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.

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

  1. Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good. – Minor Myers, Jr.


    I use this and will need to continue to use this for the balance of my life. How I view the world and framing what I have as what I want changes my perspective and what I attitude I project onto others, It is the attitude I bring to life and the world which dictates what the world rolls out at my feet each and every day as well as the richness of the relationships I cultivate in this world. I live a busy, hectic life which is full of challenge and chaos; however, my perspective is that all of these circumstances are an opportunity. I welcome opportunities and challenges, embracing each challenge and situation as an opportunity is “wanting what I have. “The universe has in return given me innumerable opportunities, situations and success in return. What I like about this equation is that it has nothing to do with money, status, career, or other likely symbols of what people perceive as necessary for happiness. The equation proves that it’s within us to be fully capable of happiness. I appreciate the hope, promise, empowerment and responsibility of this equation as it’s within us to be extraordinarily happy whatever the circumstance.

    3. I’d like to advocate, pilot, and offer life skills as a course in school not unlike sex education. It would offer basically a new operating system/reboot for kids. Kids are taught subjects but not the process to operate in their life, use or misuse of judgment, acceptance, aren’t given the tools to exercise compassion, empathy, and other skills so relevant to success in life.

  2. 1. “You are what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions”-Elizabeth Gilbert.

    2. ‘Anxiety=Uncertainty x Powerlessness

    The fear of the unknown speaks to me in a business sense because I’m torn between many things; choose passion over money, choose stability over uncertainty, choose responsibility over freedom. I constantly remind myself and have to give myself permission to do what I want to do in life, and not what my family and friends expect me to. The fear hits me when I make the decision to do what I want but if it doesn’t work the first few times or if it takes much much longer than expected and I’m left looking foolish when a few years ago I was once very promising. What I need to do is go over all the worst case scenarios, find out all the different things which inhibit me and talk myself through them in order to confront the unknown. Then I can realise that it’s not as scary as it seems.

    3. After a day with Chip in SF, I would like to begin building a lifestyle which supports me financially, fulfils me emotionally and leaves me completely independent. I want to be excited by life’s possibilities everyday and truly live it on my own terms.

  3. 1. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre’ Gide 

    2. I am the founder of a startup graphic design agency in New York City. Since September, I’ve been working harder than ever in my life to combat the anxiety that my first company could somehow fail. But I know that feelings of worry and nervousness only lead to uncertainty and stagnancy, which is a precursor for the imminent failure of the business. As a test this morning, I applied Chip’s Anxiety Balance Sheet to this issue and I was completely blown away by the results. Of my 52 responses in all four columns, 43 (82%) were good and realistically achievable. Of the 9 “bad” responses, 6 of them are either unnecessary to consider or are easily turned into something that I can know and change. This means that 94% of my anxiety is unnecessary and easily solved, which in return multiplies my rate of possible progression exponentially. Unbelievable.

    3. I have big dreams for being a young (23 years old) and little guy (5’7”). But we are living in very critical times where design can have an increasing impact on our world. My vision is to create a conglomerate design agency that not only creates self-initiated projects, such as products, services, tools, and communities for the world at large, but that also collaborates with large corporations and other movers and shakers to make things that we think are needed in the world. A day with Chip would be invaluable in helping me learn how to achieve this vision. Learning how to become a better CEO is something that I’m fascinated about and ever curious to learn how to do better. Thank you Chip and Tim, for this wonderful opportunity.

  4. 1. “Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt


    As someone who is an aspiring author of fiction, I find that all too often, my creativity reserves become depleted. I viewed curiosity as a reactive emotion, though, and I chose to seek out various ways or means to inspire myself. Now, I will choose to pause, reflect, and find habitats that spawn my own curiosity, since I realize the components of curiosity are not reactive in nature. They come from somewhere within, and that’s where I feel I will seek my curiosity now so that I can create amazing worlds, characters, and stories. I made my list of habitats and found that I tend to do most of my creative work in those places that impede my curiosity, and that I am really not taking advantage of the habitats that encourage it. I’m going to reverse this trend and focus on “broadening and building” my way out of a creative slump. And I need to have more non-linear conversations with my best friends, as nothing really beats those…thanks for the reminder!

    3. I would like to build my emotional foundation with Chip, if I may have the opportunity. While I feel that the exterior of my emotional structure appears in fine shape, the foundation has noticeable flaws that I feel could be easily fixed with the correct guidance (Chip!). I am fairly young, so I feel that now is the perfect time to learn these lessons and build this foundation. I guess I just want to build sort of an emotional guide that I can always turn to in times of need, be it with work or family or really anything. I know that Chip has the wisdom and I’m hungry for his guidance!

    Oh, and I’d love to visit SF, as I’ve never been! Cheers!

  5. 1. ” . . . living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice. Choose to live a life that matters.” – Michael Josephson

    2. Happiness equation beautifully demonstrates the balance you can create in a life without giving up or using up your authentic power. The maximum benefit from internalizing this teaching, would be to see it reflected in my children as they grow and pursue their passions.

    3. A day with Chip has the possibility to help me outline what changes to make in my current family role as COO to become the Carlson CEO.

  6. 1. “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” Anne Lamott, quoting her father in Bird by Bird.

    2. Despair = Suffering – Meaning. The use of this insight is obvious but profoundly difficult. It helps me to remind myself of the words and example of Frankl, and the path of the Buddhists, and search for meaning in suffering. I find that practicing in small ways that seem inconsequential, builds resilience and wisdom, and enables me to remember the truth contained in this equation when I encounter deeper difficulties.

    Today, right now, I am going to walk out into extreme winter conditions. The cold will be temporary and harmless suffering, but will give me a chance to practice the lessons of the equation for when I am faced with an significant and otherwise negative experience. As I walk to work I will do my best to experience the cold and accept it and think about what I can learn from the experience of pain.

    3. My challenge is building relationships, and that is what I would like to build after a day with Chip in SF. I would like to see and learn from Chip how he has built his business relationships to help me to learn to build stronger, authentic ties with the people who work with me, so that I can lead with genuine emotion.

  7. 1. It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique – it’s not easy. But if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound reinvention.

    2. HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT. My personality drives me to be in constant pursuit of gratification, yet only on very rare occasions am I able to step back and feel gratitude for all the blessings I have in my life. I intend to use this equation or philosophy to both feel and practice gratitude. I need to show my gratitude more frequently to the important people in my life and I need to feel gratitude as well. I want this to become habitual.

    3. After a day with Chip, I would like to change the way I consider my emotions – to evaluate them more qualitatively; to improve my emotional intelligence and create my own internal logic regarding my emotional baggage. Once I’ve learned to do as much, I would like to apply what I’ve learned to my personal and business relationships for continued emotional success and improved happiness (getting that denominator closer and closer to zero).

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

    “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” – Proverb of Solomon.

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


    This idea has been pushing and calling me to something different for sometime now. The idea of curiosity has been an idea that I have been working through for the last several months. If I could learn to use this more I am not sure what would be in store for me.

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

    A community. Change how people think, how they live.

  9. 1-“Don’t try, do or not do, there is no try” (today) speaks to me about perseverance, commitment & belief.

    2- I like the happiness formula. With a family of five,sometimes things are tight but the most valuable thing we could ever hope for is righ in from of us, “time with ourselves”

    3- Hopefully this helps me “dislodge” myself from the day-to-day and start thinking outside the 8-5 mentality where I reside.

  10. 1. Take a step back and smell the flowers. I have to constantly remind myself to practice what I preach and that reminder sometimes doesn’t come for months. Sometimes, I become too focused on my work- my schoolwork and extracurricular activities. I find myself adding this task and that event to my calendar to barely squeeze enough time for some sleep. Yet, there is nothing as valuable in life as enjoying yourself, smelling the flowers.

    2. This week, I got news about getting an interview for a job that I really wanted. However, that moment of happiness was very brief as I quickly started to panic about all of the potential mistakes that I could make and what would happen if I didn’t get the offer. However, when I stumbled across this blog and the equation of Anxiety = Uncertainty * Powerlessness, I realized that there was a lot more that I could influence and that I do know. I have the ability, knowledge and personality to do great on this interview and if I do not get the offer, it was due to something that I could not have foreseen and changed.

    3. I would learn to better understand people. I would get the chance to receive exclusive feedback on how to manage my negative Type A personality tendencies and use it for the improvement of my well-being and my contribution to society.

  11. 1.Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. Victor Frankl

    2. Curiosity = wonder+awe, having lead a very reactive existence, learning to step outside my emotions, observe and allow the waves to settle, i’m amazed how a situation can seem so different. Immersing myself in the natural rhythms of nature helps me do this far more effectively.

    3. I’m working on a project to design an environment where wellness, art and commercial business intertwine, Chip seems to have encompassed an enriched portfolio of achievements, its always inspirational to be in that kind of company.

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

    “The right decision is the decision made”- my father

    He’s always stressed the fact that although I should feel extremely committed and confident with a decision made, I must also look back from time to time and learn from my past decisions. The key he has stressed is it to only look at these decisions with curiosity being the main reason and not regret.

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

    Curiosity= wonder + awe. Even at the ripe age of 58 my father continues to inspire me with the way he continues to grow his company. I’ve had the privilege of learning from him at home, seeing him apply lessons with the family which I’ve seen him develop as a business man and seeing him grow increasingly curious towards life and work. Similar to Chips revelation late in life about becoming incredibly curious, I’m lucky at my age to realize this and continue to increase my curiosity. I will continue to develop my company because I’m curious about all that I can LEARN and NOT all that I can EARN.

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

    I’m the founder and CEO of a commercial real estate company in New York City. My goal after meeting and learning from Chip will be to grow the firm into the largest commercial real estate company in New York City within the next 3-5 years. I feel that his experience in growing his company is aligned very well with mine.

    Thank you Tim and Chip for publishing and sharing this.

  13. 1. “Do or do not, there is no try” ~ Yoda

    2. The quote on happiness resonated soundly with me today. I love the balance of gratitude and going after things. This is important with both the tangibles (house, car, muse, etc.) and the intangibles (family, friends, spirituality, etc.) at least these are the two areas I thought about after reading this post.

    3. I’m already the president of a small company and I’d like to build an effective plan to expand my company where it will keep people loyal and happy and eventually become one of my muses. I love learning more about what makes people tick and I look forward to growing even more in this area, I always want to keep learning. I’d also like to build a plan to change my paradigm in interacting with others where I can be a colossal influence on the world around me.

  14. 1. “Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

    ? Dalai Lama XIV


    I’ve been trying to incorporate this principle into my life for some time now, but I thought your equation was a really cool way to put it into more concrete terminology.

    It’s hard to have gratitude! It’s hard to be grateful for what we have, when we are constantly chasing the next thing. On the one hand, drive to succeed is what keeps us going, keeps us from being stagnant. But on the other hand, it can be cancerous. Always striving to achieve bigger and better things and never taking a moment to appreciate the many beautiful things we’re already surrounded by.

    I’m a musician, and spend about half the year on the road, touring with my rock and roll band. Since childhood, it was always my dream to be in a touring band, just playing a show every night in front of a couple hundred appreciative people. It was all I wanted, all i thought about, and after several years of hard work, I found myself having achieved that goal, and now I’m struggling every day to appreciate it. At times I find myself wracked with envy, looking up to the bands that we’re opening four, thinking why aren’t we BIGGER, filling arenas instead of rock clubs, making more money, playing cooler music and on and on and on. Taking a step back to think about what I have and how cool it is, to appreciate the experience, and not worry so much about the end goal definitely helps. I even set a daily alarm on my phone to remind me that this day is a gift 🙂 But I know I still have a long way to go, and it’s something I try to work on every day.

    3. I think I could learn a lot from Chip’s management skills. I act as the manager of my band (which is a small business at the end of the day), and I know I could be more direct, more assertive, and also probably more empathetic to the other members, which I’m sure would in turn drive them more and keep us moving in the right direction.

    In addition to playing music, I’m heavily involved in my families business. It’s a small but growing company, and as I’ve taken on more marketing/management responsibility, I’ve found myself growing frustrated. We have a website that generates great traffic, yet sales are slow. I feel like there are several relatively simple things that we could do to maximize conversions and increase revenue, yet it’s hard, especially given that I’m working with family, to get anyone within the company to take action. I feel like Chip could probably offer some good advice in terms of how I can push the other employees to make the company the best it can be, while at the same time letting some stuff go, and focusing on the things that I can actually have a meaningful, direct impact on.

    Lastly, and I hope this doesn’t come off as cheesy because it is quite sincere, thank you for posting this “contest.” Regardless of whether or not anything comes of this, or anyone even reads this, it was a great and spontaneous reflection to start my day.


  15. I read a great quote/thought just seconds before reading this post. It goes: “Passion is the driving force that catapults us forward even when our motive, intellect, and character are called into question.”

    What this tells me is that if an organization and its leaders can create the conditions for people to express and cultivate their passion in relevant and meaningful ways at work, the organization has a great chance of succeeding. The people will be encouraged to explore their Curiosity, which will help them create results of Wonder, that in turn create actions that Awe.

    I’ve had an idea for a long time about positively engaging the underprivileged for a profitable, charitable cause. I’d like my day with Chip to help put it in action.

  16. 1. Favorite Quote: “Your Network = Your Net-worth” –Not sure who originally quoted this but i got it from your recent interview with Chase Jarvis.

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

    — All were great but if I had to choose one I would pick- HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT. This really stuck with me for many reasons. It really makes you think and reflect when you put this equation in your own life. What makes you truly happy? Are you truly great full for what you have? and what about the reasons for wanting the things you don’t have yet? Showing gratitude is very important and to be honest is most of the time easier said than done and truly think everyone can grow from applying this more in their lives.

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

    –If I had a chance to spend the day with chip in SF I would like to learn how to better apply his emotional principles in not only my business life but personal life as well. I own and run a Specialized Travel Agency based out of Aspen, CO. This industry and sales industry in general is truly like an emotional roller coaster. I know I could learn a lot that I could turn around and apply in my company and pass on to my employees.

  17. 1. “The difference between greatness and mediocrity is how an individual views a mistake”

    2. Despair = suffering – meaning

    I would use this by consciously asking myself “What else could this mean?” when faced with a situations or feelings of sadness, despair, being down, upset, etc. By asking this again and again your brain will be forced to come up with other answers to why this is happening or happened – and those other meanings will make it more empowering or help me realize a lesson. Would also use this questioning when talking to friends when theyre down

    3. I would seek to incorporate his way to thinking into more companies as I do strategic consulting. However its hard to say, someone said “the meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed” – so there will likely be other things that come out of meeting with Chip that might just set a chain of events that are hard to predict now

  18. 1. “When you develop yourself to the point where your belief in yourself is so strong that you know you can accomplish anything you put your mind to, your future will be unlimited.”

    – Brian Tracy

    2. Curiosity = Wonder + Awe

    In our connected Universe, our environment plays a major factor in our mental state, thus determining our thoughts, behaviors and results. Using this equation (and the cool habitats exercise!), I can carefully choose my environment/habitats – those that will inspire me and build my belief and curiosity whilst negative emotions are non-existent or easily rejected, which will result in the attainment of my most desired outcomes.

    3. “True leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” -Unknown

    After a day with Chip in SF, where I will have built the psychological foundation I need to succeed, I will build a group of leaders that create change in the world, specifically, leaders in the field of NLP. They can help others to reach their desired outcomes and levels of acceptance, gratitude and happiness whilst also inspiring them to do good in the world, in whichever way they choose.

    I see this strategy as ultimate leverage i.e. I could help 1,000 people with their emotional issues and help them to become happier OR I could teach 1,000 “leaders” to do this, which would effectively help 1,000,000 people.

    Thanks in advance for your consideration 😉

  19. Great article. I was just diagnosed with lupus so the timing for these thought provoking equations couldn’t be better.

    1. “Take what you need and leave the rest”

    2. The exercise metaphor really clicked for me. 2012 has brought changes in practically every area of my life, including losing weight. Exercise requires commitment, the right attitude, corrected habits (to name a few) which are the same requirements when exercising emotional muscles. To see this time as an “opportunity” to change emotionally to prepare for the future gives hope and meaning. Mind-bending!

    3. This article is very intriguing and causing a paradigm shift when I really need it. I’ve started to make changes in my life to lessen my anxiety and stress, a year ago I moved and gave away literally half of what I own to make my life simpler and live the “being happy with what you have”, and I’ve gone off painkillers that clouded my ability to think and compressed my naturally bubbly personality. I would love, love, love the opportunity to discuss the wonder and awe equation with Mr. Conley to renew my curiosity and enjoyment in life.

  20. 1. Favorite quote: “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.” The Beatles

    2. Favorite equation: I love the happiness equation, especially the part about gratitude. We only see “problems” because we ask “What’s wrong?” Once we shift that paradigm and only ask “What’s right?” (i.e. What am I grateful for?), life makes a tectonic shift.

    3. Favorite thing to build: A TV series set in an ecovillage. Logline: “Occupy” is a quirky TV dramedy following six 20-something’s who live at the Milagro Springs ecovillage. Besides being green and sustainable, Milagro Springs is a retreat center that hosts weekly “self-help” workshops that draw new characters and love interests for the gang to wrestle with each episode. I jokingly call it “Sex and the Country.” As Time magazine predicts, “The Dropout Economy” (people living off the grid, powering their homes and vehicles with wind generators and solar panels) is going to be one of the top trends in the next decade.

  21. I’m trying to type this response while standing and/or jumping up and down, and it’s quite difficult! Deep breath… sip of coffee… relax. Ok, much better. The entire article is incredible but it’s the overview of the 3rd emotion, anxiety, that has me so giddy, or “eyes wide open!”. Without further ado, my answers to the three questions, and my explanation for the excitement reference above:

    1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    — Love this question. I happen to carry with me a small black journal that I use to collect quotes from famous (and not-so-famous, thank you Jeff!) people I meet, as well as written phrases from books I’m reading (currently, Unbroken). Hard to choose a favorite, but in light of the excitement I’m feeling right now, here it is: “What the fuck have you done lately?!” This is the end of the very last scene of Wanted, where James McAvoy kills his nemesis and then turns to the camera ( Incredible! The first time I saw this I jumped out of my seat and shouted, “Yea!” 🙂

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

    — Now, to explain my excitement shared above: My career profession is as a Mortgage Advisor for a local mortgage bank here in Northern California, in the town of Danville. I’ve been in the mortgage and home loan business for 10+ years. The way Chip breaks down the emotion of Anxiety, asking ourselves the four questions, is precisely what is SO frustrating, nerve-wracking, and stressful for home loan clients these days. The unknown! Most people, both borrowers and loan officers alike, don’t know what to expect with regards to the home buying or refinancing process. There are so many hurdles, so many pitfalls, and so many restrictions. I am going to begin using these four questions immediately with every new client I begin working with. I am confident this will make a huge difference in the way we approach the transaction, the emotional smoothness of the ensuing 30-45 days, and their eventual response to how they “felt” about the entire experience. Thank you, Chip!

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

    — One month ago I set for myself a monster goal for loan production in 2012. It is a goal, quite frankly, that I’ve never reached in my 10+ years in the business. I believe that my “glass ceiling” this past decade has always been my mindset, not believing deep down that it was possible. I would like to spend a day with Chip and work to understand the framework for building the mental acumen it takes to BELIEVE one can reach goals that appear too lofty to reach. Chip obviously has this component and I want to attach myself to him, like a pilot fish to a great white, for a day. Bring it! 🙂

    Todd Galde

  22. 1) “There are no chains of houses; there are no crowds of men. The colossal diagram of streets and houses is an illusion, the opium dream of a speculative builder. Each of these men is supremely solitary and supremely important to himself. Each of these houses stands in the centre of the world. There is no single house of all those millions which has not seemed to someone at some time the heart of all things and the end of travel.”

    –G. K. Chesterton

    2) Curiosity = Wonder + Awe. I try to listen more than I talk (this is a New Year’s Resolution), since every person around me knows more than I do about something. Each person is a universe to himself or herself, and listening to them gives us a chance to make wonderful discoveries.

    3) Traveling is often terribly stressful, even for people who love traveling, and I’d love to see how he manages to make people happy in tough times. Reading books is great, and I’ll try to check out his soon, but nothing compares to meeting someone in person–there’s a whole universe out there, after all.

  23. 1) “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want”

    2) “Curiosity = Wonder + Awe” fits me just perfectly. I am constantly working to structure my life in a way that nurtures these emotions. I work hard to avoid people, places and things that rain on my Wonder + Awe parade. As a partner in a restaurant, my team of coworkers is made up of teenagers and twentysomethings. I can use this equation to help them stay curious about life….about what could be….about what they’re capable of.

    3) I want to design a restaurant business model that allows for higher wages, benefits (in addition to health, vision, dental, etc) that maximize happiness, and ongoing educational opportunities. In our industry, the Operations team does all of the hard work and does not get enough credit. I want a company that pays these great people back for the service they provide to our community.

    Thanks Tim & Chip!

  24. Hi

    1. “Its not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” – Charles Darwin

    2. I would choose the Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness equation, there is a huge advantage to finding a way to overcome anxiety. I like Chip’s way of putting pen paper and making a table so you can break down your anxiety into smaller more manageable situations. I’ll definitely use this.

    3. Spending a day with Chip I would like to get as much of my emotions under control as possible especially my anxiety with uncertain situations especially business related. I would also love to hear more about his trip to Bhutan and seeking out sacred festivals all over the work which sounds fascinating. Hopefully Chip would also learn something from me, therefor expanding both our knowledge.

    Thanks for the time.


  25. 1. “By Endurance, We Conquer” which is the family motto of Sir. Ernest Shackleton who understood how to motivate his people under tremendous stress and difficult situations. He truly cared about his people and was in tune with their wants, fears and needs. He had true empathy and wanted to see all of his people succeed — not just him. That’s the reason he made it back from his South Pole Trip and Robert Scott did not.

    2. DESPAIR = SUFFERING – MEANING. When I have to endure through challenges and setback’s, it make me suffer tremendously. What I need to do more is look past the SUFFERING and find the deeper MEANING in what I’m doing.

    I think DESPAIR is why most people can’t see their way out of difficult situations. By having a deeper MEANING to what you are doing, it reduces DESPAIR so that all the other equations can be applied.

    A life full of DESPAIR will lack HAPPINESS, be filled with ANXIETY and only have CURIOSITY about eliminating DESPAIR — that’s hardly a happy or productive life.

    3. I’m an entrepreneur that is trying to launch a new business and blog. Most of my training and experience is on the technical side (I’m an electrical engineer). I find it hard to connect the needs of potential customers to my potential offerings.

    The reason for this is I lack how to put myself in the customers shoes. That’s what I want to learn from Chip — how to walk in my customers shoes and offer them value without loosing who I am and want to be.

  26. Had to repost – grammatical error in the last one 😉

    1. “When you develop yourself to the point where your belief in yourself is so strong that you know you can accomplish anything you put your mind to, your future will be unlimited.”

    – Brian Tracy

    2. Curiosity = Wonder + Awe

    In our connected Universe, our environment plays a major factor in our mental state, thus determining our thoughts, behaviors and results. Using this equation (and the cool habitats exercise!), I can carefully choose my environment/habitats – those that will inspire me and build my belief and curiosity whilst negative emotions are non-existent or easily rejected, which will result in the attainment of my most desired outcomes.

    3. “True leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” -Unknown

    After a day with Chip in SF, where I would have built the psychological foundation I need to succeed, I will build a group of leaders that create change in the world, specifically, leaders in the field of NLP. They can help others to reach their desired outcomes and levels of acceptance, gratitude and happiness whilst also inspiring them to do good in the world, in whichever way they choose.

    I see this strategy as ultimate leverage i.e. I could help 1,000 people with their emotional issues and help them to become happier OR I could teach 1,000 “leaders” to do this, which would effectively help 1,000,000 people.

    Thanks in advance for your consideration 😉

  27. 1. “We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”

    -Hunter S. Thompson

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

    I think that this is the most applicable and relevant equation on the board because gratitude really is a gift that you can give endlessly. It takes nothing from the giver and can make a world of difference in the life of the receiver.

    The best way (for me) to apply this equation in everyday life would be for me to remember to thank the people that I walk by everyday. People that don’t expect thanks, but work to make my life easier. For example, I always make a point to thank the drivers of the shuttle at my university (which I use everyday), who spend hours on end driving in circles and loading and unloading students. Also, the maintenance crew that wash the windows in the mornings of the buildings I attend class in.

    It’s easy to throw out a complimentary “thanks” in passing, but I think that is more like throwing a wrapped present at someones feet as you walk by. Gratitude is best conveyed by giving up something of ours: Time. I need to stop and face those people, everyday on the street, it could even be the person who makes my coffee at the cafe. Look them in the eyes and sincerely say “Thank you”. I think the response is worth the 2 milliseconds spent and I intend to administer this new “Thank you” technique whenever applicable.

    3.What I would like to build on in a day with Chip would be to become a better leader. Someone who genuinely cares about the people around him/her, makes a positive change in their lives, and strives everyday to make them feel on top of the world. Because I believe there is no point in being a leader and striving for excellence in your own life to be a “super human”, if the people around you don’t feel like actual superhumans.

  28. 1. “Before Enlightenment, Chopping Wood and Carrying Water. After Enlightenment, Chopping Wood and Carrying Water.”

    I’ve embraced this quote since the first time I came across it some 20+ years ago and I share it often. It’s relevance has informed my life personally and professionally.

    Chopping Wood and Carrying Water = The Details of Everyday Life. Enlightenment = Perspective.

    When I actively choose to approach the mundane or the unexpected (good or bad) with gratitude or trust or curiosity or joy, for example, it makes the moment or the task at hand come alive in a whole new way and it inspires me to be present and in the moment. I’m no guru, but occasionally, I get a gliimpse into the wonder of it.

    2. Every point Chip makes/shares resonates for various reasons, but HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT is what I’d choose to actively and consciously apply in my life. I do already spend time in gratitude mode, but generally I’m multitasking, i.e. I’ll be taking a shower or cleaning the kitchen and thinking about what I’m grateful for and giving thanks – it’s like my prayer time… but obviously, it’s not dedicated time. So, I would (will) change that up immediately and take time out to make a practice of Gratitude. That said, I’m a nurturer by nature and so, I’m really good (and conscientious) about giving love and appreciation to those around me – at work and at home, but like Chip, I’m also heavy on Type A energy. I get things done. And in all that doing, I definitely find that I don’t always appreciate the fruits of my own labor. I generally feel that I’m never doing enough. Or that I’m not where I ought to be at this stage in my life or I feel fearful that I won’t accomplish and “have the life I want”… So, I will seriously sit with this and give myself some much needed loving too.

    3. After a day with Chip, I would get back to my vision to bring a new venture to fruition and I’d pursue it with more inspired confidence. And, I assume, I’d come away with some helpful guidance and lessons learned that will inform next steps as I pursue creating the life that I want. I’ve actually pivoted about every 10 years in life – singer/songwriter/artist to global advertising executive to bootmaker and designer. And now, I have a vision for creating a lifestyle brand that brings the best of all I ever wanted and loved to fruition. Not merely for my own satisfaction but to inspire others to live creative lives. And I look forward to great success so I can give back in bigger ways. I do this already, but with more reserves, more good works are possible.

    In closing, I want to share that 2 years ago, I stayed at a Joie de Vivre hotel in Huntington Beach – The Shoreline. LOVED IT! As a seasoned brand strategist and savvy marketer, I was thrilled to see a brand that resonated authentically across all every consumer (me) touchpoint. I was so inspired, I researched the company (not Chip) and I shared a promotion link across my social media channels along with a lot of exclamation points. So, I am adoring this blog posting – totally inspired… yet again!

  29. 1. The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time ~ Abraham Lincoln. An associate added- the past is what it is, as is, but the future is good cause it is in your control.

    2. Sadness = Suffering – Learning. I spent 2011 unemployed by choice, immersing myself in learning various trades that wouldn’t fill the void for my calling. 2 weeks of obsessive social media + reading and a nervous breakdown later, I finally woke up in 2012 knowing that I would never have felt this motivated if it weren’t for the ride.

    3. I hope to build relationships. Also, hope to not be the only one gaining value from this link but also the other way around.

  30. 1. “When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” Said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

    “What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

    I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

    Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.

    -A.A. Milne, “The House at Pooh Corner”


    My husband and I planned a great escape from the bitter Midwestern winters this year and managed, using Tim’s 4HWW techniques and a lot of effort, to land in Hawaii for 3 months for free, working at an organic coffee & mac nut farm in the mornings, afternoons spent snorkeling in the ocean or lolling on the lava beaches. By all appearances this seems like a dream come true, and in many ways, it is. However, the dream has not come without a price. It’s true to be careful what you wish for, as you just might get it.

    Through some errors in judgment while screening the farm where we would be living, we ended up at a place where we are 5-6 miles from the nearest ammenities, with no transportation, working for people who seem to be rather bitter about the fact that they need free labor in order to make the place run profitably, and don’t seem to want us here or appreciate the 60 hours/week of labor we are putting into keeping their farm running. Because this takes such an emotional toll (it’s hard to be criticized constantly for doing free work for others), I have been doing a lot intentional gratitude exercises to offset this negative emotional environment.

    My evening ritual includes climbing to the top of the highest hill on the property to view the sun sinking down towards the ocean. It includes reminding myself that I am not shoveling or shivering this winter, nor am I paying any rent or high heating bills. I get to live and work with my sweetheart, sharing the labor, the trials, tribulations and good times. During our days off, we are visiting places like Mauna Kea and swimming with dolphins. I am getting tan. In January.

    I have thought about quitting nearly every day since our arrival. I believe my exercises in gratitude, in keeping the focus on the numerator if this equation, is what has allowed us to continue our work here and keep our focus on all the good things about being here, and about all that we are learning and how we will do things differently on our own farm.

    3. When we return to the Midwest in late Feb., we will be homeless, all of our possessions being locked up in 3 storage units in preparation for our winter escape. After retrieving our 3 cats, 12 chickens and 6 alpacas from various homes and farms around the Midwest, we will be looking to put down roots in the La Crosse, WI area. It is our dream to build a small, sustainable farm of our own, a place to grow our own food and be a teaching farm for others who want to reconnect to their food chain. I would look to Chip to help us create the plan for building a profitable, unique farm business, a challenge in an industry that is traditionally full of hard-working farmers going bankrupt at incredible paces. We have some ideas for what we’d like to do, but would welcome input from an innovator like Chip.

  31. Favorite quote. Inspirational to me, anyway.


    “Ring the bells that still can ring,

    forget your perfect offering,

    there’s a crack in everything,

    that’s how the light gets in.”

    -Leonard Cohen, Anthem

    This quote is my favorite quote of all time. I’ve considered tattooing it.

    I think it demonstrates a lot of the equations already here. But the line about the crack and how the light gets in… that to me demonstrates that even if there’s despair, meaning comes from it. There may be something negative that happens (the crack), but sometimes that’s exactly what you need to bring new meaning and freedom into your life. It’s about growth, man.

    2. Applying one of the equations:

    I am already using the anxiety equation. And I love it. I’ve been frustrated at work and there’s been a lot of uncertainty. So, as a result, I figure, I’m powerless to stop a lot of it. Instead, I’m focusing on where I still have power… That involves reaching out to freelance and learning things on my own time. Building out my skills so I can adapt. And, of course, only worrying about what I can control at work (such as keeping my sense of humor around people, building them up and keeping them calm). It really has reduced a lot of my anxiety about the situation. In fact, I’ve been told that I’m one of the people with the coolest heads on my team right now (which is amazing since I suffer from strong anxiety).

    3. What would I change?

    I would spend more time working on developing even more creative ways to be powerful in the face of anxiety. I think anxiety is integral to our current culture. I want to become more comfortable with it by showing how I can be powerful. So, I can continue to “ring the bells that still can ring.”

    Actually, there are more than a few fears I would love to conquer and I would want to know his own take on how to conquer them. And I would love to have a discussion with him on my views on depression. I actually overcame my own depression because of the quote above and I’d like to talk to him about how it helped me. I guess it still comes down to the despair equation, but I think he’d love to hear the story.


    Also, I love this post. I have personally noticed that the best leaders are those who are aware of their environments and the emotions of the people who work with them and for them. It’s great that someone is actually writing a book on it!

  32. Quote:

    “THINK about the person you would like to become. BELIEVE in yourself, based upon the thinking you have done about the person you would like to become. DREAM big dreams, based upon your belief in yourself and the thinking you have done about the person you would like to become. DARE to make your dreams come true. Think, believe, dream and Dare!!”

    Walt Disney


    I own and operate a private camp for girls in Northern Wisconsin. The spirit and joy that emanates from the girls every day is truly amazing and uplifting!! It really is a fountain of youth and makes us all feel young. But, I still feel like we leave some cards on the table and that there are so many more opportunities for us as staff and leaders to expose the kids at camp, our families and friends to the wonder and awe around us.

    I would like to inspire people I have a connection with to be more curiious and to look for the wonder and awe that is around us every day, but also to pursue the mind boggling wonders in our world!!

    A Day with Chip Conley

    Wow! What an opportunity! We are both in the “hospitality” industry. I would like to find out what he finds to be the key differentiators (is that a word?) that have allowed him to separate his business from the rest of the boutique hotels.

    We “compete” with many wonderful camps in our area and we all offer many of the same activities. What can I do to improve the way we care for our families and girls and what can we do to clearly distinguish ourselves as having quality and service that is second to none.

  33. 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?

    “The truest desire of the human heart is not to be rich or famous, but to be heard… and remembered.” (my own words)

    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?

  34. My favorite inspirational quote is

    “Shared pain is lessened shared joy is increased. Thus we refute entropy.” By the author Spider Robinson.

    The equation I like is the one on happiness. Wanting what you have and having what you want. I need to seek more balance.

    If I could spend a day with Chip, I would like to have the skills to start applying his principles. Like what to look for etc. How to approach people.

  35. 1. “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Einstein


    = practicing gratitude / pursuing gratification

    To maximize happiness one needs to increase practicing gratitude while keeping pursuing gratification at bay.

    In my life I always seem to want to have more or to be pursuing gratification. But when you actually sit down and reflect on at what you are pursuing lots of the time it not truly satisfying. One needs to identify what is truly working pursuing before pursuing it, and only pursue what is worthy of your pursuit. Practicing gratitude can be difficult because lots of times once you have something you don’t actually want it or you don’t realize you want it till its gone. Sitting down and looking at what you have and being grateful for what you have on a regular basis I have found increase ones happiness profusely.

    3. I would love to meet Chip to pick his brain at how he was able to be a Chief Emotional Officer and truly use emotions in his business. I would then use what I have learnt from him in building my next venture to use emotions to keep customers satisfied, employees happy, and build myself in to a great Chief Emotional Officer.

  36. 1. “Breathe and show up – it is much easier to course correct than it is to get the plane off the ground.”

    2. The anxiety equation is a tool I can see myself using at the inevitable moments where I find myself unable to move forward due to anxiety. I tend to get into this cycle from the fear of the unknown, and this equation looks like a logical way to break the cycle. I plan to give it a try today.

    3. I will use Chip’s insights in human relationships to increase both the positivity and productivity in the environment surrounding both my business ventures and my personal life.

  37. (1) T. Roosevelt quote:

    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.


    Chip’s idea around curiosity hit home for me. It reminds me of how important it is to place yourself in an environment that breeds creative thought and alligns you to people & places that inspire love/wisdom.


    I would want to learn Chips habits and impliment those that work for me to imrove my own life.

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

    “It’s so tempting to shut people down, to limit the upside, to ostracize, select and demonize. It makes things a lot simpler. Not seeing means you don’t have to take action. Not opening means it’s easier to announce that you’re done. And not raising the bar means you’re less likely to fail. Just about all the things we treasure in our world were built by people who were intent on making things bigger, enabling things to be better, opening doors for us to achieve. The line between a realist and an optimist is hard to draw. And both might be self-fulfilling.” -Seth Godin (this really is one of my favorite quotes; I am not pandering to the post!)

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

    The curiosity = wonder + awe equation really sticks with me. I know in my day to day life of waking up groggy, sitting at a computer all day, and then maybe making time for the gym that I am missing out on what Chip calls “broadening and building.” I need to make time to understand myself and my innate curiosity so that I can become a bigger person.

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

    Believe it or not I am planning to attend business school in the Fall (don’t judge!). I am hoping that just one day with Chip will help put me on a path to figure out what industry I want to go into and how I can help make peoples’ lives better through my work.

  39. 1. “My center is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I am attacking.” -Ferdinand Foch

    2. This will probably knock me out, but the one I really need help with isn’t in this post. “Disappointment = Expectations – Reality.” Reality and I have never been on very good terms, I’m afraid. So coming up on 40 and not being where I want to be…that’s been the hardest to contend with.

    3. The thing I think I would get out of a day with Chip is I would like to see somebody that this works for. I tend to be fine and then things happen and happen and pile up and I find myself overwhelmed. And the emotions shut off, like a safety valve slamming shut. To see this sort of thinking Working for Someone…to see, in essence, a walking practical case study, would help me do what I need with my emotions so that they are helping rather than hindering me.

    Thanks for the post.

  40. 1. “The only measure of what you believe is what you do. If you want to know what people believe, don’t read what they write, don’t ask them what they believe, just observe what they do.” Ashley Montagu


    My husband and I have recently become debt free. We did this because we were sick and tired of not being able to pursue some of the things we equate with happiness due to the shackles of debt. Well, we found we still weren’t completely happy once those shackles were shaken and in looking at this equation, I think I know part of why. Gratitude. My mind doesn’t go there when I think of happiness. I can see how the focus of gratitude can balance the pursuit of gratification, and open the doors to true and lasting happiness that is not based on circumstances but on an outlook on life. This is something I can start applying today. I like Chip’s suggestion of a gratitude journal and of sharing gratitude with others. I have a blog that I can use as a public declaration of gratitude and share how expressing gratitude is changing my conscious embracing of wanting what I have. I also want to gift others with my gratitude and will seek out ways to daily share with others why I am grateful for who they are and what they bring into my life.

    3. I would like to learn more about the curiosity equation. I’m a project manager, beginner life coach, wife and mentor. I want to build the practice of curiosity into my life because I have this sense many things flow out of curiosity.

  41. two quotes: the first from, who else, Neitzche:

    “Forgetting our objectives is the most frequent of all acts of stupidity”


    “The affirming reality is that you do not need a lot of preparation to do huge things”

    Can’t remember who wrote the second quote – but it’s truly excellent. Pre-eaten doughnut to the person who can tell me who wrote it.

  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. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    From Ralph Waldo Emerson: Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

    (I’m really not this brave, rather have a fairly strong compass in terms of what I need, plus some dumb(?) lack of fear of failure.)

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


    All four equations involve things I need to work on, but curiosity is a trait I value most. Have always been the sort of person that wonders how things work, and finds fascination, with what makes the biological world tick (have an MS in microbiology). Love to try to understand and explain how things work to others by writing (am a science writer/ blogger at work).

    Think that opening up more to my interest—taking time to write more, possibly writing about science and the natural world full-time—would allow me to educate others about health and science-related topics and help me return to a passion I’ve had since childhood, about writing.

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

    1. Would like to better understand my emotional self and leave behind emotional baggage that gets in the way of doing what I really love (after reading some of the above, will be on the way to this before spending a day in SF!).

    2. Want to build a life that involves more research and writing about scientific discoveries that can help people live healthier lives. I believe that dogs (and cats, other pets) can make healthy contributions to peoples lives—we’re learning so much about intelligence in dogs that isn’t really surprising to those that pay attention. I think people can learn to better understand and appreciate their pets, through information about research that’s being done on animal intelligence. Pet owners and others can enrich their animals lives through this information, and I know this will thus enrich the lives of the people as well. Through therapy animals we can spread this further, to persons that don’t own animals.

  44. This article found me during a very appropriate time in my life. So, thanks Tim and Chip!

    1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

    – I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience and set the goals I will achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me I have asked for and receive because I have asked. — Deepak Chopra meditation

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


    When I look back at some of my missteps in life, I realize how much those mistakes have been driven by anxiety. Sometimes anxiety is so paralyzing, it causes to you not make a decision, and by not being decisive, you are letting outside factors dictate your life for you.

    Writing down your uncertainties and fears almost seems too simple, but as I ran through some of my immediate anxieties, I quickly realized this tactic would work. Acknowledging the uncertainties turns this abstract feeling of fear and anxiety into something more concrete and manageable, and since I would be proactively tackling my anxiety, it feels like an antidote to simply reacting to everyday fears.

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

    I’d like to build a life that I feel lives up to my true potential. Few people get to achieve this, but I feel like I can be one of them. I’d love to start working for myself in a way that feels fulfilling, satisfying, and maybe just leaves the world a better place when I’m gone.

    Thanks Tim and Chip for the opportunity. You’ve already helped me in ways that you may never know.

  45. 1 – It is important not to have the unrealistic expectation that we will find a magic key to help get rid of all suffering. It takes determination, patience, and more than one week. -Tenzin Gyatso

    2- HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT. I feel am constantly pursuing something I want to earn or obtain instead of appreciating what I already have or have accomplished. Learning to have a true appreciation of what you have, will allow you to appreciate what it is you truly want.

    3 – I’d like to have a better understanding of using my emotional intelligence (EQ) to improve my work as well as my personal life. Then using my EQ to start my own business with less fear and anxiety.

  46. A fantastic post, thank you.

    1. “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but nothing left to take away”. Antoine de Saint-Exupery


    This resonates – I try to practice the awareness that what you have in the present moment is the only way to influence happiness. One cannot retrospectively be happy in the past or initiate future happiness, other than through the present. Therefore the equation reminds us that present gratitude is everything.

    If we remove ‘wants’, do we kill curiosity (therefore wonder + awe)? In fact, in my humble experience, through experiences like vipassana and moments of flow – which feel to me like moments of presence rather than pursuit – I’ve understood that wonder or awe is not removed by not wanting, and in some cases it is heightened. Reminded of this, I know I will not be ‘numbed’ to life by removing wants/desires.

    I agree re: the mystics’ reduction to 0 being impossible in the mortal realm.

    Awareness helps application, but proves difficult if merely conceptual.

    So, I actively try to determine what I have. If I achieve/get something, how does it affect me? Or, if I lose something? Was I happiest when I had most? I’m trying to build gratitude mnemonics like writing, reminders to simplify, not-to-do lists, moments to appreciate, rather than pursue.

    The application feels harder than the understanding.

    Your passage also reminded me of the (Chinese) proverb, re: giving gratitude, “Fragrance clings to the hand that gives the rose”.

    3. To better understand and apply the equation mentioned above. To try to enable more businesspeople (not just CEOs) to become more emotionally intelligent in business – by example, and by spreading the word.

  47. 1. “When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” – Jacob Riis

    2. “Despair = Suffering – Meaning.” This equation spoke to my entire life experience. I was raised Catholic, and subjected to endless hours of education on the saints and their particular acts of martyrdom. Perhaps because the “meaning” part of the equation was simply assumed (even for pre-adolescent elementary schoolers), the focus of these lessons was always focused on the suffering. And, although I have since moved past my Catholic roots and intellectually rejected the idea that suffering is necessarily good, a lot of that philosophy has remained with me — to the point that, five years after reading the 4-Hour Work Week and fantasizing about mini-retirements, I continue to work 70-80 hour weeks as an attorney building my law firm, neglecting my fiancé and family, using my schedule as a weapon to lay enormous guilt trips on anyone who expresses an interest in doing anything with me socially, and taking a perverse pride in how busy and miserable I am. My solution, thus far, has been simply to try to cover up my despair with forced happiness. It has worked only on the most superficial of levels. What the “D=S-M” equation has highlighted for me, however, is that until I convert my life to one of meaning, the suffering will continue to cause a deeper despair. More important still, if my goal is to avoid a life where despair and helplessness is the norm, it does not mean attempting to avoid suffering, but ensuring that the suffering is undertaken only in the pursuit of real meaning.

    3. Chip’s construction of a life based on purpose, and a company based on moral and emotional fulfillment, is fascinating to me. In an era when most unhappy corporate employees (and executives) fantasize about dropping out of this world, it appears that Chip has taken the exact road I am currently attempting to take: Pursuing spiritual fulfillment through modern work in the modern world. Three months ago, my law partner and I launched a not-yet-successful attempt to reorganize the philosophical structure of our law firm around Don Miguel Ruiz’s “Four Agreements” in an effort to further this aim, and bring more meaning to our personal and professional lives. Reading that Chip has succeeded in a similar endeavor is nothing short of inspirational to me, and I would relish the opportunity to obtain more insight from him about how he converted the intellectual understanding of these concepts into real-life results.

  48. 1. I know it might seem like I’m trying to suck up, but I actually have this printed on my wall right now with the last sentence in red. “If you’re insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Don’t overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.” –Tim Ferriss

    2. Why just one? The one I’ll probably use most immediately is Curiosity. I teach martial arts and keep interest can be a challenge after awhile.. particularly since I plan to expand my teaching. Moreover, curiosity is a big motivator for me and I see it at work in others in marketing and copy writing. I find curiosity and inciting it fascinating. Meta-curiosity? Creating it, enhancing it, and using it in myself and others is of prime and immediate interest to me.

    3. Maslow has always been fascinating to me. I hope to use whatever I might learn to start my entrepreneurial pursuits for good. After a few false starts, its time to really do this with or without winning this. At any rate, I will be reading Chip’s book.

    Best of luck,

  49. 1) “Let each man pass his days in that endeavor where in his gift is greatest.”



    So much of my life is limited by anxiety. It is the most useless of all personal habits that I have. I have never thought of it in such a distilled fashion, which really helps to be able to move through it. Thinking in this way I am able to wade through some heavy emotional baggage that has been keeping me in near stasis for a very long time, and it frees me to the limitless possibilities of what can be.

    3) I desire to start a youth program that would not only teach these fundamentals listed above, but also outdoor skills, meditation, cooking and sustainable living to the youth. I have some very vectored questions on the “how to” that I feel could be answered through such a mentorship.

  50. 1. “If you come to a fork in the road, take it!” Yogi Berra

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

    I feel happiest when I can use all of my skills for a certain task. When I can be fully engaged. There needs to be a realistic relation between wanting what I have and having what I want as well as between doing more than necessary and doing just enough. Somewhere between watching paint dry and writing a New York Times Bestseller. Finding that balance of being content with what I have (and what I am able to do) and getting what I want (while matching my skills) is what I get from that equation and that is when I am the happiest.

    3. I would like to utilize Chip to find that stage of matching a my personal skill level to a challange and achieving more happiness. I would like to get his input and assessment about what is possible for me. Ultimately I would like to help people do the same thing. I want to be a CEO, I want to go to work and be happy and challenged and use all of my skills and work with a team that fosters that kind of atmosphere. Ok, maybe you can be part of it.

  51. 1. “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve” -Napoleon Hill

    2. Anxiety=uncertainty X powerlessness

    Taking the time to stop and preform the exercise of writing down my emotions when I’m feeling anxious will have a direct impact on both of those components. That worksheet seems like a great tool that not only defines certain vs uncertain and what I have power over, but also a great way to take a “mental breather” from the built up anxiety and just purge all the thoughts onto paper.

    3. I’d like work with Chip to dig down deeper into recognizing how my feelings effect my everyday decisions. My intent wouldn’t be to gain better “control” over my emotions but to get more insight of how I currently might be reacting to my emotions.

  52. 1) Gandhi – “Be the Change you wish to see in the world.” Its overused, I know, but it applies to every aspect of life.

    2) Tough to give just one, as each equation is right on, each fitting well into my life. I would have to choose the last: CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE. My kids keep this component ever present in my life, and its something I want more of every day. Its something I think I lost some of until I had kids in my life.

    3) After more than 20 years in the hospitality business myself, I’ve followed Chip’s company and books because I enjoy the trade we’re in together. His success here is certainly legendary. Specific to emotions, I think, their are forgotten all too often in hospitality. Even many of the best hotel names in the world seem to follow SOP/protocol over what Emotional Equations teach us. Since “you are who you hand around”, spending time with a mentor is one thing I’m always trying to do, and Chip would certainly fit the bill for me in many fronts. I’d like to hear more thoughts on Maslow, as well as how his thoughts on emotions can re-frame my personal & professional life.

  53. 1. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. – This helps keep me moving when fear would otherwise immobilize me.

    2. CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE – I think I have done fairly well with the other equations up to this point in my life, but still have trouble recapturing my curiosity. One way to really help with that, would be spending more time with my children in places like Chip describes rather than in front of the TV.

    3. After a day with Chip, I believe I would change my approach to people and how I deal with them, helping to build me into a better leader. I could continue that on through every endeavor I take.

  54. 1- Current inspirational quote: “My deepest fear is not that I am inadequate. My deepest fear is the I am powerful beyond measure.”-Marianne Williamson.

    2- Anxiety = uncertainty x powerlessness

    I am a worrywart. When things are not going well I worry and when they go well I worry they may not last. It isn’t easy to admit but it is true nonetheless.

    3-I am at a point in life where all the energy spent worrying has tired me out. If for no other reason, I no longer have the energy, the time nor money to worry as much. I wish for techniques, insights and guidance to help me change this. If only by 5 degrees. That is all that is needed to start changing one’s course in life. I know enough to recognize the moments when the worrying hits I now need someone to provide me with the next step in tackling this.

  55. 1. „If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there“.

    This thought gives me relaxation when I feel lost. Life always holds changes and unexpected. That’s what makes it an interesting journey. If you don’t have a certain goal, never mind, a path will open up and lead you to something new.


    I was very aware of the first part of the equation and already practice a great deal of gratitude for what I have and what surrounds me (I’m mostly talking about emotional things here, rather than materialistic. I take time to appreciate certain people in my life, the fact that I’m my own boss, …).

    However, sometimes I get too focused on part 2, that I don’t feel happy, even though I have all these good things in my life.

    Reading this equation black on white, it totally makes sense when I’m not happy (enough) to a) be more grateful or b) let go of something that I’m trying to have. I need to ask myself „Do I really want this or has it become the idea of having it? Will it make me happier to keep on trying?“ If not, I can let go this „want“ and the equation gets better.

    Especially when it comes to relationships with other people you can’t always control their behavior to get what you want. I guess this is where ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS comes in. 😉

    (btw. Those equations are fantastic! Thanks!)

    ?3.The beauty is that I don’t know. (See No. 1. ;-)) But I do know that new paths will open which – right now – I can’t see. Right now I’m very CURIOUS to meet him!

  56. Thanks for the opportunity to meet with Chip.

    1) “We are used to thinking of compassion as an emotional state based on our concern for one another. But it is also grounded in a level of awareness. … as people see more of the systems within which they operate, and as they understand more clearly the pressures influencing one another, they naturally develop compassion and empathy.” – Peter Senge


    I love this formula as I can now, by looking at all aspects of my life where I feel suffering is occurring, search and find meaning and thus release myself from continual despair.

    3) I’d like to work with Chip and discover, change and build upon my perceptions of what inner and out resources I have and to implement this process as a self-sustaining system. Then take this system and create a new equation of the expansion of the self and share it with others. Also I am curious to explore the statement that, “Sadness releases”. If DESPAIR = SUFFERING – MEANING then does SADNESS = DESPAIR + MEANING ?

  57. 1. “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

    2. I was really taken with “HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT.” I find gratitude to be an underrepresented emotion. Days when I wake up and acknowledge that I have a great life tend to be my best.

    3. As someone who is preparing to graduate college in a few short months, I believe the chance to meet with Chip would be incredibly powerful. After reading this post I’m sure that his insight will help me to develop a clearer path for my life.

  58. 1. “Do not go where the path may lead but go where there is no path and leave a trail.” Henry David Thoreau

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

    My father who passed away used to say this but alas, I didn’t really believe or understand what he was “really” saying. Today I get this – the challenge is applying it on a daily basis. Pain can become the gold in our lives but the catalyst is acceptance.

    3. I want to leave a legacy. I’d like to hear Chip speak as I believe Motivation = Ideas + Action 🙂 (forgive me formulating my own equations here Chip!). I bought the book on Amazon before I finished reading the post and thought that it would be interesting to have a cup of coffee with this guy. I never enter contests like this – however I live in the SF Bay Area so I don’t need airfare and I don’t need accommodation. I want to live a life where I inspire and be inspired – new ideas and fresh thinking make that possible. Be well!.

  59. 1. “Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

    2. I definitely want to find ways to increase my curiosity and love the idea of finding/cultivating sacred spaces.

    3. After a day with Chip, I’d like to have learned how to be a better leader.

  60. 1. “You never stumble upon opportunity by standing still.” One of my grandfather’s favorite sayings.

    2. The one equation that really resonated with me was DESPAIR = SUFFERING – MEANING. Previously in my life, I’ve been able to do incredible things when I was willing to take on temporary suffering for a clear and obvious reason. School both times certainly was one, the patents another.

    3. As I finish clearing the master’s school loan out later this year I’m very interested in getting Chip’s perspective on how to constructively shape a new lens when the last one is no longer relevant. Makes no sense for me to continue to focus entirely on debt payments and living with less for the simple reason of appropriately applying that cash elsewhere. Very interested in hearing how he has evolved through those life transitions himself or helped those around him do so.

  61. 1. “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

    2. Curiosity = Wonder + Awe: For me curiosity = creativity. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I embrace curiosity and creativity in so many parts of my personal life and hobbies, but not even the slightest bit in my professional life. I feel like the idea in the post above about examining the habits of curiosity (and then structuring your life to support them) is one of those life-changing exercises I can’t believe I haven’t done before now.

    3. I was raised in a family that ran a construction business where the pervasive management technique was to find the biggest, toughest guy in the plant that had screwed something up and then crush him. Nothing like a big guy in tears to motivate the troops. I started managing people using that philosophy at 22– a 5’3” girl who could use every variation of the term “motherfuck” in a development discussion. Terrifying. Almost a decade later (and in a much more refined industry) I think I’ve smoothed down some of those rough edges in my management style (and life philosophy, if not in my vocabulary) but I still struggle to fully embrace the principle of self-actualization in business, even though it’s a central part of who I am outside of work. I think a conversation with Chip would be a step closer to tearing down the mental delineation I’ve made between what work is and how it should be approached vs. “who I am”– someone who embraces self-actualization in my life and hobbies. This is something I believe has stopped me from pursuing a different path in my life and career even when the opportunities have presented themselves.

  62. 1. Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.


    This year I am committing to seeking the sacred places and events that inspire me. I’ve been hit on the head recently with the glaring observation that I’m not getting any younger (just turned 36) and I have to create space for doing all things I really want to do. This post echoes LOUDLY (shocking! I’m being sarcastic) that realization that if I make space to do what inspires me, my work becomes more inspired and joyful, and creative, and amazing too. Sacred not serious is something close to my heart that I need to be reminded of!

    3. The Reiki School + Clinic , my business and passion, is both a business and a sacred, spiritual practice. It just turned 13 January 1st and I still have a lot to learn! I love learning from people who can translate making the world a better place into something that also helps pay the bills. Any time I could spend learning from Chip would be directly applied to continuing to create my own and others happiness through our work at The Reiki School, building a thriving community of amazing beings in Philadelphia. …And maybe we’ll also see you guyz at burning man! Look for the giant geodesic dome with the lovely music emanating from inside : )

    Pick me pick me pick me! I’ll actually use the knoweldge

  63. A favorite quote: “Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive.” – B. Bunny.

    Chip’s despair equation spoke to me. I’ve been dealing with major depression since my early teens, and despair is a constant companion. It’s the dark, yawning gap between me and my goals. Seeing Chip break it down to its components helps shake loose some new ideas for altering the equation. The depression circuits in my brain might be intractable, but I could work on finding meaning: the space between stimulus and response that Frankl spoke of.

    I’ve read Frankl, I’ve read about rational-emotive therapy (or whatever the shrinks are calling it now), and I’ve put some of it into practice in my life. It would be amazing to spend a day with someone like Chip who has put Frankl’s approach into practice so thoroughly and effectively.

    After a day with Chip, I’d identify ways to change the despair equation and take concrete steps toward building a writing-based small business that I’ve been thinking about and planning for since I first read 4HWW.

  64. 1. Life, if lived well, is long enough. –Seneca

    2. Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness

    I have often left things undone for fear of an unknown result. Lacking certainty, I have hesitated and lost opportunities. If I were able to have a clearer understanding of what I do know and what I can influence, on a consistent basis, countless opportunities that would have been lost would become paths taken. At this moment, I am about to embark on a business venture and have found myself in an all too familiar state: anxious.

    3. I want to start the business I have been delaying for months and would like to return from San Francisco with a clear plan for doing this.


    1. “Barn’s burnt down… now I can see the moon.”

    Masahide, Japanese poet Life happens and sometimes if we pause long enough, look long enough or just plain decide we are going to find the gold in adversity we do.

    2. CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE I love this idea of being a witness, deeply noticing and instead of defaulting to fear or anxiety choose to be curious about it. We can do it with emotions too to create to more wonder in our lives, ahhh, there is my old friend (or fiend) Fear, be curious, ask yourself, what is happening here that fear runs in like a firefighter to a flame? what is underneath? what is fear protecting? stay, breathe and find the joy!

    3. I am getting ready to launch the New Doll Army (NDA) which is about creating right livelihood and new dollars for women entrepreneurs who do not want their creativity, vision or voice to be swallowed up in the face of fear.

    I feel so close to realizing my vision and know that my contribution on this planet is inspiring women (and men too) to create their vision whatever it might be. I think Chip understands what it means to lead from your inner power and I am deeply interested in speaking about this. Thank you.

  66. 1. I first saw this quote in the Sunbeams section of Sun Magazine – it helps me better welcome the Unknown we encounter in Life, and mitigate my nemesis, Anxiety: “Life is like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” -E.L. Doctorow.

    2. I can definitely apply Chip’s Anxiety equation to better maintain my confidence, to shed light on what makes me nervous about the unknown, about what I can’t control, about these various “doomsday” scenarios (that won’t likely happen, of course) but nonetheless rip up my insides. I’ve got some powerful tools now, with Chip’s equation and Seth Godin’s trusty quote (“Anxiety is nothing but repeatedly re-experiencing failure in advance”). Thanks Chip.

    3. I’m born and raised and still live in the City. We have two young kids. While this would take (much) more than a day, one thing I’d really like to explore with Chip is how to improve our public school situation. Of course money is always the paramount issue, but I am particularly interested in working to instill confidence in parents to enroll their children in our public schools (many don’t). If the government can’t (or just won’t) do this, the community needs to. One small baby step.

    Thanks. Casey Berman

  67. great guest post and thanks to Chip for dropping some knowledge on us!

    1. “success leaves clues”

    our access to people that have done it, thought it, leaved it etc is unparalleled in this day and age. the maxim “work smart, not hard” is more true than ever! (though some hard work may still be required)

    2. as an artist the curiosity equation applies the most to me and that quote about genius being a genie may have to replace my answer to number 1.

    3. developing proactive methods for connecting with my customers, fans and readers, both existing and new. As a comic writer/artist they are the lifeblood of our business fueling motivation, curiosity and inspiration.

    thanks Tim,


  68. 1. “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.” This struck a cord with me. I’ve always had a hard time appreciating my life because I was so focused on looking at the goals ahead.

    2. Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness. This equation would help me most by implementing and sharing it with my employees. I run a 1000+ person company (casinos) and I see anxiety from my employees every day. I want them to know where they stand with their managers and the company at all times. I want them to feel that their work is at least one place they can feel confident and secure in their life.

    3. After my day with Chip, I hope to put a roadmap together to better the life of my employees and in turn learn ways I can be a better leader, Husband, Father and person.

  69. 1. “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it”

    2. My favorite equation is ANXIETY. If we distill the anxiety equation down to identifying what causes feelings of anxiety and facing them head-on, we’re all better people in the end. Affecting and Influencing the things that **are** in our sphere of influence allows us to prepare to minimize the unknown. As we consciously step through this process, it produces feelings of level-headedness and reassurance that we’re doing all that we can to be proactive in bettering our situation.

    There will always be some sort of anxiety in life, but if we can “plan for the unplanned” then we can minimize that to an exponential extent. Lastly, there are elements of every situation that will ALWAYS be out of your control (weather, geopolitics, the economy) that have to be dealt with as such. It’s important to recognize those elements and to build the consequences that they may offer into our contingency plans.

    3. I’d like to build an online/interactive training resource (video, checks on learning, case studies, etc) for professionals who are involved in high-touch service industries whose job and reputation depend on their ability to provide the utmost in service. I’ve heard of individual consultants (from Ritz, Four Seasons, etc.) who have struck out on their own to do speaking series’ on this, but I’m not aware of a resource where someone like Chip could send his people to learn some of the fundamentals (and eventually advanced concepts) in customer service and emotional IQ.

    This concept could be broken down by industry (hospitality, professional services, legal, luxury, etc) and tailored to specific groups of corporate and individual “handlers” who deal with the most senior of influencers in the world. This is especially critical in a global economy where the people who are offering the customer service need to understand the different varieties of clients from different parts of the world (Asia vs. Western vs. Middle Eastern, etc…)

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

    Failure will never overtake you if your determine is strong enough. Og Mandino

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


    I live in Michigan and within 2 years of graduating I experienced 3 lay offs. I now co-own a website with my fiance and have a full time job, but I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for the anxiety I felt during that period of transition. At times it was disabling but eventually it motivated me to make a change. It still seems relevant now, many of my friends are having difficulty finding work and with Detroit’s latest problems anxiety is in the air again.

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

    I don’t necessarily have a change in mind, I would simply like to learn from someone with more experience. I’m sure I will want to change many things afterwards. It’s a rare opportunity that I’d love to take advantage of.

  71. 1. My favorite inspirational quote is from Desolation Angels by one of my favorite writer and he’s also from my hometown, Jack Kerouac.

    “…live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”

    This quote is short, simple, and it inspires me to live life to the fullest, take risks, and have no regrets.


    This equation would benefit me because I always wanted to learn about new places, doing new things, and finding habitats that will allow me to be more curious. I once traveled solo to NYC by bus and it was an amazing experience. The second I stepped off the bus in Chinatown, I felt energized, I just wanted to explore and talk to people. I learned to take the subway and read the map, checked out landmarks, and tried the different hotspot eateries all over the city. I’m planning on backpacking in a couple of years with friends to explore my parents’ homeland of Cambodia and the rest of Southeast Asia to learn about the struggle they endure in the late 70s. That trip would definitely help me open my mind, have a better understanding of that era, and be more creative.

    3. A day with Chip in SF would be awesome. I would be able to pick his brain about his business and learn the best places in town to explore and eat that he recommends. Hopefully I can learn how to build and run a good business like Chip.

  72. 1. “It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested.” – Lucius Seneca

    2. CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE : If you look at the “bullet point” history of my life I believe it shows that I’ve had success (great family, profitable business, good health), but inside I have a permeating feeling that I’m stagnant. I shudder to think that I would “waste much” of life as Seneca described. I feel that this equation helps reveal what I am missing, curiosity. It is now up to me to get out of my places of fear and explore my curious habitats.

    3. After a day with Chip I would hope to “open up my sense of awe” to become more curious. I’d love the opportunity to get out of my everyday routine, expand my field of vision, and just get to know a smart guy. Thanks for considering me.

  73. Look, this is going to sound really nerdy.

    But the quote I live by comes from the movie “Serenity.”

    A massive battle surrounds the ship. And the pilot, Wash, tries is best to navigate through the exploding debris and giant laser beams.

    As he does this, he repeats the phrase, “I am a leaf on the wind – watch how I soar.”

    You can watch the clip here:

    There is so much power packed into that sentence.

    He recognizes that there are so many externalities to life, and how very few things that guide him are under his control.

    And yet, he is proud. He freaking boasts about it.

    Look at me, look at my flight and my grace– and even though I control little of it, I can still claim it.

    This kind of outlook can have a tremendous impact on your life– if you have ever suffered from existentialist angst, focus on this sentence and feel the liberation and pride that comes with being completely human.

    This is where we can improve on Skip’s 3rd emotion: Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness.

    Powerlessness is a perception, and using the outlook above, we can actually reduce our anxiety by being proud of how we navigate these externalities.

    Embrace the conditions you can’t control, recognize that without them life would be really freaking dull. Soon the big P turns into a little p, and anxiety is reduced.

    A day with skip would be an exercise in using these concepts to maximize my focus. I’ve about 8 projects running in parallel and to see one get finished would create a snowball effect as each project builds on the other.

    1. Hope the quote doesn’t count against total words. 🙂

      1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

      “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” – Martha Graham

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


      Like a software programmer, I iterate. Everything. All the tiniest parts of my life are subject to untenable scrutiny and pressure for improvement. Sometimes, I feel wholly incapable of appreciating the wonder of the life that I’ve created because of my obsessive need for perfection. This drives me to great heights.

      But it’s also destructive; when I decide, often incorrectly due to frustration, something can be improved no further, I discard or destroy it and move on to “the next big thing” because I crave the nascent stages of projects, relationships, and ideas when the perfection I imagine is still possible.

      Because I thrive on the challenge itself and creating something special, the equation’s application is to remind myself every day that the greatest challenge of all for me is to keep iterating, to go further instead of destroying or abandoning what I’ve already built, to want the challenges I already have instead of new ones. In so doing, I could go further than ever before to create the life I’ve always dreamed of and thus not only want what I have (my challenges), but also have the life I want.

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

      A set of emotional tools for determining when and how to stay focused, to dig deeper and go further with the challenges and goals in my life, and when to let go and move on.

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

    “Atlas wasn’t forced to hold up the world. He was convinced that if he didn’t, the world would fall.” Mark Nepo, Author

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


    After an accident in 2010 robbed me of mobility for over a year and the one job out of four that I had the most passion for (personal training), I allowed the poison of my negative emotions to leach out into all facets of my life: My relationship with a new love interest (eliminated) and with my immediate family (strained), my primary work as a legal consultant and real estate broker (no contingency cases won, no commissions garnered, and no new business acquired), and to my charitable contributions (left all boards and relinquished a giving heart). I lost the ability to gather any fruit in the valley of my Despair. With my Japanese heritage firmly in place, suffering came easily and quickly siphoned all gratitude from my mind and spirit. This equation is ever applicable to my life in this day itself, as today I am reworking my career scenario, building a relationship, reconnecting with my family and my local community. Suffering not a constant and meaning is taking on a greater value such that despair will not be equal nor shall it define me.

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

    My favorite style of personal training to unleash is raw, barebones, body weight bootcamp. I would like to continue to build my positive momentum for valuing myself and my time in an emotional bootcamp with Chip vis-a-vis. No better way to put all of the emotional equations to the test or to gain deeper understanding of their underpinnings than through the master himself. As my mother always advises me, “Don’t waste time. Go to the source.”

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

    “Atlas wasn’t forced to hold up the world. He was convinced that if he didn’t, the world would fall.” Mark Nepo, Author

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


    After an accident in 2010 robbed me of mobility for over a year and the one job out of four that I had the most passion for (personal training), I allowed the poison of my negative emotions to leach out into all facets of my life: My relationship with a new love interest (eliminated) and with my immediate family (strained), my primary work as a legal consultant and real estate broker (no contingency cases won, no commissions garnered, and no new business acquired), and to my charitable contributions (left all boards and relinquished a giving heart). I lost the ability to gather any fruit in the valley of my Despair. With my Japanese heritage firmly in place, suffering came easily and quickly siphoned all gratitude from my mind and spirit. This equation is ever applicable to my life in this day itself, as today I am reworking my career scenario, building a relationship, reconnecting with my family and my local community. Suffering not a constant and meaning is taking a greater value such that despair will not be equal nor shall it define me.

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

    My favorite style of personal training to unleash is raw, barebones, body weight bootcamp. I would like to continue to build my positive momentum for valuing myself and my time in an emotional bootcamp with Chip vis-a-vis. No better way to put all of the emotional equations to the test or to gain deeper understanding of their underpinnings than through the master himself. As my mother always advises me, “Don’t waste time. Go to the source.”

  76. 1. It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. – Lucius Seneca

    2. CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE : If you look at the “bullet point” history of my life I believe it shows that I’ve had success (great family, profitable business, good health), but inside I have a permeating feeling that I’m stagnant. I shudder to think that I would “waste much” of life as Seneca described. I feel that this equation helps reveal what I am missing, curiosity. It is now up to me to get out of my places of fear and explore my curious habitats.

    3. After a day with Chip I would hope to “open up my sense of awe” to become more curious. I’d love the opportunity to get out of my everyday routine expand my field of vision and just get to know a smart guy. Thanks for considering me.

  77. 1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote? In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity. Albert Einstein

    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. Oh my gosh this is so true-most of the time whatever it is , is usually right under or noses. As a single mom, small business owner and cancer survivor, I have to keep reminding myself of this. When I finished treatment I went back to school to “exercise” my brain after the chemo messed with it. The school was less than 5 miles away and I graduated with top honors with a Paralegal degree! Maybe these kind of accomplishments in our lives can remind us to keep going. I never would have gone back to school if my brain had not needed the ‘exercise’.

    3. What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF? I would like to change the perspective that alot of patients going through cancer treatment have regarding their situation. In the midst of it it is a horrible thing-and good things can come of it if you look for them. Life can be enriched through what seems like an impossible situation.

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

    Someday is now. The road to someday leads to a town that is nowhere. ~ Tony Robbins

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

    I can use much more focus on the numerator of the happiness equation. Obsession with the denominator is creating anxiety.

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

    An greater awareness and expansion of my emotional intelligence.

  79. GREAT POST…so rich with inspiration and information! THANK YOU

    1. “Life is just a series of moments. If you miss the moments, you miss your life.” Robin Sharma

    2. Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness

    I teach people how to live in the moment by embracing everyday passions as rituals. My main method is yoga combined with chocolate, wine, and music. But I’ll be the first to tell my students I’m teaching what I’m learning and anxiety slaps my ass around from time to time. The idea of having a strategy to take control of anxiety is priceless.

    3. After a day with Chip, I’d like to learn how to better harness my emotions. I’ve learned much from the yogis, my main field of study, but to learn from a business leader would be tremendously helpful as I try to crossover from yoga and share my message with a broader population. My sincerest hope after a day with Chip would be that I will finish “seeking freedom FOR life, not FROM life.”

  80. 1) I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.

    2) Curiousity = Wonder + Awe

    We are living in an era where the curious have an unparalleled set of open, free, connected tools and resources to rapidly explore, create and inspire new ways of thinking–>designing–>doing. No matter whether it’s art, science, business, etc. never before has a curious mind been so capable.

    3) I would gain Chip’s insight and further develop a community driven concept that allows an individual to give to his/her favorite charity in a new, simple and recurring way.

  81. 1. One day the sun admitted,

    I am just a shadow.

    I wish I could show you

    The Infinite Incandescence

    That has cast my brilliant image!

    I wish I could show you,

    When you are lonely or in darkness,

    The astonishing Light

    Of your own Being!


    Very simple, the pure act of running a startup is an act in uncertainty. As a founder and leader, to apply that to myself and share with the team during stressful periods can only make us more effective, and ultimately, more successful.

    3. I’ll continue to build what I do best, internet startups, but will apply what I’ve learned from him to them as well to the ones I advise. Oh, and write a book as well.

  82. Chip- your post hit some emotional hot buttons.

    1. Favorite Quote- ‘What you focus on expands’ (Tony Robbins)

    2. ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS – for me, when I focus on unknowns in life, I create my own anxiety. It’s as if, when things are going really well, I stop myself and say- “wait, don’t get too happy, remember things can go wrong. Or, you never know what is lurking around the next corner”. I know its crap, but it doesn’t stop it from entering my mind.

    An interesting thing happens when I focus on being grateful- its impossible to feel anxious or overwhelmed. An exercise I did (credit to Darren Hardy) was keeping a journal of what I was most grateful for each day regarding my wife. Forced me to focus on finding an awesome thing she did each day. The result was spectacular for her and me.

    The equation for anxiety is bang on. For a guy who wants control and certainty, its unsettling to know there are things I can’t control. We just had a little girl and wow, becoming a dad has opened my eyes to what its like to really worry and love someone. I don’t want to be ‘that’ over protected dad who soothers their kid.

    3. I’d like to change the way I let negative thoughts enter my mind and take over. I’ve noticed (in my journal) when I’m most productive (happy) are times when I’m taking action on fulfilling what I believe is important and useful to me and others. However, with so many distractions each day, looking to steal space in my mind, it is difficult to stay in the zone.

    I guess I’d like help with- how to control what I think about most of the time.

  83. 1. “Only that in you which is me can hear what I’m saying” ~Baba Ram Dass


    It seems to be the more obvious equation of the four yet the most overlooked my most, or at least myself. In aspiring to “be” more everyday, to set high goals, to dream of achievement and success for myself and my family, it takes constant awareness and practice not to intertwine all of the physical/emotional/cognitive “wants” that are available to us… This equation reminds me of how simple the pursuit of happiness can really be. As a founder of a startup based in Napa, CA, I can use this equation to remain grounded in the essentials, enjoy the ride, and share it with others through action.

    3. I want to learn how to be a GREAT CEO. I want to learn the tools and the mindset of Chip so that I can pass them along and create a business that gives more than its product.

    Thanks for the opportunity and the great post!

  84. 1) “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is on a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

    2) Happiness = Wanting what you have/having what you want – This is perfect for me. I’m too often looking at what I don’t have and not enjoying and sharing what I do have. It’s the perfectionist in me that wants to not give it my all if I don’t have it all figured out. So I look to what I don’t have and it fills me with lack and makes me apathetic. BUT when I am grateful for all the things in my life, the people, the accomplishments and my experience, I’m filled with a strong will to push past those blocks.

    3) I think the opportunity to have a day with Chip would help me answer some of these questions I have about myself and what’s blocking me. I loved the concept of the baggage and how we don’t even know we have it. Love to have the clarity to compartmentalize that stuff and be more productive and be able to help more people accomplish their goals and dreams.

  85. 1. When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rummi

    2. Anxiety = uncertainty x powerlessness, I used this to deal with an issue and immediately saw that it was the vague uncertainty that was creating the discomfort rather than the reality of what I could impact.

    3. What I would like to change is that while I have utilized multiple strategies and they have worked at various times in my life I seem to have a set point that I return to in times of stress. My father almost died several times in the last two year, he is still alive, yet very ill and it has rocked my world. It has opened up an underlying sense of shame that seem to raise its head when I am feeling totally in the flow, unencumbered and free to be totally myself. I want to act from my soul and feel the river of joy moving through me. Is that too much?

  86. I’d like to add on to my original comment! What I would like to change or build would be my customer service and management skills. With both my online business and full time job I have to manage customer requests and I could learn to be more empathetic and patient with others. As far as management, we have used virtual interns for the past 2 years for our website and as the site grows I’d like to know how to better manage people and determine when it’s necessary to hire. I think we’ll have a hard time letting go of certain responsibilities.

  87. 1. “You’re free to do that” This is what i tell myself when dealing with people, it reminds me to stop trying to control people and deal with them as they are.

    2. I already feel fairly content in my life. The equation on Happiness is something I already applied to get there. I use the gratitude part to remind myself how lucky I am. If I am scared of failure, i just remind myself that at least I’m not hot, tired, thirsty, hungry, or cold- that when I already have these bases covered I don’t need to worry unnecessarily about whatever it is I’m scared of failing at.

    3. I would love to understand chip’s philosophy on hiring and dealing with people. I am starting a fairly labor intensive company where I foresee doing a lot of hiring and I’m not quite sure how to do it correctly. His insight would help get it right so that employees would be happy and customers would be happy. I would love to build an understanding of how to hire people so that my employees could also be the happiest employees you’ve ever met.

  88. 1. “How often does a man say as he wakes in the morning, “I had a wonderful dream last night,” and relate how Mercury or this or that philosopher appeared to him in person and taught him this or that art. But then the dream escapes him and he cannot remember it. However, anyone to whom this happens should not leave his room upon awakening, should speak to no-one, but remain alone and sober until everything comes back to him, and he recalls the dream.” – Paracelsus, Spagyrical Writings

    2. The happiness equation teases out an interesting tension: it’s not just about either having what you want or vice-versa…but neither is it both, otherwise it would be an addition equation. It’s something else, more nuanced, revealed in an individual by how they draw their circles of wanting and having. I suspect that division line translates to: “mix in consideration for others.” In romance, for example, what counts as “having?” We could reflect on this equation to help stay cool when two peoples’ different notions of “having” inevitably come under scrutiny.

    3. I think it would be great to have a set of conversations about how a humanist, not spectacularly skilled in any particular thing, can best contribute to important issues that affect everyone alive, but that appear, from the outside, to require technical specialists. One of my biggest frustrations is what I perceive to be the gross misuse of employee energy in large, profit-oriented organizations. I’d like to lay the conceptual groundwork for a new theory of HR.

  89. 1. “Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.”

    2. HAPPINESS = wanting what you have / having what you want.

    I came out of the womb as an overachiever with high expectations of myself. That drive was extraordinarily valuable in my younger years, when I was forming an identity around my first-place accomplishments: piano competition wins, attractive boyfriends, degrees from Duke and Carnegie Mellon, a string of management-level positions in my first 10 years out of school.

    Fast-forward to age almost-35, and my biological clock had started to tick. Loudly. But it wasn’t about having a baby. I was desperate to create a more authentic life.

    Quit a job? In this economy? Teach piano while I “figured it out?” Had I gone Type-B crazy? Tim’s book set the wheels in motion, and while I can’t say I haven’t looked back fondly on my salary, there is a new self emerging that I couldn’t have predicted.

    I am defining happiness differently. In removing all of the things I “should” be doing because of my qualifications, opportunities, degrees, etc., I’m finding that I can contribute more, be more present, lead more effectively, and “try” less. From the outside I’ve given up a lot. But from the inside, I’m right where I need to be.

    Am I certain that things will work out? Not yet. But Chip’s equation is a powerful reminder that my most important tool is a mindset of gratitude.

    3. It took almost 8 months of a less hectic existence to change my perspective from “work-till-you-drop” to “appreciate what you have”. But I’m itching to jump back in. And high on my to-do list for my next career move is integrating self-actualization into the workplace for myself and my team. The opportunity to spend a day with Chip and learn from what he has accomplished would be invaluable. And with my background in the hospitality field, it would be both relevant and tons of fun!

  90. Figured I’d send this in, as it would be awesome to go to SF.

    My favourite quote: “Impossible is nothing” Muhammed Ali, incredible man.

    I love Curiosity = Wonder + Awe, that’s exactly how I live my life, always learning, always asking questions. How would I apply it? Every day I ask myself how I can improve my current emotional state, even if I’m feeling really good, and amazingly, I constantly seem to be finding ways of doing it. The answers are everywhere, all around us, in an infinite number of forms. How does that impact to maximum effect? Well think about it, if you’re feeling really good, you have an effect on the people you interact with, you make better decisions unconsciously, and you smile a lot. Seriously, to me, those kinds of ripples have effects far beyond what we realise.

    What would I change or build after I meet Chip? Well, honestly there would be nothing that I would change that I’m not already in the process of doing. We are our own mentors, regardless of who we meet. So really, what am I building? I’m building an incredible life, with amazing people who I am surrounded by every day, I’m enjoying my work, I’m being productive, I’m training in Crossfit, and I’m getting qualified to teach it, I have a wonderful girlfriend, and a fantastic group of friends. My life already awesome, but would be seriously cool to meet Chip.

    Thanks Tim and Chip for such a thought provoking post.


  91. 1. “Every person as they are today is the result of his/her thoughts from yesterday”. N. HIll

    2. Happiness = Wanting what you have / Having way you want. This is something I keep coming across when reading books to develop a positive mental attitude. I feel I need to express more gratitude toward the people have in my life and to the things I have in my life each day. I believe this will lead to a more humble state of mind.

    3. After a day with Chip I would like to eliminate all internal mental barriers and I will have gained vast knowledge and wisdom from him on how to take an “idea” and turn it into a profitable business.

  92. 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 most frightens us.”


    The last time I truly felt Awe was in the first grade after gaining an understanding of subtraction. While, minuscule to many people it took a very long time for me to understand this concept. In this moment the world shifted; from hours of confusion to a moment of comprehension. I felt in my soul, I could learn anything!

    My life’s work is Experiential education. When spending time dancing in and out of awe I have produce my best work, building programs that allow the participant’s to enter into moments of happiness.

    This equation practiced and not stumbled upon, will push me further into producing programs that inspire. The ability to further produce programs that inspire is how this practice would benefit me.


    build a stronger understanding of how to use metrics to measure happiness

    In the workplace, How does Chip help change feelings of powerless with his less well paid employees

    I would like to change my inner conflict; want of things versus a desire of minimalism

    Build a better understanding of my desire for increasing levels of success versus contentment

  93. 1. You don’t change by solving your problems; you solve your problems by changing.

    (Samuel Sagan)

    2. happiness equation is the one I am resonated most with this stage of life now. I was an engineer who started to practice meditation and study spirituality and now is a stay at home mother. I have a longing want to share my experiences. About two years ago, I started to try to understand what I want and what I am looking for besides my amazing role of motherhood. I started my website – circle of changes. Evey step I took out of my comfort zone, though I am scare but there is so much joy. Recently there is some difficulty that reading about express gratitude is a form of divine offering, really does something to my heart and remember in the midst of creating, what is important and what to appreciate even my emotional reactions.

    3. I want to learn! I want to learn to do outside of my box and create something that is resonate my passion – spirituality, parenthood and life! I hope to take what I learn to refine and continue.

    Thank you,


  94. 1. Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence


    WOW! I am currently riding out the perfect storm in my business and personal life. I’ve pondered substituting these definitions, suffering=challenges,

    Meaning=all thoughts are impermanent, in turn , never despair

    3. To listen, learn, and absorb like a human sponge the energy of a great leader so I can take this back to my life.

  95. 1. “I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies, for the hardest victory is the victory over self.” Aristotle

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

    Too often I am seaking something else that I want in my life. This causes me to forget how many great things I already have in my life. Taking an old piece from Tim’s blog about a year ago and adding it to this equation I am going to wear a bracelet and rotate it from wrist to wrist when I practice gratitude. Not the thought of being thankful but the physical act of expressing thanks.

    3. After meeting with Chip I would like to build a gym centered around lifestyle coaching not purely exercise coaching. I see a lot of members in my gym go and just try to beat themselves down physically thinking it will make things better. I want to connect with people through coaching on the overall lifestyle quality. How is the sleep, how is the nutrition, how is the stress and then work in the physical activity. Quality of life is a balance but I see so many people flatlining through life thinking that if they do crazy hard workouts they can eat like shit which causes sleep to suffer from over exerting and poor nutrition which causes high stress. Too many coaches see members as $$$ and do not touch on the persons life outside of the gym.

    Excellent read, Thank you for the post!

  96. “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die discover that I had not lived.” –Thoreau

    Despair = Suffering – Meaning

    Life is Dukkha– a challenging truism. However, I really like the concept that meaning can lessen suffering. Living deliberately and exploring your relationship with yourself and your relationship with the world is no doubt a challenging process, but hopefully a rewarding one. After working abroad in the private equity world I have lived through the trappings of the modern world and can attest to their shortcomings. However, I am excited to be on the cusp of starting a new chapter of my life where I am now more focused on building meaning in my life. I hope to work with a non-profit micro-finance organization to further develop Muhammad Yunus’s concept of social business as a way to alleviate poverty. I am hopeful that through this experience I will not only be able to affect sustainable positive change in the world but also build meaning in my own life.

    Historically, I have found business success through the traditional tenets of leadership. I would take my time with Chip to better understand how I can utilize the concept of EI leadership in my new role, how I can better leverage Maslow’s theories to catalyze motivation in my organization to affect change, and lastly I would love to explore how we could better spread these concepts of self-realization, continued learning, and self-discovery to make a more meaningful society.

  97. “Those who can not command themselves to relax have yet to know their command” – Yogi Bhajan

    I’m a single mother, freelance web/graphic designer, marketing consultant and manager for people who dedicate their life to uplifting others, physically, mentally and emotionally. I do more work, have more responsibilities and have to rely and trust in myself more than I ever. I have never been happier. Why? Because I have meaning to my life. The more I realize that I have value to offer others which makes all of our lives happier and more prosperous through the achievement of purpose, the less suffering I endure from stress. Stress is still there. There are things to be done, deadlines to get them done by and a solid base of clients who continue to grow and always need support… sometimes all at the same time. And that’s great. I care about what I do, so when I look ahead at my long day, full of tasks, there is no despair. I take a deep breath, and move forward. Staying relaxed in the midst of activity allows me to stay out of the reactive mind and into the mind of choice. I choose meaning in my life for maximum benefit – everyday!

    Working independently, I am well versed in self-motivation. I also spend time inspiring others through yoga and writing. However, when I put on my “manager’s hat” I find myself not as equipped to successfully motivate the staff I manage for clients. Noticing this I am reluctant to take on my own staff. Spending my day with Chip would help me build the confidence and skills needed to grow into this area in order to help and support more clients, who in turn, help and support even more people!

  98. 1. For what benefit will it be to a man if he gains the whole world but, forfeit his soul? – Mt 16:26.

    2. I used ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS and the Anxiety Balance Sheet to solve the first anxiety that presented it self as I was reading the post.

    Problem: My 5 yr old daughter a month from starting school won’t wipe her self in Bathroom without a Wet wipe causing us to bring her one when she is on the toilet.

    Our Balance Sheet:

    Jade won’t wipe:

    1. We Know:

    – Doesn’t want to get hand dirty when poops.

    – Want’s wipey.

    – Improving.

    2. Don’t know:

    – if she will wipe herself in school.

    3. Control:

    – Wipey container in bathroom.

    – rule one wipey per visit.

    4.Can’t Control:

    – What she will do in school.

    Solution to Anxiety: Wipey in WC

    3. A plan for a successful new Vacation Rental Website that will be built to sell for 100’s of millions in a short period of time.

    I don’t know if my example is what you had in mind but, the principle had good results in the application. And I put it right to work.

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

    “People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”

    So beautifully simple, though deconstructed, has deeper meaning. As a philosophy, living this way means living a conscious life of awareness every moment.

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

    Anxiety = uncertainty x powerlessness

    My childhood was filled with uncertainty on a daily basis – couple that with a small child’s lack of agency, I developed a heightened sense of anxiety. In an effort to stop taking anti-anxiety meds, I read a number of authors, mediate and practice yoga.

    This equation breaks anxiety down into its constituent parts – decreasing one or both multipliers will decrease anxiety. So, decrease uncertainty by driving towards clarity or additional information if more information exists that would affect decision making. Make a decision as soon as you have enough information. Accept the consequences. Appreciate consequences result from agency, which is one’s personal power.

    Moving forward, I’ll look for sources in my life drive uncertainty or places where I’m not embracing and using my power when I feel anxious.

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

    I’m currently in the process of enacting change, both personally and professionally. I’d like to incorporate the lessons I’ll learn with Chip into my professional projects and empower junior staff to (a) be happier; (b) feel less friction as they develop. Personally, I’d like to discuss with Chip how to become a vessel of love and light, especially when I’m in situations that especially seem to lack either or both.

    Thanks for providing us with a platform to share our thoughts on points worth pondering!

  100. 1. “…everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor E. Frankl

    2. The equation that resonates with me most is Happiness = Wanting what you have / Having what you want. I go in waves and have times where I can easily focus on all that I have and feel utterly grateful for everything in my life, but I quickly follow that with a week where all I can think about is what I WISH I had and how to get what I want. Practicing gratitude for everything I already have is a habit I’ve been trying to master for some time.

    3. Rather than pick one thing that I’d like to change or build on after a day with Chip, I would hope to spend the day with an open mind, learning more about the equations presented in his post, observing his leadership in action and see what changes spark from that day. I have no doubt that I’ll be able to take the experience, better myself with it and then use those tools to help those around me better themselves and their lives as well.