Emotions + Math = Insight (Video)

Do emotions and math go together? “Emotions = Life.” That’s how Chip Conley begins his latest book, Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success.

“An equation is just another way of expressing the relationship between two or more things — or two or more forces. Emotional Equations help illuminate relationships — the relationships between one emotion and another and how the mix of two emotions may lead to a third,” says Conley.

A successful businessman, speaker, and author, Chip Conley is no stranger to adversity. Indeed, it was during the bad times that he began to look toward emotional equations for answers. There are many circumstances in life well beyond our control, but there are plenty of things we have the power to change.

Conley believes emotions have a scientific logic. By identifying the equations of your own circumstances, you can work through negatives and find your way to a more meaningful life — to understand yourself, your purpose, and your relationships with others. Emotions = Life.

The books tells stories using math, with Conley taking on the role of “emotional concierge,” as he calls it. If you’re prone to dislike thinking in mathematical terms, you may not take to the book immediately, but after a few chapters it begins to gel.


Considerable research shows that emotions are contagious, especially in the context of the Petri dish of a family or an organization. Approximately 50 to 70 percent of the temperament of a work group is influenced by the emotional state of its leader, so a business leader can almost think of herself as the “emotional thermostat” of her work group. This is just a true in your family or in any other closely knit group of people who regularly congregate.

Humanity’s common currency, emotions, is how we connect, even when we have little else in common. Whether you speak Farsi or Icelandic, are male or female, are eight or eighty, emotions are universal to your experience of life. When talking to someone about how you feel, you probably refer to parts of your body to describe your emotional state; for instance, you say, “I have a broken heart,” “I have a lump in my throat,” or “I have a bad gut feeling about this.” As my grandmother once told me, “No matter where you are in the world, you can always connect with someone by just being honest about your emotions, whether you’re feeling sad, glad, mad, or bad.”

Emotional fluency is the ability to sense, translate, and effectively apply the power of emotions in a healthy and productive manner. Yet most of us have more training in how to use our car or computer than we do in how to use our emotions in work and life. Welcome to driver’s ed for your emotions. Fasten your seat belts, please.

More information: Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success

Photo Credit: Hemera/Thinkstock

Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a hardcover copy of “Emotional Equations” for the purpose of writing this article. I made no agreement as to the contents of this piece nor do I have any financial connection to this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255.


Elisa F.
Elisa F3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Robert Hardy
Robert Hardy5 years ago

Interesting, thank you.

KS Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Brittany Flint
Brittany Flint5 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran5 years ago


Mandi A.
Amanda A5 years ago

Thank you

Jane Barton
Jane Barton5 years ago

Emotion is the antithesis of intelligence. It's not rocket science. People get info from their environment through their senses. It's stored in the base of our brain, the animal part. That's where our sex drive is. This information, stored in our subconscious minds, along with our HORMONES determines how we respond to stimuli. The frontal part of the brain gives us the ability to make decisions. The main hormone that runs our bodies is adrenalin, the fight or flight hormone. Modern day stress causes too much of that hormone to flood the bloodstream and it is the cause of depression and lots of illness. At the other end of the spectrum is happiness hormones which are also released when the subconscious mind is stimulated. Emotions are what we "feel" when hormones are released in our bloodstreams.
Extreme emotion and extreme amounts of either good or bad hormones cause our "intelligent" minds to SHUT DOWN. When we are extremely emotional we "can't think".
Everybody seems to believe that we can "think" away "emotions". It's impossible because
you can't suck the hormones out of your blood that CAUSE emotions. They are in there and they have to be metabolized away which takes time. Thus when you're grieving your brain is causing bad hormones to be excreted. It would be nice if we could just intelligently tell ourselves to be happy, happy, but it's just not physically possible. Our bodies are run by
our hormones and our minds as well. It's a vicious circle.

J.L. A.
j A5 years ago

Gardner wrote about emotional intelligence and many others identify it as the key to being an effective manager, team leader and team member. Always useful to be reminded.

Jane Warre
Jane Warren5 years ago

thnx for this

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago