How to Become an Effective CEO: Chief Emotions Officer

Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels

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

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

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

He has figured out what makes people tick.

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

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


Enter Chip Conley

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

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

Chief Emotional Officer?

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

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

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

4 Emotions to Unpack

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

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

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

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


I am very proud of this equation.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

1. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote?

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

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

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


Odds and Ends: The Crunchies, Winners, and More

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

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

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

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

Best Tablet AppStumbleUpon

Best Mobile AppEvernote and Taskrabbit

Best Location AppUber (check out the San Francisco grid)

For all of the categories and finalists, go here.

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

Leave a Reply

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

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

  1. 1) “Expecting is the greatest impediment to living. In anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.” -Seneca

    2) Happiness = practicing gratitude / pursuing gratification: It’s good to have ambition, but there’s a fine line between being goal-oriented and goal-fixated. This post has finally convinced me (I hope) try out an idea that I have always thought sounded appealing, but have never put into practice, probably because of the benefits being so intangible: I plan to spend at least 15 minutes every morning for at least the next 30 days meditating on the Buddhist concept of “mudita,” selfless joy, both reminding myself of all the things in this world for which I am grateful and finding happiness in the good fortune of those around me. I hope that these inward thoughts will spill over into outward expressions in my daily life.

    3) I have started and involved myself with a number of small muse-type business with the goal of Making Money. I’m ready to progress to the next step of Making a Difference, and I hope that spending some time with an emotions guru like Chip will help inspire me along this path.

    Thank you, and thanks for the great post!

  2. Henry David Thoreau said (from Walden):

    “Nay, be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought.”


    As I raise two young children with my wife we try to practice the act of removing ‘clutter’ from our lives. We believe this act will help us gravitate towards the numerator. The difficulty lies in the denominator because we’re constantly discussing what we ‘need’ to buy (really ‘wants’) and it takes so much time away from truly enjoying what we have. I truly believe that Thoreau’s suggestion about self discovery can only be realized through some degree of voluntary poverty. How can I teach my kids to be happier unless I practice this philosophy?

    On the back of a truly mind-blowing experience with an expert in Emotional Intelligence, I would hope to supersede some of my older models of thinking and to become more proactive in life (business & family). I would accomplish this by learning how to empathize more quickly and on a deeper level.


  3. “Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.” – Mark Twain

    Curiosity = Wonder + Awe – I have noticed in my short time on this earth, that when a time of crisis occurs and we should be most curious as to how to solve a problem, most revert back into a shell. This, from my experience, seeps down from the people at the very top. We have too many leaders, and too few of those who lead. A leader is a person with power or authority, where as a leader inspires and motivates us. Many people go for the job that might have the most prestige but that limits your ability to express your true self. You find yourself trapped in the confines of a system that vacuums creativity and only benefits the few. If I could properly apply this equation to every aspect of my life, it will not only benefit me, but most importantly the ones surrounding me as well.

    These two, I believe, go hand in hand. Any person on this earth has the ability to change any injustice they believe to be true. Yet few accomplish this, good and bad intentioned alike. In order to have not just change, but successful change, you have to lay a strong foundation for that change to be built upon. And that change cannot just be only what you envision, but a collage of the wants, needs, and desires of others. Don’t be a tyrant of change, but a facilitator. I want to learn as much as possible about being the facilitator. To be able to identify, understand, and most importantly, implement a plan around the intangibles that is present in every person on this earth. I believe Chip has that knowledge in him.

  4. 1. My favorite inspirational quote is from the song, Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Baz Lurhman, “Do one thing, everyday, that scares you!” Even when I am afraid to do something, to take some action that I know I need to take, I remember this and do it anyway.

    2. I could start appreciating my friends, family, and my favorite barista, on a daily basis, and do it in front of them, looking them in the eyes. As a backup, I could do it on the phone. This feels good just talking about it.

    I believe in the law of Karma and I know that being grateful, other than feeling good to me and the person on the receiving end of it, will come back to me in untold ways. (I love the book by Geshe Michael Roach, “The Diamond Cutter…” Changed my life.

    3. I would finish my book on health and get it published. Oh, and i would love to join you at Camp Maslowtopia this year at burningman. This will be my 11th year in a row. (Yes, I am doing a little bit of that, trying to impress thing!)

  5. 1-“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

    ? Michael Jordan


    There is so much I want to do; remodel my new house, travel, get away from having a job and move into creating and internet marketing firm, but that all revolves around ambition, the other side of the blade to success. Still for weeks, or months I’ve lost track of time, gratitude keeps pushing its little head through. “Sean, you’re doing well in life and that’s great and all but you are not paying enough attention to me”. A year ago I found the power in giving to charity; this was my first step to creating a continuous gratitude platform. I plan to take one moment each day to have a conversation with a stranger, find about her day a give that person a chance express her exciting on goings.

    3-My deepest desire is to run a program that teaches people to how harness their potential. Developing myself, and understanding how I did it throughout my lifetime, has always had a secondary motivation beyond pure self improvement. It has also been a lifetime of putting together concepts that I could pass onto others in a clear and executable practice. With Chip Conley’s help I could build a platform on how to verbally communicate my information to others. The goal is to create a training program to move past one’s preconceived notions on life.

  6. 1. Tis better to light to light a candle, than to curse the darkness.

    2. The anxiety question : I’m convinced I could do so much more with life if I didn’t worry

    3. Start with changing tomorrow, and try and achieve all the things I’ve dreamed of, but keep panicing about starting.

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

    At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive. One extra degree. Seemingly small things can make a tremendous difference.

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

    I love the thought of CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE. I have a new life philosophy to be open to all new experiences and perspectives allowing me to be receptive to whatever lessons and incidents the universe has to offer. I implemented this new philosophy following a HUGE life upheaval (divorce, job change and move all within a few months last year) in an effort to see the world differently and get out of any ruts I may have found myself in. I can further my effort to be curious by continuing to be open to anything and not allowing fear to hold me back from my ultimate potential. I am so looking forward to more awesome happenings and wonderful things that come up and continuing to be as curious as absolutely possible.

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

    I have a belief that everyone comes into your life for a very specific reason and at a very certain time in your life. I think I am currently in the process of transforming my life into a new stage and changing where I will be in the future from what I was in the past. I view every contact with new people as a sponge is in a pool of water. I extract as much as I possibly can from conversations to gain new knowledge, insight and wisdom. I would hope that at the end of a day with Chip, that I could both give and receive a positive influence, interaction and experience.

  8. 1- “A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, can even enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.”

    ? Daisaku Ikeda, The Human Revolution

    2- Applying the equation: Despair = Suffering- Meaning. I’m constantly trying to apply this to my daily life at work. I work at SF Veterans Medical Center and deal with many different types of injured veterans. Some physically, some psychologically, some emotionally, etc. This population is hard to reach at times, but by giving them a different perspective I try to impact them at each encounter.

    3- I’d like to build a company or organization that truly cares for the veteran population and provides better information on available resources; empowers the veteran to make changes and improve their life; Inspires veterans and families to live a contributive life.

  9. * Submitting again, just concerned that perhaps my previous post was missed in moderation

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

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

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

  10. 1. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” – Steve Jobs

    2. Curiosity = Wonder + Awe. I love this. If you stop being curious, then you stop learning. If you stop learning, then what are you living for? I will endeavor to increase my curiosity every day.

    3. After a day with Chip, I would like to continue to build my startup, and continue to grow into the CEO role. I have no doubt his advice and guidance will be invaluable.

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

    “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.” – Roger Bannister

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

    Curiosity = wonder and awe

    I work in an office. It’s actually a nice and somewhat large office, at least in comparison to other offices I’ve had. I have a couple of pictures on the shelf, a few degrees framed on the wall, and an unopened bottle of wine given by a vendor a few years ago. This is where I do 95 percent of my work, which requires quite a bit of curiosity. I honestly never realized how much my job – or at least my ability to be good at my job – depended on curiosity until I read this equation. Already, this equation has provided a benefit simply because of this insight. For maximum benefit, I am going to foster this curiosity. I will spend less time in my office. Less time at my computer. And, less time staring at the same problems, hoping that a creative solution will just come to me. I’m curious already to see what happens.

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

    The nature of my job, which I mostly enjoy, inevitably requires some time spent in my office or in front of a computer. I want to build a place in my office and in my home that fosters curiosity. There will be art. And maybe some books on architecture and cooking and running. I would like to change these environments in a way that facilitates wonder and awe and then curiosity. I’m not quite sure how to do that yet. I would like to ask Chip why the crashing surf, the kids, the museums, and the animals in the zoo stoke up bigger thinking. I think this could lead to big changes.

  12. 1. “Do not think like a human. You have the ability within you to create anything you wish. Take responsibility for your journey and make no adjustments out of fear.” Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll

    2. CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE : I’m in a place in my life of massive recreating/redesigning. I’m creating the life I have always wanted. In the past, I felt board with my life and current work situation. I love the idea of finding Wonder and Awe in what I already have in order to generate curiosity and more experiences. I had never considered curiosity as a key ingredient to creating ‘big thinking’, but when I think about the people I know and who inspire me most, these people almost always act from a place of constant curiosity. From this equation, I’m going to create a list of what inspires curiosity to inhabit my life and what seems to block it’s inhibiting. I’m hoping my findings will help me too, learn to create the ideal environment to generate more curiosity.

    3. I’d love to learn more about emotional intelligence from Chip along the lines of working with people and helping to inspire them. I’m in a place in my current job where I am taking on more leadership roles. I’ve never had very strong manager skills, but I’m seeing, how important it is to learn what makes people tick and helping them to also achieve their dreams in the context of the work environment. I’d also like to find and fine tune my natural skills in working with people and EQ and I think Chip can help with this given his many years of positive experience working with others.

  13. 1. Quote that deeply inspires me:

    “If you’re frightened of dying, and you’re holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. If you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the Earth.” From the film – Jacob’s Ladder – written by Adrian Lyne.

    2. Equations = Maximum Benefit! I’m all on fire with the idea that these equations are on a wheel, each a spoke and key to the structure and movement of my life. So today I find myself wanting to turn the wheel from the Curiosity = Wonder + Awe spoke. When I’m fearful or anxious I lose touch with the wonder of the world and the whole wheel stops. I want to fill my tank today with more curious places and let the sacred sing to me again. Let the wheel play and roll through my life, learning and celebrating with each turn.

    3. I want to talk and jam ideas with Chip about education/professional development through gaming for leaders.

  14. 1.”The Most Important Thing You Can Do Daily Is… Ask Questions Relentlessly”. -Mike Murdock

    2. CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE. I have utilized this equation throughout my life. I grew up in Mississippi in a small town with a population of 7,300 people. This environment was one that stifled dreams and creativity through backwards thinking. My curiosity of the world partnered with hope in Christ has allowed me to persevere through the harsh realities of my life.

    3. Recently I have been researching Maslow’s work and have attempted to eliminate things that are stumbling blocks to me becoming a better person. If granted this opportunity I would return and begin work on a nonprofit named “EDGE” (Educating Dynamic Generations Everywhere). This organization would focus on exposing under privileged youth to different perspectives and new experiences. It is tough growing up with little and not having any positive influence in your life. This organization would give youth a peak at what this world has to offer and challenge them to achieve their full potential.

    Thank you for your time and consideration. As always great post Tim.

  15. 1. 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.


    I have spent years chasing after career and financial success. Although i have attained some of it (definately not all), it is so important to MAKE time for the things important to you and around you. Making sure to never forsake time with the people you love, because you are chasing something that matters ALOT less than they do

    3. If I had the day with Chip, I think I would use the time to ask him about altering thought processes. Instead of focusing on negatives, turning things around to be about positives. No matter what the situation is, because it is always easy to see the negative in any situation, but to really figure out how to take the positive out of ANY situation would be just a fabulous asset to have!

  16. 1. “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” ? Jon Kabat-Zinn

    2. – Curiosity = Wonder + Awe

    I recently switched Jobs and moved Stateside from the UK, then got made redundant after 3 months. Now I’m back home sitting here trying come up with ideas to best invest the money I earned and start my own business. You just helpfully reminded me that I’m not going to come up with a solution just by trying really hard, but ultimately sitting here in front of the computer being endlessly distracted by the unimportant fleeting ideas that die as soon as they appear. It’s not easy to achieve these moments of wonder and awe, but it’s more important than ever, and using curiosity as a starting point now I have somewhere to kick off from.

    3. – I want to build a successful business that I love, easier said than done. But I want to know how how Chip got from A to B to C to D, and the improvements he saw when he started focussing on mastering his emotions.

  17. Favorite quote- “Here’s to the Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes.

    The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo.

    You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore

    them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them

    as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think

    they can change the world – are the ones who DO!”

    I can apply Happyness= Wanting what you have/ having what you want. In order to gain real momentum and instant results from this experience. I am a self made man who never went to College. After building a multi-million dollar real estate investment company I lost most of my wealth in the crash of 2008. Parlaying some investments at the time into real business since then has allowed me to stay in business and continue to employee people and live comfortably with my family, however I have felt unsuccessful over the last 3 years and I think I have been disregarding the truely great things in life and focusing on the fact that I ahve not risen back to the levels that I hold myself and my company to. 4HWW/TF really changed my perspective on life in general (i read it for the first time 4 months ago and have since made groundbreaking changes to my life)

    I would like to change into more of an “emotional thermostat” for my businesses and family, investigating, understanding and applying your ideas and principals in life can and will assist me in moving my world forward in a positive, motivated, exceptional way.

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

    “Constant effort is life’s greatest shortcut!!” –Coach Kamogawa, Hajime no Ippo

    This quote actually comes from a boxing manga that I read as a teenager, and it really got me pumped about not only going for bigger and better goals, but to continue to learn and grow from each and every experience I have. There is so much wisdom in that manga. And honestly it has pushed me forward in achieving my physical goals.

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

    I can definitely apply the anxiety=uncertainty x powerlessness. I’ve been waiting for a while to go teach English in some other parts of the world, because it would excite me, (thanks Tim) and it really draws upon my strengths and life goals. Part of that entails waiting to hear back from a placement company. I’ve been waiting for a while, and it kind of stresses me out not knowing what’s going to happen. Right when I read this my mind started working out the different angles of how I can break down this feeling, and come up with an actionable plan.

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

    I would like to see how I can develop a curriculum that not only teaches students how to speak another language, but also empowers them to become understand their world, and how they become successful in it. I think that’s something worth creating.

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

    “Just do it.” Not very profound, simple but empowering.

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

    Of these equations. I’m most drawn to Happiness. I’m curious how the equation is a division of the having and wanting and not an addition of the two. I would like to how we quantify the division.

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

    I would love to apply some of Chip’s insight to fulfill my own life dreams more completely. Emotionally, spiritually and economically. I would love to meet Chip.

  20. 1. “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Teddy Roosevelt

    However, though I love sharing inspirational quotes, I’m not really entering the context. I bailed out of the corporate world to become a writer, so I have what I want — words, world travel, and lots of flexibility. But I did want to say BRAVO to Chip for doing what so many — well, I can’t say they failed to do it, because they didn’t even try — so for doing what almost no one even thought of, but which anyone who thinks should immediately recognize as valuable. The book of Proverbs says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” We have certainly seen that worked out in the corporate world today. Great to know there is someone who has the kind of vision that infuses life back into the picture.

    May your own joie de vivre grow exponentially over the years.

  21. 1)”It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done 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 and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for 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 he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

    “Citizenship in a Republic,”

    Theodore Roosevelt Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910


    At 30 years old I am going through a divorce and custody battle for my 3 year old son. Her silence in the matter has left me with uncertainty as to what she will fight for. This uncertainty of the issues contained in such a topic as divorce and child custody makes me feel powerless over my future. I am currently going to college part time and in the military full time (12 years) and iI have always wanted to have my own fitness and nutrition center, but that now seems unattainable as my mind is rittled with anxiety.

    3) I would like to build some type of bridge over this river of anxiety. Listening and interacting with a self-made succssful person may be able to help lay the plans to build that bridge.

  22. 1. “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people” – Eleanor Roosevelt

    2. ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS. Taking the time to actually analyze an issue and what I can do about it can drastically cut down on time wasted worrying, as I often find myself worrying about things that do not require any worrying about at all. This, of course, would allow for me to focus on my goals as well issues that are actually important. Also, the speed of learning increases immensely by asking questions of the unknown opposed to merely waiting to find out an answer.

    3. After a day with Chip I would like to understand his ideas more thoroughly so that I can promote positive changes within myself and, in turn, the people around me. Breaking these ideas down into simple equations is a great way to inspire change, and by exploring all of the facets of the equations, one can truly make the changes needed to become happy.

  23. 1. It is better to get lost than to never start the journey.

    2. DESPAIR = SUFFERING – MEANING. A top character strength of mine is curiosity. However, as I reflect now on the lowest lows personally and professionally, I see I have focused my curiosity on looking back, not looking forward. For example, I look back and I ask what I could have done differently and what learning I can gain from that. I have not looked forward and asked how this will serve me in the future. I am focusing on the negative, not the positive. I am applying this immediately, and already more optimistic regarding a current challenge!

    3. I want my spark back, and I want it stronger and more contagious than ever. I believe these equations can help me do this and make a profound impact on not only myself, but many others. I do this today, but not to the extent I am capable. I am a wife, a mother, a manager, a leader, an entrepreneur, a volunteer, and much more. Each is unique and I am grateful for the experiences (and experiments) each bring. I need to take a risk in my career; I have very different paths I may pursue. Executing on this choice with passion would be my focus after a day with Chip. I can’t do it all and have the equations work as I want them to. I am ready for anything. What I’m changing will be my best future and I would be honored to spend a fun day in SF with Chip – we’ll have a blast!

  24. 1. From the movie Lucky Number Slevin- “The unlucky are nothing more than a frame of reference for the lucky. You are unlucky, so I may know that I am. Unfortunately the lucky never realizes they are lucky until it’s too late. Take yourself for instance; yesterday you were better off than you are off today but it took today for you to realize it. But today has arrived and it’s too late. You see? People are never happy with what they have. They want what they had, or what others have. The grass is always greener on the other side.”

    2. Following suit to the quote I believe the happiness equation would benefit me the most. Living in the present and enjoying what I have is something I have been trying to master before it is simply a memory.

    3. The time with Chip would be best spent re-setting my “emotional thermostat” as he put it. The moods of those around you are directly related to your mood, being able to inspire better emotions would make life, work, and relationships all more enjoyable.

  25. 1. “Work hard.” — My grandfather. “Fake it till you make.” — usually attributed to AA, but I don’t know. “Stay mindful.” — Buddha. “Dont be such a pussy.” — guy interviewing me for a job during my last semester of college, about 13 years ago

    2. As a designer I initially thought Curiosity = Wonder + Awe would have the biggest impact, but on a second read I realized I am just chock-full of anxiety. I missed this at first as I interpreted anxiety as worry and, being a laid-back person, pride myself on not worrying about much. At least not the little things. But I make up for that in deeply rooted fear that leads to a paralysis of sorts. So if I think of anxiety as fear, then Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness is essential. I started the exercise balance sheet as explained, but had to put it aside because it was taking much longer than anticipated. Just listing my points of anxiety (unpacking my anxiety bag) was enlightening and satisfying. I’m at a point where there is a lot of uncertainty (starting a business, growing a company, twins due in May, etc) so listing out exactly what I know and can control vs what I can’t is a huge help and good reality check.

    3. I have a small business in the service industry I’m trying to grow and am in the midst of creating a startup in the health industry that would both benefit hugely from Chip’s insight, not to mention just the general personal growth.

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

    “Love of peace is common among weak, short-sighted, timid, and lazy persons; and on the other hand courage is found among many men of evil temper and bad character. Neither quality shall by itself avail. Justice among the nations of mankind, and the uplifting of humanity, can be brought about only by those strong and daring men who with wisdom love peace, but who love righteousness more than peace. ” -Theodore Roosevelt

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

    I am going to apply “WONDER + AWE = CURIOSITY” to keep focused on the most important factors; to keep me distracted from whats not; and to solidify the meaning of my life and end suffering.

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

    I am going to build “excitement + curiosity” for the discipline it will take in carrying out the robotical daily habits required to provide a comfortable home for the genie.

  27. 1. “There are those who think they can and thos who think they can’t and they are both right.” Henry Ford – I use this to remind myself to believe that I can.

    2. Curiostiy = Wonder + Awe

    I spent a good deal of my life doing what I thought I was supposed to do or raised to do. Go to college, get a degree, get a job with health benefits, get married, and so on. One day I found myself crying in my driveway. I had everything I was suppose to have – the house, the sports car, the good job, two beautiful children, a good husband – so why was I crying? Fast forward more than 5yrs. I am divorced, I left the job, I’m selling the house. Luckily I came across Tim Ferriss and what he is teaching. It is how I want to live my life. This is where the equation comes to life. To implement what I am reading in the 4hr Workweek, I need to be really curious about how to make it work and to be in awe of those who life the life I know is the life I want to live, but never knew how to make it work. I want to show my child that there are many ways to live your life.

    3. After spending the day with Chip in SF, I want to begin working on two things. (1) I would like to find a habitat for curiosity. That really speaks to me. I am sort of paralyzed with the thought of how to change the way I am living and implement what I am learning int he 4hr workweek. (2) I want to begin my own business, I want to take some action, not just read and wonder.

  28. Shorter version! (oops 300 word max!)

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

    Be unafraid to be bold. Fall down, get up, fall down, get up – the people that laugh are afraid to try. Nobody notices your bruises and scratches at the summit.


    I can turn suffering away from despair and (possibly) into something I enjoy, as long as I create enough meaning.

    The second way has to do with my own dna. I have had to manage chemical depression and one of the most difficult aspects is, initially, the self-hate that arises. All my problems are first-world white people problems – and yet, I would find myself miserable. Remember that sometimes despair isn’t circumstantial. If part of the equation is missing – in chemical depression it is the “meaning” aspect – then don’t feel ashamed of finding outside help to balance the equation.

    3. Many times it is our reaction to an event that holds us back or stops progress. I would like to continue to improve and be able to share skills to be able to take adversity and challenges in stride by managing my interpretation of them on an emotional level. We cannot control the outside world, but we can choose how to interpret it. I would like to gain a greater capability to communicate this.

  29. 1.”In order to be successful, one must project an image of success at all times.” Buddy Kane, American Beauty.

    “You were born an original, don’t die a copy.” John Mason

    These are the quotes I live by when time and/or money slips through my fingers and anxiety creeps in.


    The maximum benefit from this equation is something every man in America should write on the mirror for his significant other. Keeping our Attention on the Numerator. I believe having a happy household can be an amazing landing beacon for all successes. The viewpoints in this equation are enough to last a lifetime because in today’s unfortunate world of materialism, it is good to know Chip and Tim make products and talking points that won’t end up in a land fill. When one is happiest, true maximum benefit to all things in mankind can be attained.

    3. If I am fortunate enough to be chosen, I would utilize Chip’s time to become the best sponge in the world for that day. Learning from Chip would help me better understand how to launch my start up and focus on what I feel is the most important issue in the business in the world: Customer Service. I would love to shake up the beverage business and some of the products we are hypnotized by each day. I am part of a team that will not lose even if I do not succeed in this opportunity.

  30. 1. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

    2. Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness

    To me, uncertainty implies attachment to the future which I try to avoid. Uncertainty is inevitable but by focusing on the present, I think you can decrease uncertainty’s impact. I would focus on decreasing powerlessness by developing habits which are beneficial to my development and learning. By defining what my core values are, I can make small habits which will lead me to those values.

    3. After a day with Chip, I would like to change the way I approach work as an independent entrepreneur. Many of the great entrepreneurs of our time have had partners. It will most likely be an important step for me at some point to find a good partner, but right now, I do not want to wait to start building amazing products. I want to make changes to figure out how to do this better.

  31. For a day with Chip ~

    1) “When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world in my arms.” — Mary Oliver

    2) I have found self empowerment from spending time alone in nature. I resonate with your formula, Chip, of CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE!

    I love to hike in solitude and through my explorations in the wilds, my life has become joyful and I am on the path to self-actualization. I share this passion of nature with you, Tim!

    Whenever I feel down, I go to power places like the 10,000 ft Maui volcano crater. Pristine nature has the power to heal emotional ailments. Your formula, Chip, is also a solution for anxiety and the despair.

    In the last three years I have been taking people who feel troubled about their lives to the sacred spots on Maui with wonderful results. They have experienced a deep connection to life and God, a safe place to share their deepest feelings and pain, the wonder of creation, and a profound gratitude of being alive.

    The maximum application of your formula in my life would be to lead many more people who feel starved about their lives on inspiring nature retreats.

    3) A day with you, Chip, would help me build a broader base for reaching more people to take on retreats. I have the training and the wisdom and the power to transform people. I have done it for 25 years as a counselor, executive coach, workshop leader, and trainer of psychotherapists, clergy and doctors.

    Your amazing expertise could aid me in building and expanding my business to help more people become self actualized. A day with you would be off-the-charts inspiring.

  32. 1. “When somebody moves, those who stand still say he’s running away” – Jacques Brel (sounds better in French though…)

    2. The second equation about happiness sounds like the best advice to me right now.

    As a first-time bootstrapper I gave up a lot of comfort to be able to focus on what I believe will make me happy, but I forget what I already have. I mean, I already know it is something I have to work on, because I have already been told I don’t show my gratitude enough to my loved ones or even coworkers, but it’s one thing to notice it, and another thing to actually improve yourself.

    I like the practical advice of putting it in my to-do list for every day. Thanks for the tip!

    3. It seems that Chip and I have the same interest in buddhism and philosophy in general. I would like to know more about how he actually applied these philosophical considerations in a capitalist, business-oriented environment and do the same with my company project. Because sometimes it seems a bit paradoxical.

  33. 1. “Most people only focus on the treasure that lies at the end of the Legend, and not in creating the Legend itself.”

    In 2004, Neurology experts deemed me “disabled forever”, “They told me I could never play sports, go to college, never leave the care of my parents. That was their vision

    In 2007 I was awarded the Medal of Valor for risking my life to save another. The victim was submerged nearly 4min. No heartbeat, not breathing. I managed to get his heart started again and swam him to the ambulance. NOTE: water infested with flesh eating bacteria. (Verify:

    ) To amplify my prayers for this man, I went on a 4 day vision quest, fasting to pray that he could receive a second chance. Nobody knew more than I the significance of a second chance when everyone else gives up hope. I will never forget the day, 2 weeks after admission the victim was dropped from the critical list. I had never been so ‘on Fire” with Happiness.

    2. Happiness- At that most dynamic moment, I asked myself “What is the greatest gift that I can give to the world with my 2nd chance at life”? To give everyone in the world a 2nd chance at life. A man will only experience his ultimate happiness when he gives his highest self’s greatest gift to the world.

    So I embarked on a Soul searching mission into the rainforests of Central America.

    4 years tribal style in the Jungle, deep in meditation. (

    ) . We have manifested the true Fountain of Youth; anti-aging, anti-cancer miracle formula, that till now did not exist. Coincidentally we flew here from Central America to meet with Tim Ferris.

    3. Launch the healthiest beverage a human can place inside their body temple.

    1. @Tim: Thank you for the post. Chip’s post and the comments were all very insightful.

      @All: Thank you for your posts. I took down some of the quotes you mentioned and hope that you all achieve your goals.

      (Q2) @Chip Conley: Thank you very much for your thoughtful post.

      You write that Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness. Our biggest uncertainty is our meaning in life and what happens when we die. No wonder we our anxious. There is infinite uncertainty about death and there is nothing we can do about it. Heidegger said that we are in a constant state of anxiety, as a being toward death. Some people have religious faith or spiritual experiences, which is not the same as certainty. In Kierkegaard’s concept of the leap of faith is that to have faith, we have to leap across the chasm of uncertainty.

      These two issues: death and meaning are the enigmas of life. I thought a lot about the issues in Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ after both of my grandmothers died in the same month and when visiting the city where my ancestors had lived before the Nazis killed all the Jews there.

      And now death and despair have revisited me again. A friend of mine tried to commit suicide recently, so your equation “Despair = suffering – meaning,” hit home. Maybe you had the same feeling after the people you knew committed suicide: how can this be prevented? What is at the root of despair and suicide?

      This is what I wonder: Why do some people have the ability to overcome suffering and other people fall prey to suicide? What is it in the mind that is the difference? What’s that equation? And is there a way with all the brain technology at our disposal to make that shift for people?

      In reading the comments on this post, I was struck by one comment in particular about a young man who had been kicked in the head after graduation and consequently suffered brain damage and lost the ability to move or form memories. He was told that he wouldn’t leave his parents’ care. He could have been lost in despair and committed suicide. But instead he learned to walk and now is an accomplished athlete, because he believed in ‘miracles’.

      (Q1) I am reminded of the quote: “When it looks impossible and is said to be impossible, give it a try and see if it is possible.” (Zhuan Falun) As I understand it, some people can choose to believe what ‘experts’ say is impossible and then oftentimes it becomes possible.

      @blake harrison (the one who believed in ‘miracles’): what is your take on this issue of why some people choose to live and flourish and some choose to die? Why did you believe? Was it because people told you couldn’t, so you wanted to prove them wrong? Was it from your religious faith or what?

      Unfortunately, cases like Blake’s are the exception instead of the rule. But maybe it doesn’t need to be that way. There is so much information in the world today, but we still don’t have a foolproof way to change the mind from despair to hope. Anxiety and Depression and other types of ‘mental illness’ affect 1/4 of the population. There are various antidepressants and antianxiety medications, but it doesn’t help at all for for at least 1/3 of the people taking them. Cognitive Therapy has shown to be effective, but doesn’t help everyone either, according to studies, and its computer based form is still in its infancy, though maybe has much potential. We teach students many things, but not happiness. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10-24.

      (Q3). Could we figure out a way to apply Emotional Equations to retraining people’s minds? If Big Blue can defeat the best chess player in the world, then we should be able to develop a computer program that overcomes every single ‘bad mental move’ that someone could develop. Things like ECT and TMS are brute force approaches to something that is much more nuanced and complex. Could we figure out a way to eliminate the thought patterns that lead to anxiety and depression and suicide. Could people learn to rehabituate their minds with proper emotional equations? Maybe some will say it is impossible, but I say, we could give it a try. It would be good to have a chance to discuss this issue and possibility with you.

      Best wishes you all,


  34. 1. We create ourselves by our choices. -Kierkegaard

    2. CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE. How much more beautiful is life with wonder and awe in the equation. And how much easier to tackle all other supposedly negative emotions with curiosity by your side. Not even counting failures, and terrifying adventures and all those other things that usually keep us right where we are.

    3. Honestly, I’d like to see how Chip applies this stuff in his every day interactions in life. And maybe learn how to do the same thing… to become a force of change in the world through every day actions (not by force of will or telling everyone else how they should be living), that’s something I would be proud to be living.

  35. 1. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” – steve jobs


    Whats the point without happiness? I’m chasing some things way to hard and not remembering the numerator. My gratitude needs to be more promenintly shared with my family and friends. Such and such didn’t work out. so what? you still have what you truly want – happiness.

    3. I would like to build a relationship with an inspirational person, and begin acting upon my dream of owning my own business.

  36. 1. “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

    2. D + R = R – Once feelings are realized as regret, positive changes can occur. Life’s lessons are bountiful and I need to master the lessons I’ve been fortunate enough to experience. I can use this tool to affect my family, business…the world.

    3. I would like to change the experience people have when they come to my business; dance is only a conduit to the experiences people want in life. They want joy, fitness, love, happiness, lifestyle; i want to give them what they truly want. I want to build a business model that encompasses what I want to change, this new business model will help me open a new studio. This studio will be a model that can be replicated and possibly franchised. The systems can be taught to other Ballroom studio owners to better their business and the lives of their clients.

  37. 1. Most inspirational quote: “One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” — Leonardo Da Vinci


    I am a husband, father and sales professional. Using a gratitude journal has been very helpful in appreciating the relationships I have forged in my life on my way to pursuing excellence. Happiness is my rock solid foundation, and gratitude always keeps my on track.

    3. I would like to be able shed my self-limiting belief that keeps me from thinking that a 40-something guy can’t go for his dream of becoming a screenwriter just because I have a family, mortgage and a stable job/career.

  38. 1. “It’s not how good you are; it’s how great you want to be.”

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

    I have done well in my career, but I have recognized lately that it has come at the expense of my happiness. It sounds odd, but the reason for this is that I’ve been motivated to succeed by a desire for more in my life-power, money, success. In the process, I forget to enjoy what I have and be grateful for what I have. Time spent every morning listing my gratitudes is key to growing.

    3. I’d like to improve my ability to create spaces (metaphorically)and places (physical,actual) for me to build my curiosity and creativity every day.

  39. 1. I find the serenity prayer to be helpful in grounding my thoughts and emotions. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

    Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

    2. My belief is the curiosity equation would be most beneficial to me for sparking ideas and bringing them to light.

    3. I would like to change my circumstances and how I have been pursuing this change in the past with regard to building a business to not only give me and my family more time and financial freedom, but also impact the world in a positive way even if it is a small step at a time.

  40. 1) “Life is the dancer and you are the dance” Eckhart Tolle

    2) I’ll always remember the story when some of my friends took a newbie to ski. In the evening the excitement of that day was how he’d hit a pole. Not such an unusual thing for a newbie to do. What they couldn’t understand, though, as they were watching him skiing down, was how he managed to hit that pole that was on a side of a wide slope, not steep and not crowded. When questioned later about it, he said that he was trying to read what was written on the pole. Of course, the notice said not to hit the pole when skiing, by the time he was close enough to read it, hitting it was unavoidable.

    That story taught me the importance of looking in the direction where I WOULD like to go. So, from all the interesting equations above, my favorite is


    Wanting what you have is focusing on the happiness at hand (is there any other kind?). That means choices. Given a whole mountain, one can choose to focus on a pole and not on the wide open space. The opposite is also true. I keep reminding that myself all the time. I find this a great idea to hang on to.

    3) What I would like to learn from a day with Chip in San Francisco is how some brilliant people or at least one brilliant person turn their ideas and aspirations into reality and live life on their own terms. I would like to get inspired from that example to materialize my own ideas.

  41. 1. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is no an act but a habit.” – Aristotle

    2. ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS: I have a two year old, a kid on the way, and a family that depends on me. I am very good at my job and it’s stable employment in a time when it seems like many are struggling. Still, I feel that I’m capable of more than being just another face in a large corporation.

    Should I pursue the uncertainty of changing careers, fields, professions, or locations? At the same time, I feel like I am powerless to take such a huge risk when I have others counting on me. And so it makes sense why I’m anxious about the future, my family’s well-being, and my own long-term happiness.

    3. I see so many people struggling with using technology and how to benefit from it. I see education is need of major reform (as of this morning, apparently Apple sees this too). I have my own ideas of how an education system should run and thoughts on how to build a scaffold curriculum that could integrate into the current system.

    So, how to build a company that could do it? How to get started. That’s what I would get out of a day with Chip.

  42. 1. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

    2. ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS. I work with people who are anxious about things here all the time. Will there be layoffs? Who will be the new director? What will our budget look like next year? Helping people unpack their “anxiety bag” to relieve this will be very good for not only my fellow employees but the work atmosphere as a whole.

    3. I’m already a manager in my line of work. I want to transition to being a leader so I can make a positive impact not only on those my work touches, but to fundamentally transform and renew how we impact the greater institution as a whole.

  43. This is my entry:

    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” (Winston Churchill) is a quote that has always got me through those tough moments in life. It keeps me grounded and inspired and at the same time moving forward. This quote catalyzes the meaning of many of my favourite quotes and is simple enough to be an effective daily mantra.

    Simple, powerful ideas are the easiest to grasp; gratitude/gratification is a wonderful mathematical representation of happiness. If I find myself falling into sadness, first I stop and freeze my train of thought, second I take a minute to be thankful for my wife, family and friends and the amazing world around me. The amount of positivity becomes immeasurable and through taking the time to consider my numerator I am easily brought back to reality. Thank you world!

    You are a product of the environment you put yourself in; you create your own reality. By surrounding yourself with intelligent, grateful and inspiring individuals you can make permanent changes to your life. Chip is a strong business leader mixing success with happiness, this article and his TED talk have already made a significant impact on the way I define success. The experience of exchanging ideas and philosophies would invariably create immense positive changes to my outlook and direction in my professional life.

    Thank you for this opportunity!

  44. 1] “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have.”

    This quote really hit home for me when I came upon it from, of all places, the lid of an Honest Tea! I am an analytical nerd with a burgeoning sense of the expansive self that precedes my ego. A major barrier of entry for me into this new shift in understanding was the old descriptions I would use to describe such talk. “Hippy nonsense” would sum it up. This quote helped push me further along the path of accumulating whichever wisdom heals me most, regardless of what prior descriptors I used to describe myself.


    I feel anxiety when even considering attempting something. This formula has already shifted my thinking surrounding that anxiety. No longer shall I waste time and energy panicking over the infinite uncertainties and holding on to powerful beliefs about my inability to change them. Instead, I shall use the formula to release [originally wrote ‘fight’] anxiety thusly:

    1) Know as much as I can about what really is and leave the unknowable to {fate|chance|god}

    2) Increase my power to effect change [step 1 being: believe it’s really possible]

    Winning the contest would be icing. But this is some powerfully delicious cake you’ve given away, and you have my sincerest gratitude.

    3] Change? The world. Build? I would like to build on what Chip has already started. Unveiling the mask of polite deceit we all wear daily and reconnecting humans to their humanity in a way that feels safe. Above all I love music, comedy and food and would love to intersect them meaningfully.

  45. 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.


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

    I posted the following on Twitter some time ago after reflecting on success while writing a blog post. Most importantly, the last four words I find quite an inspiring philosophical question: What is still possible?

    Success is never fully achieved. What you thought was success, is really reaching a new perspective of what is still possible. – Chris Hopf

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

    I agree with your approach of selecting one of the equations, as often the most significant barrier to positive change (progress) is getting started . . . turning ideas (thought) into action (reality). However, your post makes a compelling case to apply each equation, as the benefits are exponentially greater and the impact ready to scale.

    CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE applied to a curiosity about people is great place to start. Here is why:

    Business is always about people. The better you understand people, the better you understand business. – Chris Hopf

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

    I would like to build now, where WebApps are headed. The Future of WebApps will be via successful leaders and teams that have reached a new perspective of what is still possible. Innovation is perceived as difficult, and rightly so, thus I see the near future being innovation that leads to more strategic CONSOLIDATION of successful WebApps and continued improvements with respect to how well they INTEGRATE with internal and external technology and solutions that help people – together – achieve, share and redefine success.

    Free market capitalism and limited government provides the best opportunity for a better life for the most individuals around the world. – Chris Hopf

  47. 1.- “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”

    2.- The balance sheet to reduce anxiety is a great tool. I realized that I have a lot of anxiety in different areas of my life created by lack of information or untested assumptions (“this will never work”) that create powerlessness. This exercise forces me to look into the issues that are creating my anxiety instead of just looking the other way hoping that they will be solved on their own, something that rarely happens.

    3.- Spending a day with Chip will be helpful for 2 reasons: 1) It would shift my mentality about what’s possible (similar to Tim’s exercise about contacting celebrities), and that by itself would be a huge gain in my life. 2) I recently started to read about ROWE and I want to implement it at my office. I live in Mexico and I realize that there’s no reason that I couldn’t start the ROWE movement in my country. Learning from him about how he makes his employees happy would be very helpful when I implement ROWE here.

  48. 1. Favorite inspirational or philosophical quote:

    “You can sell your time, but you can’t buy it back.” Author unconfirmed.

    2. Here’s how I will apply one of the equations in this post to my life for maximum benefit:

    I am going to focus on being grateful for all of the things I am thankful for. My cousin is part of an email group where each member emails the group a message about the things that person is grateful for that day. They have set up various rules for how to participate. Although that group is already established and I do not think I could join, it gives me an idea: I want to find my own group of friends to set up something similar. I will choose the group to invite based on how much I think a friend could benefit from this. In other words, I will invite those friends who seem especially sad or in despair, and who need to refocus on what’s truly important in life. This gratefulness group will benefit all of us, and I plan to make it a daily practice.

    3. Here’s what I would change or build after a day with Chip in SF:

    Although I work full time, I have started several side-projects (“muses” in TF vernacular) and I will use the meeting with Chip to refocus my path and pursue these dreams with more certainty and less hesitation. I plan for the meeting to erase the last remnants of uncertainty and doubt that remain in my life right now. And even though I am not as accomplished as Chip in the world of business, I hope that I too have something to offer to the meeting and that Chip will benefit from it as much as I would, because with very meeting and connection there is the possibility of many unexpected benefits and ripples.

    Thank you for your consideration.

  49. 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.

  50. 1. “Bonno soku bodai”. It’s a Japanese Buddhist saying.

    Bonno = earthly desire, suffering, defilement

    soku = is

    Bodai = enlightenment.

    While one interpretation of Buddhism is that suffering is something to be eradicated, the statement means that enlightenment does not come from the elimination of suffering but from suffering itself. One cannot exist without the other, however one can lead to the other, if we can only find the means.

    It clues into the “Despair = Suffering – Meaning” equation quite nicely.

    2. I’m a PhD student in neuroscience. “Curiosity = Wonder + Awe” hits home because my research is predicated on curiosity and awe out of how awesome the brain is, but sometimes the academic climate is such that it can squelch creativity under external stress and crippling self-expectation.

    I try to rekindle my sense of awe in what I do by leading volunteer initiatives to teach youth about neuroscience. It’s gratifying to not only become excited over explaining things to children, but to see their faces light up and start gushing over how cool it is.

    I also practice martial arts and teach Tai Chi. Not only is it physically and philosophically gratifying, but I can find joy in the flow of movement, and an appreciation for the neural machinery involved (I research motor control).

    3. After some time spent in some great research environments and some not-so-great ones, I want Chip’s help to build a new research/life philosophy, one based on play, collaboration, and a free exchange of ideas without ego or politics. I especially want to learn skills in networking and in connecting with people for the sake of learning.This would help me in my graduate career, in eventually running my own laboratory, and in teaching people why I love what I do.

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

    “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change”


    I can offer my personal experience of how this equation can play out and prepare a person for new levels of challenge.

    The difficult and premature birth of our son prepared us for leaving family, friends, home, business and the place where we grew up in and lived for 40 plus years with no idea where we were going? This emotional education prepared us for the brutal murder of my mother which set the stage to deal with and survive stage four Lymphoma of which the physical, mental and emotional pain I could not begin to express.

    This is not a pity plea it is a vivid demonstration of this equation in action and how it can help a person master the most difficult of times. I certainly do not want to experience the next degree of challenge but I do recognize the gifts this equation has to offer.

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

    Well, that’s what I would love to find out?

    1. As an engineer by schooling I love the idea of encapsulating these relationships arithmetically as Chip has done. I thing there are other derivatives and like equations they can have proofs to illustrate these relationships.

      Like kids are taught algebra in school, I wish these equations were taught. How would people treat each other and themselves differently.

      Much to meditate on but grow upon as well. Thanks for the challenge and insight you share Chip. Best of luck.

  52. 1.An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “ A fight is going on inside me,”

    “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil- he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “the other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person, too.”

    The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

    The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

    ?2. Despair = Suffering – Meaning. I find this helpful as I am recently experiencing difficulty in my life. In the fall I had a lawn mower accident and almost lost my foot. I had found out two days prior I was 6 weeks pregnant. I cannot begin to explain the ups and downs I have experienced in the last 19 weeks. Nor can I explain the fact I am still recovering, but I am alive and it is a miracle. The equation helps to answer the question- why me? This is a hard one to get past, but the above equation helps to resolve it. Life will unfold the answer later, and the skills I have obtained through enduring this situation will become a foundation.

    3. I would change my career. I would like to know more about being an entrepreneur, especially as a female and learn how to not let money or fear stop you. ( I could do the four column thing too, I guess:)

  53. 1. “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky

    2. Curiosity = wonder + awe….I definitely think that people should be more curious in their lives. I tie curiosity to thinking outside the box. So many people lock themselves in their daily routines and either don’t take chances on something they were thinking of doing/starting or just let their life pass then by , every day being the same.

    3. Meeting Chip would be amazing as I m a kind of person who responds great to positive inspiration. As well as Chip I thrive on positive communication between people.Since I’m also involved with managing people and always look for the ways to improve myself as a leader this would be a fantastic experience. I would also love to get some advices on an idea that I’ve had for some time but never actually managed to go through with it.

    Good luck to everyone and congrats to the person who ends up getting this chance – make sure you make the most of it ! 🙂



  54. 1. Try not to become a man of success but a man of value – Albert Einstein

    I live by this quote because I strive to be successful, but if my success only benefits me, then what have I done really? Who would I share that success with?

    2. Curiosity = Wonder + Awe I love this equation because I find myself getting caught up in the details too much at times. Trying to bull doze a path when all I need to do is stop, look around, and see that there are far more options to consider. Many of which I have never thought of before!

    3. I would like to build my understanding and mastery to become a Chief Emotions Officer. Once a person can deeply understand and connect with another person, the opportunities are limitless. Not only would this opportunity allow me to improve myself, but through my actions help those I interact with. I love the idea of mastering emotions and the emotional ques of others because the world would be incredibly different if people understood each other. Imagine the power that would hold!

    Thank you for this opportunity and I would be elated to meet you Chip!

  55. 1. “Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armory of thought he forges his weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions…” James Allen

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

    Realizing that happiness starts from within; become consistently aware of the things I do have. First by creating a habit that resonates within and draws my focus to gratitude frequently enough to reinforce itself. As that circle of gratitude expands, the ability to internalize the fact that I already “have” what I need. I simply need to make peace with the internal and cease looking externally for validation.

    3. I would like to step out of my mental, physical, geographical comfort level and have an extended period of focus on addressing these equations in such a way as to develop an awareness or practice to take with me afterwards. Taking that experience and modeling/teaching it to those in my life. I would like to wrap and give presents every day.

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

    “the most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” – Albert Einstein

    I just find it to be true.

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

    I think curiosity = wonder x awe contains in it all the benefits I could seek. The universe seems to respond when we look into it with wonder. It is a silent form of appreciation, and I think in a secret way the world likes to be looked at with curious eyes, it opens up and shares it’s beauty when the curiosity is honest and not self-serving. A Sikh man once taught me that to say the Sikh word for God you must say it with an exclamation of wonder “Wah!”, he said, lifting his arms up openly pointing to nothing in particular, but everything at once.

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

    I would like to emphasize the perspective of wonder and awe in my community after a day with Chip in SF. I live in Niagara Falls, a place full of wonder and awe, yet a place that has been exploited so often without appreciation or reverence. I would contribute to growing the culture here to frame the Falls with the wonder and appreciation that it deserves.


  57. 1. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. ~ Anais Nin ~

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

    I am closing my music management company that I have run since I was 21 years old. Through those 13 years I learnt so much about myself, it felt like a boot camp in self awareness. I am proud to get to a place in my life where I am ready to shut it down, move on, and dig deeper.

    I live on Vancouver Island and nine years ago gave up a life in Manhatten to move to a Gulf island that was “off the grid”. I wanted to live a more “balanced” life where I could grow my own food, learn more about sustainability and spend some more time reflecting and not just “doing”.

    I managed to continue my job and grow the company from my BC Island paradise, buy 5 acres and develop the property, marry the man of my dreams and constantly travel all over the world staying very connected and part of my incredible music community.

    This equation resonates with me particularly because it reminds me that just being me is enough and the most important foundation upon which to build. It also reminds me to be true to what I really want and not compromise.

    I am closing the company knowing that I have been a somewhat successful entrepreneur but that I have a lot more to give to the world. By finding gratitude in what is around me I can find “true” success.

    3. I am starting a Creative Agency with partners in San Francisco. I would love Chip’s input on the business plan and to find out as a brand what challenges he faces.

  58. First, I have to say this is the m.ost insightful and thought-provoking blog post I’ve read in weeks and possibly months. Thank you both.

    My favorite inspirational quote: ‘Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.’ –Goethe

    For me, the equation I plan to use is: Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness.

    I have anxiety around my business and life choices because I have many interests, passions and exciting ideas for projects I’d like to bring to life. Figuring out which ones to choose to create and in what order and fearing I won’t accomplish many of them, brings me anxiety and Chip’s exercise will help me become empowered to make those tough choices.

    I’d love to spend a day with Chip in San Francisco to get his take on my different project and business ideas and how to sequence and launch them successfully. (One of them could also enhance his hotel chain in a fun and creative way.) Thanks for the opportunity–it’s fun to think about.

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

    “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

    -Robert A. Heinlein

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


    This is something that I already incorporate not only into my own life, but also in my students with whom I teach. Having had many life changing moments in my life which included much suffering and pain, both physical, emotional, and spiritual, I decided to understand where the suffering was and what I could learn from, and hopefully to not repeat it. Sentient Beings and Sa?s?ra (cycle of life and death) incorporated with my teaching helped me to come to self-realization and completeness. This helped me to understand that all beings are sentient and have suffering, but that is part of the journey and that there is hope, not just despair, and that like the phoenix, you can arise from the ashes and soar.

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

    If I was chosen, I would like to build upon and implement some of his ideas into a public classroom, which can help my students, many of which live in abject poverty near Philadelphia. I already use many things Tim mentions he hits upon in his research, especially Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs, which I have used personally, and in my research in the field as and art educator. Perhaps there would not be a physical product, but it would be a seed with which can be planted and used for years to come and help those that want to do better in life, my students. Thank you.

  60. 1. “The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.” – David Foster Wallace

    2. I am going through a horrible financial period in my life, without full-time work, dangerously close to foreclosure, and just starting grad school, with a family to support. Though I can definitely see the application of the Despair equation to my circumstance, and have already been consciously doing Stoic/CBT exercises around the Anxiety equation, what struck my from your post was Curiosity. My greatest strength in life is that I’ve always been weird. I just think differently. I’m often wrong, but when I’m right, it’s because my naivete allowed me to see something different from the rest of the group. I know what opens me up to curiosity. I am really curious about how I hold up, how my marriage holds up, and how my kids and I react together emotionally to the toughest situation we’ve ever been in. Can I manage all of my family relationships (my real priority) while creatively avoiding or at least managing the loss we are going through? Can I handle discovering the whole truth about myself under pressure, and the quality of my relationships under the greatest of stress? I’m really curious.

    3. Losing a relationship is different from losing financially, but stress is stress. If I spent some time with Chip in SF I would like to learn how he did it all. How do you hold your life together and maintain or grow in integrity of character when the walls are closing in on you? I’m a big fan of imitating those who have gone before me. Nothing matters to me more than strengthening my family through this ordeal.

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

    “Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are, when you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

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


    So often in life it is ourselves that detain us from reaching higher, running faster, digging deeper. We forget that it is that childlike wonder that led us to have dreams in the first place. Whether or not it is finding a job in a hopeless economy, making enough money to put food on the table or finding the strength to fight for who and what you love, nothing can be done without visualizing it can happen in the first place. Believing it can happen and having enough curiosity to figure out how you can accomplish something is the surest way to ensure that it will. Without wonder there is no hope, without hope there is no curiosity and without awe there is a whole lot less meaning to life.

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

    I would like to change my outlook on life and help others to do the same. I believe a Battered Women’s Shelter could benefit from Chip’s ideas and if we could change just one person’s outlook on their situation then DESPAIR = SUFFERING – MEANING could turn into HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT.

  62. 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?

    “When is the best time? – now. Who is the best person? The one you are with.  What is the right thing to do?  What is best for the person you are with.”

    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”

    I am starting a new relationship which is a great turning point in my life and one in which there is a certain balance between looking back – to see what you want and do not ,  who you were and who you are , what you want to keep about yourself and what you want to discard or improve .  Gratitude for all that you have been .  Having what u want is the challenge to define what your future will be –  who? What? Where? When and how?  And knowing these answers will create a plan for happiness .

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

    I want to be fully emotional and engaged, relaxed and focused.   How hard could that be ??  Haha

  63. 1.”All limitations are self-imposed limitations.” — James P. Carse

    2. HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT – This is a wakeup call for me, as I realized that I have been focusing to increase the “having what I want” factor while unconsciously reducing “wanting what I have” throughout my life – no wonder I felt true happiness so infrequently! I have decided to block a day this weekend to fully review my current life, identify how much of each I have, and come up with actions to build routines into my daily life in order to systematically “optimize” happiness

    3. I’d like to identify the areas and issues that are “blocking” me from reaching higher level of self-awareness and from discovering (and accepting) my true passion – and how I can break through from them. By making these changes, I’d like to proceed with starting a business that reflects my self-knowledge and passion.

  64. “Vision looks inward and becomes duty.Vision looks outward and becomes aspiration.Vision looks upward and becomes faith.” Steven Wise


    There’s a silver lining in the cloud of economic distress– a re-awakening of appreciation for simpler pleasures, re-orienting purpose to build relationships over possessions, and reaffirming the joy that comes from lending a hand to others. I think these are vital ingredients for “having what you want.”

    A day with Chip and other creator/doers would be the founding of a new “CEO” network, with the purpose of helping ourselves and others become their best emotional self– aware, connected, intentional and supported.

  65. 1. Many of our blessings bring bane to us; for memory recalls the tortures of fear, while foresight anticipates them. The present alone can make no man wretched.

    2. Happiness = Wanting what you have / Having what you want. The dichotomy of this division holds more truth than most realize. I recently was removed from a job I saw as “perfect” because of health reason of my significant others family. The forced relocation brought me literally closer to me own family whom I realized I was ignoring. My job was just distracting me from what really mattered and what I always had. Understanding that balance more will allow the denominator to become true, and not just a distorted reality I thought was true.

    3. I am in the midst of a startup that will define history and its relation to modern day society through the physical artifacts and antiques that have travelled through it. All the pieces are in place, but a cohesive management/direction is needed for the final push. Something chip could shed some light on. The physical world is slowly diminishing and the history some of the items hold is being lost or the interest in them is being lost. I want to transform a brick and mortar industry into the digital world.

  66. 1. “Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.”


    In 2009 my beau and business partner of 13 years dumped me for a younger woman and forced me out of the business because his shiny new gf wanted my position (we owned a winery). So overnight I lost my man, my home, my job, my entire career. I’m turning my healing experiences into a novel that I hope will bring laughter and healing to women going through a similar experience. I could blame him entirely, and yes, he was a douche. But I’ve learned that looking at the part I played made me realize that I made naïve mistakes, and that sharing those mistakes with others can bring me joy.

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

    I have a shiny new life, a career I love, a loving family and great friends, so I have gratitude all over the place. What I don’t have is self-discipline. Although I get in an 8 hour client day, in order to achieve my dreams I need to break through that barrier. It seems to be a combination of indulgent habits and a fear of success. I think Chip’s insight and coaching can help me push through that membrane and become more productive, helpful and joyful.

  67. Tim, Thanks for sharing Chip’s article. I have recently watched a couple of his talks thanks to Michael’s (Ellsberg) recent email, so this is a natural extension.

    I’m inspired by a quote attributed to Seneca, “As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters”. This quote and other stuff that I experienced and read in the past year have got me thinking that *creating quality* in every single aspect of my life (health, relationships, career etc) should be my ultimate goal.

    I want to start a business but the prospect of getting started gives me anxiety and so the “Uncertainty x Powerlessness” equation struck a chord. I find myself pondering over which is the best and most executable of my ideas, whether I should leave my well paying job to start the business and other “should I’s” and end up paralyzed. The equation suggests that if I researched my ideas well, honed in on a couple and figured out the skills necessary to execute I’d reduce my anxiety by a huge amount.

    I don’t yet know exactly which of my business ideas I want to start and build, but I do know that I want it based in Africa, with customers around the world that consider its product or service to be of top quality. Since listening to Chip’s Leading@Google talk, I realize that I should also aspire to have employees and other stakeholders that are fulfilled at the highest level of the pyramid. A day with Chip would be a chance to have a conversation about how he faced uncertainty and fears of incapability on his own entrepreneurial path and hopefully I would leave better prepared to do what I want to do.

  68. 1. Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini – Middleweight Boxing Champion –

    “A single negative thought is what gets you hit in the face (in the ring)”

    2. The Happiness Equation stood out to me because it was the most relevant. After stumbling across the above quote a week ago, I recently implemented a new trick in my life. A snap to the wrist by a rubber band any time a single negative thought came to me. Ever since my life has completely changed. I find myself more energetic around people and having fun, which allows others to do the same. I envision my goals and I go out and accomplish them. I appreciate the things I have that I can’t change and I strive to be better. I was never like this, I tended to think of myself as an insecure negative person, rationalizing why I’m better when someone outperformed me or did anything to make me feel small. I would want to quit at the first sign of failure. But ever since my little friend the rubber band came into the picture, I take EVERY experience as a learning experience, anyone who is better than me is a teacher to me, and it allows me to grow past all my prior limitations. And due to the fact that I am growing, I realize I feel even better when I help my friends and family do the same.

    3. With Chip’s help, I want to maximize my growth, become a realistic optimist that strives to better himself as well as all those he works with. I have a couple product ideas inspired by Tim Ferriss, and I feel Chip’s input would benefit the way I plan out and act on my goals. Also, I’m only 19, I feel great about my future.

  69. What is your favorite inspirational or philosophical quote? – “For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks.” – Timothy Ferriss

    How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit? – CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE – Sadly, a large percentage of the population that lives from day to day by waking up, doing a job they do not enjoy and then going to sleep to simply repeat it all over again. Living in the realm of “curiosity” seems to be the way to stay out of this trap… that so many of us know all too well.

    What would you like to change or build after a day with Chip in SF? I am a volunteer for dog rescue group in New Jersey. To date, we have saved thousands of dogs from kill shelters prior to euthanasia. I am constantly amazed as to how the organization functions on a shoe string budget. I am sure that spending the day with Chip would provide much insight as to how to create new ways to fund and promote the goals of the organization.

  70. 1. “Discipline needs motivation. Like a flower needs a bee” -Matt Steel


    To gain more happiness i should increasing my desire(want) for what I have which would be contentment. Or I could decrease my desire to have additional things in my life. Either way I should be happier.

    I’m apply this concept in my life right now as I slowly pull myself out of debt. It’s been a tremendous struggle to get to a point where I can live with in a budget (decreasing the denominator) and where I appreciate the things that are already in my life (increasing the numerator).

    These two variable will undoubtedly continue to vary during my financial struggle, but with some discipline and a supportive community I “should” be able to find HAPPINESS > 0.

    3. After spending a day with Chip, I would hope to pick up on some actionable entrepreneurial skills that I could practice and develop in order to aid in my exit from debt.

  71. 1. Since you mentioned the Serenity Prayer, I’ll have to go with that.

    2. I think the happiness equation is the most profound. How to balance being thankful and grateful for the joy that is already in my life (faith, family and simple pleasures) and hungry in pursuit of the things I want? These things are often in tension with each other. Balancing them is difficult, but I think being aware of that equation is the best first step.

    3. I’ve been wanting to write a book, but also have several other projects I’m working on. I would hope Chip would help me find a balance where I can create something meaningful while not diminishing what I already have that is meaningful.

  72. 1. “Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?” Charney, The 4-Hour Workweek.

    2. ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS – I think applying this to my life would make the biggest difference as I often focus on what I can’t change than what I do, but without even realizing it. Writing it down like you mentioned is a great idea. It puts it all in front of me like a menu at a restaurant, with all the out of season dishes marked out. For example, I often worry about problems stemming from family and friends, some which I can affect, and others I’m dragged into. I’m going to try now to isolate those things I can affect to strengthen my relationships, while leaving the drama for everyone else.

    3. If I had a day with Chip I would try to learn how he builds relationships with good mentors. It seems like he has a good understanding of interperson dynamics and I would like learn that so I could build my own entertainment brand. It seems like the one big missing piece in my self improvement journey.

  73. 1)”To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson



    I cannot agree further with this quote. Very well written and has a lot of depth and meaning especially in our world today. As an MBA student with a full time job in Corporate America and a part time yoga teacher I tend to juggle a fair bit and it is easy to let go of the numerator. My goal is to be able to think of the wonderful gifts and opportunities I have in my life and express gratitude to the people who have made me who I am. In addition, I hope to remind myself that the denominator will always be there but make sure it doesn’t take over the numerator


    I think there is a huge need to bring in compassion, well-being and mindfulness in our workplaces and I am greatly inspired to be committed to this action. At a fundamental level, I think we need to bring this topic to the forefront in our educational systems and develop creative ways to make this accessible to mainstream America. There is still a belief of labeling emotions as signs of weakness and purpose & meaning to be something we get in a yoga class or life coaching session but I am motivated to make this a way of how we live, accepting our emotions, vulnerabilities and fears to live a more authentic and full life. As a Presidio MBA student and a yoga/meditation instructor I am working on developing the skills and tools and building relationships by which I can make this change happen in my lifetime and Chip Conley is one of the greatest role models in my life. It would be an honor and a dream to meet and learn from him in person.

  74. Thank you for this article. I remember hearing Chip speak about his hotel and it was a hilarious and inspirational speech.

    1. “To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.”

    ? Arundhati Roy

    This is a difficult way to live, but once there, life is beautiful.

    2. How could you apply one of the equations in this post to your life for maximum benefit? Curiosity = Wonder + Awe. I love to inspire people and help them see in a different way, using this formula like this will help me focus on creating an experience which engages the audience.

    3. I would seek to continue my passion of building a unique transformational music festival, like Lightning in a Bottle or Burning Man, but with a different identity and in British Columbia. I am meeting with the makers of TowardsEden next week, I want to use their core and build on it from there. Meeting Chip will not help me change, but he would give me a great sense of insight into human needs and hopefully connect what he knows with my passion. My dream is to create a TEDX Music Festival that seeks to transform and inspire not just the mind but the soul and human spirit. Alas, I will graduate college in just over a year!

  75. 1. If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

    Henry David Thoreau

  76. God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

    My daily subconscious struggle is coming to terms with the fact that I have very little actual control over many of the events in my life. The serenity prayer attempts to give us the freedom to accept the fragility and uncertainty of life, along with the power through contemplation to make changes where we can.

    No surprise that the Anxiety=uncertainty+powerlessness equation resonated with me. I tried the exercise Chip suggested and I was stunned at how many of the challenges I had filed away as “out of my control” had elements that I could actually control and that writing them down and delineating them out gave me a sense of power and reduced anxiety and the ultimate realization that my life had become an un-examined exercise.

    I honestly can’t imagine what could be accomplished in a day with someone like Chip. I imagine I’d do a lot more listening that talking, trying to soak up as much information as I could in the hope of beginning a journey of transformation. I’d like to find some light at the end of my emotional boot camp.

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

    All you have to do is know where you are going. The answers will come to you of their own accord. – Earl Nightingale

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

    For me, ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY X POWERLESSNESS hits home. I am currently in the position of starting all over again. I know I don’t want to go back to doing what I did before so I have decided upon a new business and career. The exercise you gave was so enlightening because I didn’t have a clear understanding of the cause of my anxiety. I knew I had it, I just couldn’t explain why. Even after considering the inspiration quote above on a daily basis, I wasn’t ready to just allow the unknown to continue being unknown until the time it was ready to reveal itself. The quote told me that I had to do it but each day was still a struggle because of the feeling that I don’t yet know enough in my chosen field. Now, I realize that my uncertainty of embarking upon a new endeavor coupled with a perception of lack of knowledge, and no control over the outcome is the culprit. I am making changes about this starting right now; probably the hardest thing I have ever done.

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

    After a day with Chip, I would like to build my new business in a manner that clearly identifies what I wish to give to the world as my own little contribution – going forward without any anxiety.

    Thank you both for the great post.

  78. 1. “[The finish line] is also the starting line.” – Wendelin Van Draanen, “The Running Dream.” This quote reminds me that reaching a goal is not the end of something – it’s really just a pit stop in life’s journey, preparing you for the next leg of your adventure.

    2. One of my goals for this year is to face several things that have been making me anxious. I took the first steps last week in obtaining more information about what I need to do to complete my thesis and finish graduate school. It took me two hours to compose a 3-line e-mail, but after a meeting where I learned what I need to do, I could feel the anxiety flowing out of my body. Without knowing it, I was already applying the equation “Anxiety = uncertainty x powerlessness.” I look forward to continuing to apply it to graduate school, to finding a job, and even to helping me go out and meet potential love interests. I really like the idea of making the four columns, especially realizing I have control over my reactions to situations.

    3. After a day with Chip, I would like to become more proactive. I have several business ideas, but no idea on how to start pursuing them. I tend to gather too much data (I have an abundance of curiosity) but put off making decisions, and learning how to overcome this tendency would be very helpful. I’m also a big fan of sustainability and green living, and I would enjoy learning how Chip balances luxury with environmental considerations in his hotels, and hopefully be able to incorporate some of his ideas in my own life and future businesses.

  79. 1) “This above all: to thine own self be true.” -Shakespeare

    This can be looked at many ways and from many angles, but in the end it rings true to every being. If you are true to yourself, you will not only be happy and a better person, but hopefully the truthfulness in yourself will radiate through you and out into the world. It is the idea of paying it forward to yourself first, and coincidentally, that will create a better future for all who encounter.

    2) Curiosity = Wonder + Awe

    This equation and the explanation afterwards says so much. As an undergraduate student entering my last 2 quarters of college I am faced with the impending situation of entering “the real world.” While the current economic situation is not necessarily extremely promising at the moment, I see tremendous potential for myself and everyone else. Often times we talk about the limits–energy, land, jobs rate, etc–but what we often fail to realize is that we are limitless in our ability to change our lives, but to do so we have to change the way we think about things. This equation sums up the inner child in all of us, the world is limitless in its potential, we just have to figure out what our goals and aspirations are and devise a strategy of how we might be able to get there. At least for me, as long as I am working towards my eventual destination, I am confident I will some day reach it…and if not I will have a great time trying.

    3) After a day with Chip, I hope to create better environments for which we all live, work, and enjoy. I believe the saying rings true, “We are products of our environments.” If this is indeed the case, we need to holistically think about our everyday environments. Whether it is our homes/apartments, urban areas, work places, schools; we need to fundamentally evaluate what we are doing and ways in which we can make our “environments” better. My hope is to make an impact on any level in making our environments more livable and more enjoyable to be a part of.

  80. 1. “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” -Yoda

    2.I feel that this applies to the “HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT” equation very well. From experience I am learning that you cannot just assume that you are grateful for the things/life that you have, you have to make a daily practice of being grateful. Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools I am continuing to study. It is allowing me to start viewing my goals from a place of fullness and clarity rather than lack and fear.

    3.I would love to discuss with Chip more on the topic of being a living example of emotional balance so I can help others in business and my life feel more productive and fulfilled 🙂

  81. 1. “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”-Friedrich Nietzsche

    2. Happiness = Wanting what you have/Having what you want. I’m currently working at one of the most prestigious law firms in LA and billing roughly 70 hours a week. I’ve decided that the legal world isn’t for me but out of a desire to uphold my commitments and hefty student loans, I’ve decided to stay with this job for at least a year. Instead of focusing on how terrible the hours are and how unsatisfying the work is, I’ve learned to create a perspective of gratitude reinforced by the above mentioned equation. The reality of my situation is I have a great paying job while most kids my age are lucky to have one at all. Having limited time outside of work has forced me to put quality over quantity regarding the time I get to spend with friends and family. Above all, I’m learning a work ethic that will enhance my professional abilities in years to come. You can’t taste anything sweet if you haven’t already tasted the bitter.

    3. I would like to write a book aimed and kids like me who are just getting out of college, drowning in debt from student loans, and who need a positive perspective when contemplating their future. The experiences I’ve had in the past couple years, combined with Chips philosophies would provide an invaluable catalyst for the professional/emotional success of this generation.

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

    It is simple, I do not know the maker of this quote but I always ask myself this before doing something difficult: Do or do not, there is no try!

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


    I answered the question: “What habitats allow me to be more curious?”

    And wrote up a list of places were i feel curious and get inspiration from (Actully the bathroom is one of them 😉 ). And I wrote up places where I don’t feel inspired (the office)

    I also expanded the list and added people to it. So now I know which I am going to spend my time with! Thank You Chip!

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

    I want to learn how to fully understand peoples different emotion so that I can become a better leader & a better human being!

  83. “What you seek is seeking you” – Rumi

    1. I chose this quote as in one short sentence it brings a profound sense of peace. And can unpack and potentially master so many emotions, including Despair and Anxiety.

    2. The equation I would apply would be Curiosity = Wonder + Awe.

    That equation makes me think of approaching the world through a child’s eyes, as I once heard it said. To approach what you do with that wonder and awe and curiosity – that for me would create magic in whatever I was doing, keeping me fully present, fully engaged.

    With this you can find the sacred in everyday life too, from the objects and people around you, your hands, your eyes… Just thinking about the fact that you can see, feel, touch or even exist at all has something pretty remarkable about it.

    3. What immediately got me interested about Chip was the comment about “Implementing self-actualization in a company”. To actually have that ambition and make it come about, to figure out what makes people tick, and build it into an enterprise. That is what I would look to get out of a day with Chip, and then take that learning (albeit only a day’s worth I know) and use it to build up my own company in that image.

    That ambition has been with me since I was young – to build a great company that expands and grows its employees as a core function of what it does. That for me would be a self-actualisation of my own.

  84. -Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.

    John F. Kennedy

    -Anxiety is the multiple of powerlessness and uncertainty. The logic behind the application of this equation is the simple way of exploring the obstacles that lay between you and your goal. Thereby allowing you to eat the cake in small bite size pieces rather than all at once. This is applicable to every aspect of your life from love to finances.

    -I believe I would change the manner in which I look at running a business, and what it is that drives success for the “entire unit”. Along with lay the foundation for a shift towards a wellness and satisfying life.

  85. 1. If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step tot the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

    Henry David Thoreau

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

    In the past I have usually lived my life in accordance with the quote above. My interests volley between the creative and the analytical so, my career path has reflected this. At this point in my life I want more than I have. In my mind that looks like more security for the future this is creating anxiety and affecting my happiness equation. .I would like to figure out how to use my talents to bring more balance to the equations of my life once again.

    3. I would like to build on the strengths that I have in order to obtain the new happiness I seek.



  86. 1) “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”


    Ever worry that you have too many interests and then when you want to try to specify for a short while to become that 90% expert to understand enough to avoid the obvious pitfalls, but yet still be curious and adventurous enough to test the laws of physics one more time.

    I was able to attend a Tedx conference in Denver about two years ago, and it was great to discuss all the great presentations there as well as viewing online, however, making a connection with someone and pursuing an idea was a bit tough afterwards. Lots of excitement but little action. Having learned lessons from previous business failures I understand the energy it takes for a starting endevour and finding that energy in others has been elusive.

    3) This trip would throw fuel on the fire for me to have an intimate chat with a successful entrepreneur. I have been seeking to find my muse over the past few weeks, having read the 4HWW over Christmas, the toughest part has been filtering out the noise when I need to get to work while allowing my instincts to guide me and focus on the goal.

    À vos souhaits

  87. 1.”In order to be successful, one must project an image of success at all times.” Buddy Kane, American Beauty.

    “You were born an original, don’t die a copy.” John Mason

    These are the quotes I live by when time and/or money slips through my fingers and anxiety creeps in.


    The maximum benefit from this equation is something every man in America should write on the mirror for his significant other. Keeping our Attention on the Numerator. I believe having a happy household can be an amazing landing beacon for all successes. The viewpoints in this equation are enough to last a lifetime because in today’s unfortunate world of materialism, it is good to know Chip and Tim make products and talking points that won’t end up in a land fill. When one is happiest, true maximum benefit to all things in mankind can be attained.

    3. If I am fortunate enough to be chosen, I would utilize Chip’s time to become the best sponge in the world for that day. Learning from Chip would help me better understand how to launch my start up and focus on what I feel is the most important issue in the business in the world: Customer Service. I would love to shake up the beverage business and some of the products we are hypnotized by each day. I am part of a team that will not lose even if I do not succeed in this opportunity.

  88. 1. “The Man in the Arena” by Theodore Roosevelt. This has inspired me several times to take action in spite of fear or self-doubt.

    2. Despair = Suffering – Meaning. I lost my brother to suicide and it sent my life into upheaval. Fortunately my good-nature eventually uplifted me. This equation serves as a conscious reminder to exhibit faith and stay true to my core essence. I am going to post this equation around my house and at my desk as a consistent reminder to persevere and remain true to myself during adversity.

    3. After meeting with Chip I want to put into action the building of a legacy where I transmute my attributes and skills to positively impact and inspire lives I come into contact with. To be a becon of “what can manifest” instead of “what could have been.”

  89. 1. “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”-Shawshank Redemption

    2. Anxiety=Uncertainty x Powerlessness

    Many times in my life I feel like I have been paralyzed by anxiety. Whether I was trying to talk to women or taking a challenging step towards a goal I have let anxiety control me too often. I could start using anxiety balance sheets to help me realize that I actually do have power in difficult situation. I could then take on new challenges with confidence.

    3. I am currently changing my career path. I’m leaving a 4 year university to pursue a 2 year certification. I have reasons to believe that this is a good choice for me, but I feel like I may not be living up to me true potential. Growing up I was always told I was very gifted, and I may have attached too much of my identity to this. I believe I could fulfill my potential in other ways not directly related to my career like blogging. After all I think sharing my ideas through blogging could be most helpful to other people.

    If I had a day with Chip I would like to learn how to deal with my emotions about this issue better, and improve my gratitude.

    Thank you for the opportunity!


  90. 1. “cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.” Shakespeare (Julius Caesar)


    Anxiety is a close friend of mine, I always have my own end in mind. In everything I do the question is always in the back of my head, “am I being the best I can be?” The answer is never easy. I like the four column method very much, because sometimes the question bears down on me, when the reality of it is not as bad. Taking a step back to look at the bigger picture always helps ease my mind.

    3. I would like to change my demanding attitude towards everything and everyone in my life, I would like to build a sustainable online business that gives more than it makes.

  91. 1) “Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.” ~ Bruce Lee

    2) The equation I would use relates to anxiety. I have suffered from anxiety for a very, very long time and have used many methods and attempts to manage it. Seeing my anxiety as an equation would help to reduce. I find I’m a pragmatic individual, and taking steps toward reducing that anxiety through things I can ac t on (my power, certainties in my life) would allow me to reduce that anxiety. I find that it’s anxiety that holds me back from pursuing that which I really love.

    3) I would like to change my approach to solving personal developmental problems. I think that seeing things through these equations, and figuring out how they can be used in different ways – it would help me to find a measure of control in the process – a measuring stick – something to help me along the way.

  92. 1) “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” -Joseph Campbell


    I’m a recent university graduate who took some time off to travel. Now I’m back in the United States with significantly more gratitude for what I have, but lacking a certain amount of direction. The uncertainty in knowing the next step can be unpleasant, but focusing on what is in my control versus what is not greatly improves that. There’s a quote to that effect out there somewhere…

    3) In addition to enlightening and improving my relationship with myself, I would change my approach to dealing with and leading people. I hope to lead a team if not start a company in the near future and time with Chip would greatly inform my understanding of managing people, something I could pass on to others over the course of my life.

  93. 1. A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both. -L.P. Jacks

    2. Applying the happiness equation to express more well-received gratitude. I have a sarcastic personality and when I try to express my gratitude to someone, they think I’m mocking them. This equation can help me shift from a snarky demeanor to a more positive one, where when gratitude is given it is enjoyed.

    3. I would like to change how people view me when I meet them. Chip obviously has a way with people that make him successful as well as the ability to inspire those around him to want to be their best. I would love the opportunity to interact with someone like that to improve myself so that I can build up those around me to strive for their happiness.

  94. 1. “Most people only focus on the treasure that lies at the end of the Legend, and not in creating the Legend itself.”

    In 2004, Neurology experts deemed me “disabled forever”, “They told me I could never play sports, go to college, never leave the care of my parents. That was their vision

    In 2007 I was awarded the Medal of Valor for risking my life to save another. The victim was submerged nearly 4min. No heartbeat, not breathing. I managed to get his heart started again and swam him to the ambulance. NOTE: water infested with flesh eating bacteria. (Verify:

    ) To amplify my prayers for this man, I went on a 4 day vision quest, fasting to pray that he could receive a second chance. Nobody knew more than I the significance of a second chance when everyone else gives up hope. I will never forget the day, 2 weeks after admission the victim was dropped from the critical list. I had never been so ‘on Fire” with Happiness.

    2. Happiness- At that most dynamic moment, I asked myself “What is the greatest gift that I can give to the world with my 2nd chance at life”? To give everyone in the world a 2nd chance at life. A man will only experience his ultimate happiness when he gives his highest self’s greatest gift to the world.

    So I embarked on a Soul searching mission into the rainforests of Central America.

    4 years tribal style in the Jungle, deep in meditation. (

    ) . We have manifested the true Fountain of Youth; anti-aging, anti-cancer miracle formula, that till now did not exist. Coincidentally we flew here from Central America to meet with Tim Ferris.

    3. Launch the healthiest beverage a human can place inside their body temple.

  95. 1. “Do it now” – the most effective way to bring about change in one’s life


    This equation is likely very relevant to many readers of this blog, as we are trying to break out of the rut of a ‘normal’ lifestyle. I certainly feel a ton of anxiety about trying new business ideas and potentially leaving the safety of a cushy job. The uncertainty variable will always be there to a certain extent, however taking concrete action every day can quickly eliminate the powerlessness variable. And if I can get the powerlessness down to 0, then there will be NO anxiety!

    3. After a day with Chip I would like to build the courage and DRIVE to attack finding and executing ideas to create financial and time freedom in my life. This would give me the two fold benefit of the excitement and learning of a new venture and the time and money to live my life as I see fit.


  96. Lao Tse “when the great leader’s work is done, the people will say “we did it ourselves.”

    To me, this truly embodies what the great corporations do. They empower people to believe in themselves assuring that the tools required are at hand and removing the obstacles that might hinder success. Then the leader finds a place to lend a hand as a “follower” to support someone in their drive toward success.

    Anxiety = uncertainty + powerlessness

    In most cases, you can work hard to eliminate the powerless part. Uncertainty will always exist. Hard work, learning, new experiences will reduce the powerless feeling and thereby reduce the anxiety. A recent diving scare made me anxious on each subsequent outing. To eliminate, I am doing added training as well as repetitive dives. In business, I practice role playing with a friend/mentor critical to eliminating anxiety.

    Encouraged by several people I trust and whose opinion I value, I would move to start a new career in the personal coaching for business executives. I am driven to do this by my desire to help people and find solutions to big problems. I believe that I can help others succeed and have fun doing it.

  97. 1. “Don’t quit before the miracle happens”

    2. Anxiety = Uncertainty X Powerlessness – Since college, I’ve always wanted to start my own successful business. I’ve had numerous failed attempts since then. Recently I had an idea for a business. And it’s exciting because for the first time it’s with a service that I have extensive knowledge (and success) with regard to selling. That success has been on a local level though working for a small business and I want to try it and see if there’s a market for it on a national level (ergo my own business). However, in getting my feet wet these past few weeks preparing for the launch I’ve realized I definitely have some scars from previous failures that I need to address. You’re anxiety balance sheet is/has helped tremendously. It’s been a huge benefit.

    3. I’ve had a lot of business training (leadership, sales, etc) and I always take away business ‘aha’s from that training. With Chip, one on one, I want take away life ‘aha’s. I want to learn what Chip knows about life and take what’s applicable to me and apply it.

    1. You just said it all, i always wonder what is life without a sub effective question in our daily life

  98. 1. The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. Ann Landers


    I just gave my resignation to a corporate job I’ve held for over 10 years. This is the first time I have not had a job since I was 14 years old. I’m about ready to turn 40 and have a great opportunity to start my own thing, relating to my curiosities and passions. Can’t wait! I also want to apply this curiosity equation to my two kids – I need to do my part to ensure they never lose their sense of wonder and awe.

    3. I’d love Chip’s guidance and thoughts on my ideas, involving creativity, generosity, and especially gratitude. I desperately need a mentor in my life right now, and his sweet-spot combo of both meaning and business really appeals to me. I especially value Chip’s focus on gratitude. I’ve had an online business idea centered on the concept of gratitude for quite awhile…I’d love to see what he thinks about it. This would be my very first trip to SF!

  99. “The grass is greener where you water it.” – Anonymous

    This quote rocked my world and became a mantra for me. It’s a simple reminder that the answer, the success we are searching for, the happiness we desire – it’s not somewhere over there, nor is it something that other people have that you don’t. It’s the result of tending your garden – taking steps towards your mission, making choices that lead to happiness, rather than wondering how everyone else got there.

    This simple principle has taken me from surviving to thriving – and the quote is posted prominently to remind me every day to diligently tend my garden.

    The natural reference is also meaningful for me. I connected with Chip’s equation CREATIVITY = WONDER + AWE. It inspires me to do more of what inspires my creative best – which has included holding as many meetings outdoors as possible. I’ve found that doing so keeps thinking expansive, and the fresh air does us all good!

    Working in marketing for a non-profit, I have long been a fan of curiosity to drive positive change – the reminder that wonder and awe are part of that equation is something we spoke about this morning, carrying into our next newsletter – reminding our subscribers of the wonder and awe around us that propels us to our best.

    I’d be very grateful for the opportunity to meet with Chip – I work for a non-profit retreat center, which is a social enterprise also serving as the largest NGO in the poorest district of Hawaii. Connecting the aloha spirit that infuses what we do here with the strategies for infusing emotional intelligence throughout the organization would be an exciting boost at a very opportune time.

    I look forward to the opportunity!

    Aloha, and mahalo nui loa,


  100. 1. The wrong question has no right answer.

    2. I need to work on finding ways to press pause. Not just at the moment when a decision needs to be made, but each day to life as a whole. So far the best place I’ve found to do this is in my kayak, which makes it hard come winter.

    3. I’m working on creating a “social hub” in my town. I want to create an environment that allows people to inspire themselves and each other.