* how we can apply a new wheel, namely the Plutchik-Wheel, and further evolve this wheel to allow myself and my students to carry the message of growth and freedom, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

  60. 1) Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This quote is so meaningful because we can’t count on others to do everything for us. We each have to do our part to make this world a better place.

    2) HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT. I love this equation because I think it is so important to be grateful for what you have, but never lose that drive to keep doing better. I also like the part about “feeling gratitude without sharing it with someone is like wrapping a present without giving it to the intended recipient.” This inspires me to not only look for what makes me happy in life, but to find ways to bring happiness into the lives of others.

    3) I want to achieve my full potential in life by finding something that I am passionate about and giving it 100%. I don’t know what that something is yet, but I know that no matter what I want to give back to other people on this earth that need help. Spending a day with someone that has figured out how to master your emotions in order to achieve success would be such an inspiration for me.

  61. “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – Einstein


    This equation resonates with me. People so often seem so opposed to change, even if it is for the better. Curiosity is a core foundation towards human achievement. With curiosity comes exploration, problem solving, challenge, and achievement.

    To spend time with Chip, would mean working on, exploring and further developing my knowledge of leadership. I relish the opportunity to learn more about leading and engaging people. To help other to become engaged as part of a team while also striving for their own goals.

    Cheers, Chris.

  62. 1. “Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” – Winston Churchill

    2. ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY + POWERLESSNESS. My family will be relocating once again after only 7 months (job -related), this has made my wife extremely anxious, and I plan on sitting down with her tonight to work through this equation and hopefully relieve some of the anxiety.

    3. As a manager, AND ESPECIALLY AS A FATHER, I need to increase my overall EQ (and learn how to keep working to increase it) to make me a better boss and husband/father. I have often accused of being in-sensitive, and looking back it has affected both my career and home life.

  63. 1. “A character rich in integrity, maturity, and the Abundance Mentality has a genuineness that goes far beyond technique, or lack of it, in human interaction.” Stephen Covey.

    2. Employing the CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE equation would have the biggest impact for me. I have founded and successfuly sold a small company and I have founded a boutique business law firm where I earn significantly more than I did at the big law firm I was with but I now work about 15 hours a week. (Thanks, Tim, for your tremendous insights. You have really changed my life.) But while I have moments of great curiosity, I can go months and months without the creativity that comes from being curious. I need to be more proactive about creating curiosity, and I really like Chips thoughts on the topic. I, like Chip, find great curiosity in nature, especially hiking, which is slow and allows me to take-in the suroundings and look within myself. I also find curiosity in inspiration books by people with new ideas and paradigms. I’m going to commit to be more proactive about creating curiosity.

    3. I am a big believer in win/win, mutually beneficial organizations. I believe that it is hard to fail if we are as focused on our clients “winning” and our employees “winning” as we are about winning ourselves. Given a chance to spend some time with Chip, I would hope to build many more win/win organizations where the lives of customers, employees, and partners in a small sphere are a little better off because of what I helped create.

  64. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “Stoic apatheia is rather the maintenance of equanimity in the face of life’s highs and lows – getting carried away by neither.” – Unknown

    I have ??????? or “apatheia” tattooed across my chest

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?


    Every accomplishment in my life up to this point never satisfied me… no matter what I did I was regularly left empty and craving the next shiny object.

    For example: my “side-business” generated $66K last year and I still wasn’t happy, I was depressed actually… that it wasn’t enough for me to quit my job.

    Only recently did I realize that gratitude was missing, and this equation explains why. I just opened a new journal to incorporate gratitude in my life everyday by writing it and speaking it out loud when I wake up in the morning.

    It’s time for me to “want what I already have”…

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I would create a consortium of the greatest health minds in the world to establish a standard “Gut Healing Protocol” for every doctor to follow in treating Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease, and IBS.

    – Jordan

    1. **EDIT** to “I have ??????? or “apatheia” tattooed across my chest”

      Apologies for the ???????, I typed out the actual Greek letters for “apatheia”, which it did not like 🙂

      – Jordan

  65. 1) “mind like water” and “stay hungry, stay foolish”

    When I need to adress something, these reminds me to act on it or not ,and to resonate my reaction to it.

    2) anxiety = uncertainty X powerlessness

    Uncertainty is no problem when you have the power to over come it (when you have a big tolerance for uncertainty) and use your energy to take the uncertainty, look at it and search for ways to empower you in your actions.

    In that way you can expand the equation to: anxiety = (uncertainty X powerlessness)/power

    Take actions and you will get there, you get empowered.

    I’ve just read “Uncertainty” by Jonathan Fields and his approach is congruent with this equation.

    When I decided to combinate work and studying I was checking courses ( which ones, which load, ..) , there was definitely uncertainty. I hadn’t been a “student” for 8 years, those 8 years I struggled with my health (lower-back pain, operations, no pain relief). But I decided to go for it , I outlined my options , how I would do it , how I could adapt, …. This took a lot of uncertainty and especially anxiety away.

    3) uhm: deal making, empire building and foremost self-fulfillement!

    I love to learn new things, I love to think of myself as someone with a wide spectrum of interests.

    I have a coupe ideas to make information products, especially to make a guide for other (young) people who are in the same situation as I was “in pain”. I struggled to find solutions and now want to put them in the hands of people who will benefit from it. I want to improve my life everyday, and after reading this post I had to enter because I think a day with Chip would help me in a lot of ways.

  66. 1) “Great things tend to be undoable things. Whereas small things, lovingly done, are always within our reach.” -David Duncan

    2) Happiness equation, especially “keeping attention on the numerator”. I like that it doesn’t just dismiss the denominator, but gives you a nice place to file those thoughts and feelings away.

    3) I run 3 separate businesses and I’d like to change my relationship to them with regards to time — it’s very easy to get caught up in the small stuff and run myself ragged!

  67. 1. “Energy flows where attention goes”


    I agree with him on focusing on gratitude. We are so condition to only focus on the negative or the lack of, but we don’t show or feel enough gratitude towards others or towards what we have. I like the gratitude buddy idea or even group. To focus on what we do have.

    I appreciate the reminder to be thankful for those that help us and are around us. Its so easy to make some one smile and uplift them just by acknowledging what they do and saying thank you. How different would things be if we where grateful with each other, Rather then critical.

    Thank for taking the time to write this article. 🙂

    3. What would I like to build after a day with Chip? I would like to build myself to be who I aspire to be. We spend so much time in fear and in doubt of ourselves. I would love to learn to express who I am, and to have the confidence to do what I dream of doing, and inspire others to be who they truly are also. We are all super humans, hiding and thinking we are less then that.


  68. 1. “Be yourself, everybody else is already taken”


    I have been focusing on growing the top for a long long time with a good amount of success, I would love to be able to shrink the bottom one as much as possible. Happiness is what I desire as it is the key to a full and rich life, both personal and professional. It is one of those things that only grow when you give to others or share with loved ones or with people around you. I would apply it to everything that I do, my family, my job, my soon-to-be-born boy, everything that I have is a gift and I would like to share this perspective with everyone around me in a way that will empower and enrich others.

    3. I would like to change myself and build interpersonal tools that will allow me to share this growing happiness with people all around me, and not only that, but also help other build that tool. I would like to build a real life, happiness meme that will go and expand and grow. I would like to be able to make people lives just a little bit better.

  69. Hi Chip,

    You have asked your readers what their favorite inspiration or philosophical quote is, but realistically nobody should be able to provide you with just one. My experience is that quotes are recorded to provoke thought and curiosity. Saying that, I will provide you with my favorite category of quotes and provide you a few. Questions! Tony Robbins – “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” Wolfgang von Goethe – “Ignorant men raise questions that wise men answered a thousand years ago.” Chinese proverb – “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever. “

    As an inspired individual, when I read an article, I strive to learn at least one fact that I can implement in my life. In this case, I learned a lot about human behavior in each section. My quick summary of the article is that it advises people to step outside themselves, which allows them to really see what situation they are in and what emotions they are truly experiencing. I will strive to know myself in every situation I put myself into. If I’m feeling despair or sadness, I can now determine why I’m feeling this way and alter my surroundings, which will in turn alter my emotions.

    Similar to your story, at 24 years old I’m ready to get started in the business world. I am in the process of planning to build a software company, which will increase the productivity and employee satisfaction in the insurance industry. To answer your question, after a day with you, I will change how the insurance industry interacts and I will build my understanding of the world. In conclusion, there is never a shortage of ideas in this world, so if fail at one of my ideas, I will take away knowledge and move onto the next idea with the knowledge you have provided me.

    Thank you for this opportunity and I look forward to meeting you!

  70. Here we go:

    1) “That which we are, we are” – Tennyson, “Ulysses.” The entire poem sounds like it was written just for me – it’s a sailor’s monologue, after all – but this line, surrounded by lofty and motivating ideas, is even more powerful. It tells me that I can still do awesome things with all my emotional baggage by my side (or because of it!). Listen to it here:

    2) HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT. I’ve recently relocated to a country where it’s a lot more customary to go for more money, have a mortgage, car payments and credit card debts. And it just happens to be the most walkable, charming and friendly place I’ve lived in. I want to stay, but on my terms, not under social norms and peer pressure. So going for what I want, and away from what I don’t want, is a big project for me right now. This equation will help me sort it out. Thanks, Chip!

    3) In my work, I’m in charge of 10 amazing teachers and dozens of demanding learners. At home, I’m happily, but freshly married. And in my past, there were things and events whose significance I still have to figure out. A day with Chip in SF is another chance for a fresh perspective on “that which I am” – a chance for me to progress to being a happier educator, husband and lad.

  71. 1) Favorite Inspirational quote at this time in my life:

    “I cannot fail, I can only learn and grow.” – Steve Siebold.

    For me it highlights that any perceived risk / challenge in life can be a positive experience no matter what as long as you have a healthy perspective on it. Whether you think something is good or bad, you’re right.

    It also helps me abolish any fear or self-doubt I may encounter.

    2) Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness

    This is the equation that I feel can have the greatest impact in my life at this point. I truly believe that the majority of our anxiety stems from sources that we simply don’t know enough information about and/or we have little of no control over. Firstly, being able to recognize the anxiety is critical, upon that awareness I need to first ask, “do I have all the facts?” and then “what action can I take towards this?”

    I work in a family business where my father can create an extraordinary amount of anxiety in me, using this equation can definitely minimize the anxiety I feel at times.

    3) MY favorite question to answer!

    I would most likely take a shit-load of inspiration after a day with Chip and use that to continue fueling the ultimate vision my brother and I have together in starting a Yoga Studio / Float tank Center. We literally want to use yoga and floating as a way to help guide facilitated introspection within a beautiful community of people from all walks of life. This is our vision! We are creating the business plan now and have focused on this idea for a long time, with countless discussions / brain-storming sessions. We just let our imaginations explode in every direction. Our whole business concept in the beginning is to not even take a share, our biggest desire is to gets this thing up and running, make it as affordable as possible while maintaining utmost quality and to let it grow with the development of human consciousness and emotional intelligence, which is spreading like wild-fire!

    Thanks for this opportunity to share. I enjoyed the article very much.

  72. 1. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King Jr.

    2. Anxiety – Uncertainty x Powerlessness

    After a couple if miscarriages, currently being pregnant in the early stages creates a tremendous amount of anxiety hoping that everything will turn out well. When I saw this formula for the first time this morning, I was hit by how powerful it can be in reducing our fears and focusing on what we can influence.

    3. Working at an energy efficiency non-profit, I would like to talk through effectively scaling operations with Chip to maximize our impact on helping to create the Third Industrial Revolution – the convergence of renewable energy with communication technology.

  73. One of my favorite inspirational quotes is: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” – Steve Jobs

    The equation HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT really hit home. Just by focusing on being grateful for what I have I am going to be immensely happier.

    After a day with Chip I would like to change how I respond and help others to change how they respond to certain stimuli.

  74. 1) “Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something” – TinyBuddha

    2) Curiosity = Wonder & Awe is the emotional equation that surprised me the most on the list, and is also the one I align with the most. I believe many of the grand challenges we face in the world today (climate change, global health, education, equity) stems from a problem of habit in taking this Earth for granted. We have lost the emotional connection to waking up every day to the wonder of nature and awe of our individual and collective potential for good. Grand challenges, as linked to the quote above, are too big for each of us to fight in person, but if everyone engaged, nothing is impossible.

    3) For one day in San Francisco I would like to build with Chip an idea to take the transformation pyramid to youth entrepreneurs in developing countries. In resource-poor environments, survival is key, but survival AND innovation will the tools necessary to break out of the poverty trap. Flash success can be blinding in these environments, so how can we help these youth entrepreneurs instill values of higher transformation?

  75. 1.) “..You can’t control the contour of your face, but you can control its expression…” – Unknown

    2.) The notion of how living in a place of fear prevents curiosity strikes me the most out of Chip’s post. The current environment is one that helps me use as an excuse to impress particular power players and friends instead of guiding my actions based on my own internal compass. This is not an easy task, but sometimes the only solution is to amputate the problem – in my case changing environments. While I have not figured out how to explain to the people around me *yet* – This is how I plan on applying to this my own life.

    3.) I am willing to commit myself 100% to server Chip in any capacity – not because I want to kiss his ass, – but to allow myself to get a slight glimpse into the way Chip operates. I am only interested in focusing on gaining insight from Chip to improve one big challenge I am having. Screw the hotel – I’ll be happy to exchange the 2 days at the hotel to do a mini-internship with Chip for the same amount of time. Chip or Tim, if you are reading this..STOP right now and pick me 🙂

  76. 1. “Things tend to get done.” – My friend Jon from law school, who would say this during finals month as he watched golf on TV while the rest of us were freaking out over Torts. He was right. I’m much calmer because of him!

    2. Curiosity = Wonder + Awe. Thinking of curiosity as a way of moving past fear intrigues me. I suspect that this will be a game changer in both my writing (not shrinking back from controversial subjects–and I write about faith and romantic relationships, so everything is controversial!) and making bolder choices about chasing down things that catch my attention even when they seem random or off-topic.

    3. My dream is to help people be so encouraged about their lives that they’re filled with excitement (rather than fear and dread) about going to their college reunion. I want to build a collection of resources that encourage people to see their lives as a narrative arc, rather than a series of static moments: A book of stories of people who have overcome via faith and supernatural intervention, a tour of people willing to share their stories to encourage others, and a website offering book reviews, products, quotes, and smiles to uplift and encourage people to move THROUGH tough times.

  77. Oops, the Greek got garbled. Here’s a translation:

    Don’t fear god,

    Don’t worry about death;

    What is good is easy to get, and

    What is terrible is easy to endure

  78. 1. “Life is hard if you live it the easy way, and easy if you live it the hard way.” – Joe Polish


    I likely spend 80% of my life in anxiety over things which may not happen for years. This equation is powerful for me because now I have the ability to flesh out exactly what I’m worrying about and clarify it and see what I can do about it.

    Using the “What Do I Know” about this issue helps me understand the scope I understand of the problem.

    The second column is “What Don’t I Know” help me understand that I usually know more about my anxiety than I realize.

    The third column is “What Can I Influence” tells me what factors of the situation I can steer or navigate toward what I want.

    The fourth column is “What Can’t I Influence” helps me understand that some factors are out of my control, no matter what I do, which is powerful for my anxiety.

    Basically, this equation I’m using in my life to benefit me by taking more action and worrying less in anxiety about problems which are usually not as big as I thought.

    3. With chip, I really want to build my CEO (Chief Emotions Officer) skills. While I’ve been working on gauging and understanding people as much as I can, I still lack some vital skills to manage people, get along with folks emotionally, and constantly show my true self.

    I sort of get into a rut of quiet calm reflection in a group of people, and people in turn think I’m cold, and in turn, disapprove of me, which hurts personal, and business relationships.

    I want to change how I respond in groups with people, and build my ability to truly understand people, so I can in turn help my relationships and other people in whatever ways I can.

    Thanks for the opportunity Chip and Tim!

    With respect,

    Bobby Huang

  79. 1. “I shall seize Fate by the throat; it shall certainly not bend and crush me completely” – Ludwig Van Beethoven

    2. I am currently pursuing many things in my career while still trying to have a personal life. Between my graduate studies, research assistant position, part-time marketing job, and in the middle of the starting a business, finding time to show gratitude for the gifts I’ve been given seems like more minutiae. But, my cofounder and I, during countless evenings of cooking and working have become enamored with the sheer amount of things we’re both involved in, the things we’ve learned in the past 6 months, and the mentors, advisors, family, friends, and significant others that have helped along the way. My gratitude buddy and I can certainly utilize a few minutes every evening to reflect and give thanks. You’re suggestions on expanding this gratitude process will do wonders to enhance my relationships today and in the future.

    3. I would like to learn more about how Chip utilized the unpacking of emotions to enhance his business venture and help those who work for him. Then I would like to build upon these recommendations with him to see how they could work with other types of businesses, organizations, and/or governments.

  80. 1. live! life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.

    ~auntie mame

    2. ?(wonder+awe) + ?(uncertainty x powerlessness) = a more courageous rashelle

    3. i’d Love to build a sustainable foundation that allows my genie the freedom to share, learn, grow, play, make connections & bring verdant joy, marvelous wonder, and easy awe to myself & others

  81. 1. It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. – Teddy Roosevelt

    2. Apply the Anxiety = Uncertainty and Powerlessness to stop worrying about the future and focus on what is in front of me.

    3. After a day with Chip I would like to implement learnings in my company’s sales processes as that is the first experience a future customer has with the company and I want their experience to be the one that Tim experienced at Hotel Vitale.

  82. 1. “Would you like me to give you a formula for… success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You’re thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all… you can be discouraged by failure / or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that’s where you’ll find success. On the far side.” -Thomas J Watson, founder of IBM

    2. For me Curiosity has been the most useful emotion in my life. It helps me grow slowly but constantly, as well as deal with challenging situations in life with an open heart. Staying in a state of curiousity is something I want to cultivate, and I feel it’s core to a spiritual path. I can be more present and accepting by being curious, and there’s so much to learn.

    3. My company has grown from 2 employees a year ago to 8, with more on the way. Our core mission is to help people find financial independence, so that they can live their passions. This is a deep desire for everyone in my company, as well as our customers. I want to be a steward of healthy growth, as opposed to losing ourselves as we scale. I’d want to lead through love of my employees. How can I best serve them as my company grows? I think Chip could help me do this.

  83. My favorite quote comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Most of the shadows in this life come from standing in our own sunshine.” Too often, self-sabotage prevents us from making the most of our opportunities: we block the light which could make us grow strong and unafraid.

    Lately, personal tragedies have drained me emotionally and prevented me from moving forward. Within the past fifteen months, one of my friends committed suicide and I lost the grandparents who raised me. As a college student, it’s been extremely difficult to focus on schoolwork, and I’ve found my grades slipping, confidence failing, and self-worth depreciating.

    Chip’s anxiety equation hit particularly close to home because over the past year and a half I have been feeling both uncertain about the future and powerless to affect its path – how could I be sure I wouldn’t lose more loved ones, and how could I prevent it from happening? This anxiety carried over to other parts of my life, most recently to my future career: how can I find a good job after college? What am I good for, with my BA in History?

    But Chip’s explanation has helped me put things into perspective, made me see just how much I can influence my situation and that it’s not so dire after all. I attend one of the most prestigious universities in the world and have been given plenty of golden opportunities – and it is time for me to start seizing them again. Meeting Chip would inspire me to pursue my dreams of owning a company one day, and maintaining my integrity and respect for others as I do. It’s time to take charge of my life again by ending this cycle of defeatism, and reading this blog-post has prepared me for that – thank you, Tim and Chip.

  84. 1) “If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.” – Albert Einstein


    I see “verbal diarrhea” (a.k.a. B.S.) as one of the most disturbing disease of our time (see quote 1). Its growth rate seems to be exponentially related to the advances within the field of communication technology. With all the irrelevant “buzz” that constantly surrounds us, finding your true inner voice becomes harder and harder. In a world in which everyone tells you what you should have or do it’s even harder to find times to reflect on where you’re going but especially what you’ve already achieved. Spending time on both meeting with a “Gratitude Buddy” as well as writing a “Gratitude Journal” based on the equation above would help me to stay focused on what’s really important / relevant in life and learn to be thankful again.

    3) Change the way I lead /develop my company. Make the following equation a reality: PROFIT = INFATUATED CUSTOMERS + HAPPY EMPLOYEES

    P.S.: Thanks Tim for asking those specific questions. Even if I should not win the trip – taking the time to reflect on the equations and writing this post (this is my first post after “consuming” this blog silently for over two years) has already made a big difference.

  85. 1. “The only thing greatness asks for is an opportunity.”

    2. Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness. I spent 2 years working in the paint industry. If there’s one thing people feel uncertain and powerless about, it’s paint. I founded and am CEO of EasyPaint, which is working to bridge the gap between those who are certain and knowledgeable about paint (painters) and those who feel uncertain and powerless about paint (their customers) using a single site. The goal is to create something which diminishes this anxiety, and this equation illustrates a simple way of thinking about it.

    3. EasyPaint has yet to launch to the public, so learning from Chip about how to be a more effective CEO would be huge for me before we start helping customers and employing people. I hope to create something that maximizes efficiency, and would love to shorten my learning curve for effective leadership. I am also President of a baseball training company (Round Trip Baseball), so learning about motivation from the best would help me better interact with both my instructors and customers as I continue to grow that brand.

    I also love the curiosity equation, and try to apply that to my daily life. The more curious we are, the more able we are to innovate and create real beneficial change for society.

  86. Tim/Chip – Great article! I’ve visited a few Joie de Vivre properties and have really enjoyed them. I’m fascinated by how much a company reflects the culture of it’s leaders – in a positive fashion like JdV or in a negative manner, especially in regards to ethics and true customer focus. I found the framework for understanding emotions very enlightening. It’s the Dupont Financial Analysis for emotions. I’d appreciate the opportunity to spend some time with Chip in San Francisco. So here goes:

    1) Favorite Quote – “Only in this moment, is life.” Thich Nhat Hanh. Life is lived in the moment, not the past or the future. Or, be present.

    2) ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS – I’ve been experiencing much anxiety about future career direction and this helps frame some of my issues. By eliminating some of the uncertainty and gaining more influence on my direction I can reduce the anxiety I’m experiencing.

    3) After spending a day with Chip I hope to gain more insight into how he utilizes his different cultural experiences (festivals, etc.) to be more effective at guiding the company and leading his team to collective success.

  87. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “The only Zen you find on tops of mountains is the Zen you bring there.”

    ? Robert M. Pirsig

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS. I need to write out my problems, and include others in my life when it comes to certain situations. Too often I isolate and don’t let people help, which I think just fuels my powerlessness.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I’m already working on some projects revolving around heavy metal (news, writing) and robots (my artwork), but I’d love to begin work on expanding these in more meaningful ways. I want to bolster these creative outlets for both myself and my talented friends so we can do even more stuff that matters in the coming decade.

  88. 1. My favorite quote is actually the ending lyrics to the song Lateralus by Tool, I really think it visualizes lifestyle design like Tim describes, and it points at becoming an individual who constantly searches for more meaning and purpose in the life that we live:

    With my feet upon the ground

    I lose myself between the sounds

    and open wide to suck it in

    I feel it move across my skin.

    I’m reaching up and reaching out,

    I’m reaching for the random or

    what ever will bewilder me,

    what ever will bewilder me.

    And following our will and wind

    we may just go where no one’s been.

    We’ll ride the spiral to the end

    and may just go where no one’s been.

    2. Curiosity comes to me when I’m surfing in the ocean as well, it has been a huge source of inspiration for me to be out in the simplicity and complexity of nature. Simple because when I’m staring out to the ocean sometimes I see only 2 colors; the blue of the sky and water, and the white of the clouds and white caps. Complex, because that same landscape changes to storm clouds, then colorful sunsets, then feeding frenzies with the fish birds, and (ahem) bigger creatures. Being in this environment is an application of your equation because it gives me a chance to put business and other worries on hold and simply focus on the wonder and awe of being in this world.

    3. I would change my shirt after a day of working with Chip because of all the work we would accomplish (haha just kidding). No, but seriously I would watch Chip and how he manages his time and employees. This would let me know how a CEO of a big company manages to get goals accomplished. I would also watch for any pushes towards the quality of his product, because I believe that the quality of your resources that you put into your company, interaction with customers and employees, products and services, etc. well outweighs any other factors. Finally, I would watch for how Chip manages his personal life, any phone calls from home he may receive, how he takes a break, etc.

    Thank you for the quality information that you are willing to share with your fans Chip and Tim!

  89. 1. “Make mistakes of ambition, not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.” — Niccolò Machiavelli

    2. Happiness = Wanting What You Have / Having What You Want

    About a month ago I would’ve chosen the anxiety equation without hesitation and related it to the oft-overwhelming anxiety of being jobless. But now that my career situation has seemed to solve itself, I can shift my main focus to embracing happiness/contentedness. The denominator of the equation, as mentioned in the post, is certainly the more difficult. In just a few seconds I can list off several aspects of my life that qualify as “what I have”: a beautiful, wonderful wife (of less than a month—hooray for newlyweds!); a loving, supportive family (on both sides now); and an entertaining, fun circle of friends in a new home city. The tension arises in balancing happiness with what I have and ambitions for the future.

    3. In light of my above answer, what I’d like to “build” both during and after a day with Chip, is more of a sense of balance in the tension of happiness. I’d love to unpack his thoughts & feelings upon graduating from Stanford through the lens of his happiness equation. Did he feel contentment/happiness early on? Or did he discover it along the way? Or has he found happiness to be an ongoing process? Where his answers & our conversation leads would determine the “change” I would affect afterward, both in my general attitude toward my life and in how I interact with my wife, my family, my friends and the wider world.

  90. 1. An uncomfortable feeling is not an enemy.

    It’s a gift that says, “Get honest; inquire.”

    We reach out for alcohol, or television, or credit cards,

    so we can focus out there and not have to look at the feeling.

    And that’s as it should be, because in our innocence we haven’t known how.

    So now what we can do is reach out for a paper and a pencil,

    write thought down, and investigate.

    ~ Byron Katie


    This one resonates with me. I remember going through natural childbirth and having people question why I did that when epidurals were available. They couldn’t process choosing to “suffer”. I didn’t suffer. I was in pain, but it was pain that I understood. Pain that had a clear purpose. It also taught me that I can go through fire if I know what’s on the other side, but pain without meaning or purpose will drive me to distraction.

    Applying this to my life, whenever I’m feeling emotional pain, I have to stop and ask myself the purpose of that pain. In many cases, the pain is from fighting with reality. As Byron Katie says, “I fight with reality and reality only wins 100% of the time.” It’s usually as simple as the thoughts in my head about how things *should* be that are causing the pain, when reality isn’t any more or less painful than it always was.

    3. I would like to acquire the tools to create the kind of “conscious company” that I believe is possible: one where profits do not have to come at the expense of the spirit of the people doing the work, but they come *because* of the spirit of the people doing the work. I’ve hesitated starting a company because making money was never my purpose. I can do that just fine working for somebody else. But creating an self-sustaining entity that gives other people purpose? Now *that* is one hell of a good purpose to endure the pain of a start-up, no?

  91. 1. To develop a complete mind: study the science of art; study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else. -Leonardo da Vinci

    2. Applying the curiosity=wonder+awe equation more would have huge benefits for me. Often I find myself in an office feeling frustrated that the ideas just aren’t flowing. I look at my curious habitats list and laugh as I remember that my best idea popped in to my head as I galloped full-tilt on my horse. Starting now, I’m going to find more curious habitats to inhabit on a regular basis.

    3. With Chip, I would like to use his equations to build a new scheme for how I approach my start-up.

  92. Hey Tim,

    Awesome article. This is one of those that needs to be read more than once!

    1- Stronger the Wind Stronger The Trees, Good Timber Does Not Grow With Ease

    Great quote that helped me through my Martial Arts training.


    I’ve lived in Asia, Europe, America, and off to South America soon, but I still find myself searching for more and not fully appreciating what I have.

    Whether that is business, women, etc…

    As for the second part, it’s a lil hippiesh but, it would be nice to be able to fully appreciate what you have while kicking even more a$$ in your endeavors.

    3- As you know, inspiration will lead you down unknown paths that you never even imagined before. So I can only answer this question with, “I have no f***ing clue!

    But I know it would be a life changing experience and would lead to a bigger and better path.


  93. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.” – Seneca

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?

    As a salesman, I’m constantly filled with anxiety over my next sale/next deal/next prospect. Using the ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS equation and the “balance sheet” exercise will help me take stock of the reality of my situation. While there are some uncertain factors (client response, competitive factors, etc.) over which I have little control (highly uncertain), I can reduce anxiety by being aware of and always increasing the things I have power over – my activity, new meetings, cold calls, etc. Reducing this anxiety will help me think more clearly and improve my relationships with friends and family!

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I’d like to find a way to make time to “be curious” – the most important personal and professional growth I’ve had in my life has come after periods where I sought out new ideas and relationships. But knowing that, I still don’t do it enough and as a result I go through periods of stagnation. I’d like to make curiosity a regular part of my worldview to ensure I continue to grow.

  94. 1. “Let go of the parts of life you honestly don’t want.” Unknown

    2. Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness

    When I read this particular equation one word popped into my head. “Yes.” It summed up everything I am currently dealing with. My questions as to whether I am capable of running my own business, being a successful artist and sculptor, of even surviving on my own. I constantly find myself not breathing as I attempt to decide which actions to take next, ultimately leading to not accomplishing anything at all. I am uncertain what the “right” step is and have an intense fear of getting it “wrong” with what limited resources I have so my wheels spin and nothing positive happens, though a great deal of negativity does.

    Simply knowing this much has helped me identify the source of the anxiety and will hopefully give me the resources to deal with it. I may be uncertain but I am not powerless. That part I can change. When faced with the panic of indecision I now see that I am only powerless if I let myself be. There are always options. Always choices to be made. They may not always be correct but doing nothing is also a choice and it will most definitely get me nowhere.

    3. I would like to build a more confident center in myself that has the capability of interacting with others in a positive way. I would like to learn to set the fear, pain, and disappointment that I feel aside, to use the knowledge that I’ve gained through it without the panic, and truly embrace my art, travel, business, and life.

  95. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “With enough courage you can do without a reputation.” Clark Gable

    In very simple terms, this, for me, is a reminder to be unafraid to be bold. Fall down, get up, fall down, get up – the people that laugh at me are too afraid to try and are justifying their own inaction, and everyone else is amazed and inspired by my forward motion. Nobody notices your bruises and scratches at the summit.

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?


    This is pertinent in two ways for me. On one hand, it helps tremendously to be able to re-frame a difficult experience into a learning experience; it becomes tolerable and sometimes I can even turn it into something I enjoy, as I am able to end the despair by creating meaning from the suffering.

    The second way has to do with my own dna. I have had to manage chemical depression on and off since my teenage years. One of the most difficult aspects is, initially, the self-hate that arises. My parents are wonderful. All my problems are first-world white people problems – nothing, in the grand scheme of things. And yet, I would find myself miserable. About what? This equation is a good reminder (for me) that sometimes despair isn’t circumstantial. If part of the equation is missing – in chemical depression it is the “meaning” aspect – then it allows me to be more human to myself. If I can’t create meaning out of my suffering, then it is not so much a “learning experience” but an imbalance, and I don’t have to feel ashamed of finding another way to balance the equation.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF?

    I would like to continue developing and seeking ways to improve my way to “re-frame” things for the happiest, most productive outcome. Many times it is our reaction to an event that holds us back or stops progress. I would like to continue to improve and be able to share skills to be able to take adversity and challenges in stride by managing my interpretation of them on an emotional level. We cannot control the outside world, but we can choose how to interpret it. I would like to gain more tools to be able to share with people and a greater capability to communicate them.

  96. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    “Only those are fit to live who do not fear to die; and none are fit to die who have shrunk from the joy of life and the duty of life. Both life and death are part of the same great adventure.” – T. Roosevelt

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit? HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT This equation for me, is not only a gratitude but an awareness of what I actually want that will bring true happiness, and looking at what I have and learning to detach and let go of the things in my life that do not bring happiness, and holding the items that bring true happiness sacred.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF? I would like to build more confidence in what makes me happy. With joy in my heart I want to go out into the world and help others by giving them an opportunity to have what they want, even if that means basics like water, food, education. I want to create awareness and hopefully funds for the empowerment of the women of East Africa.

  97. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.” “Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” Winston Churchill

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit?DESPAIR = SUFFERING – MEANING

    This equation, believe me speaks volumes about my life right now: My son was in an awful accident, I am dealing with an aging parent, my good friend has breast cancer, but didnt tell me ’til after her surgery and I have a bad bout of mid-life compare-itis, questions that I must ask myself about my relations with family friends colleagues ? What is my legacy? What will the rest of my life be if I keep on doing what I am doing?

    3 A day with Chip: I need to formalize a plan. A strategy on being foremost the CEO of my life, and then my home-life, family and then career.

    Ever optimistic,


  98. 1. “What doesn’t transmit light creates its own darkness”– Marcus Aurelius

    2.Happiness = Wanting What you have / Having what you want

    Quite simply, I am going to start counting and being conscious of my gratitude. First, I will change my personal rituals to include a moment of reflection as the day is winding down where I account for the gratitude I have shown in a personal journal. I will focus on delivering the present of gratitude to at least one meaningful and influential person in my life each day. It is also important that I offer gratitude to someone who has improved my life even if I don’t know them; be they a bus driver, waiter, or cashier. These unexpected moments of gratitude are what I am most excited about.

    3. After a day with Chip I personally hope to build a system of reflection and accounting for my emotional states and how I have affected the world around me. I also would love to discuss and build a framework for how to inspire emotional connections outside of a personal and business setting. What if you could impact the emotional equations in a small neighborhood setting and inspire a “habitat for curiosity” within your living area? With Chip I would like to build a “Gross Neighborhood Happiness Index” that allows you to account for and build upon the emotional equations of your community and gives you actionable ways to improve them.

  99. Great post, and great insight. Being a math guy, I love how you’ve broken down these emotions into equations. Very cool stuff.

    1. A good definition of fairness is that “Everyone gets what they deserve”. However, everyone is different. So by definition, to be fair, you must treat everyone differently.


    The more you realize that you have the ability to respond, that you do have the power to change things, the less anxiety you will have. This equation can be re-written as: CERTAINTY * POWER = CALM (not the ideal word, but whatever the opposite of ANXIETY is). In a nutshell: Know what you want and empower yourself to achieve it.

    3. What to change or build will depend on how the conversion goes, but what is most valuable is usually to start building a friendship!