Susan David (@susandavid_phd) is a Harvard psychologist, co-founder and co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, and author of Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life.

What We Discuss with Susan David:

  • What is emotional agility?
  • What’s wrong with trying to force ourselves to be happy all the time? Is our society misguided by a tyranny of positivity today?
  • Unpleasant and negative emotions actually serve a purpose — but what is that purpose and how can we use it to our advantage?
  • How do our thoughts, emotions, and stories hook us into responding ineffectively to life’s challenges, and how can we break these patterns?
  • Practical ways to develop our responses to adversity that leave us stronger and more capable.
  • And much more…

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Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan DavidDo we let our self-doubts, failings, shame, fear, or anger hold us back, or can we be determined, persevering toward key life goals with the insight and courage to recognize when these goals are not serving us, and adapt? What if we could understand what our emotions are trying to tell us and learn how to navigate them — even the ones we think of as unpleasant or negative — rather than trying to pave them over with an unrealistic sense of what we think happiness should feel like?

In this episode, Harvard psychologist and Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life author Susan David helps us find our way around life’s twists and turns with insight according to our values rather than knee-jerk “hooks” in which our thoughts, emotions, or stories drive our behavior. Listen, learn, and enjoy!

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Transcript for Susan David | How to Improve Your Emotional Agility (Episode 311)

Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:03] Welcome to the show. I’m Jordan Harbinger. As always, I’m here with producer Jason DeFillippo. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world’s most brilliant and interesting people, and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave and we want you to become a better thinker. If you’re new to the show, we’ve got episodes with spies and CEOs, athletes and authors, thinkers and performers, as well as toolboxes for skill sets like negotiation, public speaking, body language, persuasion, and more. So if you’re smart and you like to learn and improve, you’ll be right at home here with us.

[00:00:44] Today, a friend of the show, Dr. Susan David, is back. I love her work on Emotional Agility. I think it’s absolutely brilliant and answers questions like, why do we have emotions in the first place especially if they’re unreliable. We know from science that they are incredibly unreliable, so what do they do for us? She also answers why we’re usually running on autopilot and in what ways does this harm our ability to interact with others move ahead in our careers. This autopilot mode even causes ourselves damage. We’ll also learn how stress prematurely ages our brains and why positive thinking not only doesn’t work but is actually bad for us, and why negative emotions such as embarrassment or guilt might even be helpful to us. So we’re turning that wisdom, if you can call it that, straight upon its head. There’s a lot packed into this episode and all of it is delivered in Susan’s super cool South African accent, so I know you’ll enjoy it.

[00:01:36] If you want to know how I managed to keep all these amazing folks in my network. I’m teaching you how to do the same for personal and professional reasons. It’s our course called Six-Minute Networking. It’s free. It’s over at — and of course, it’s called Six- Minute Networking because five-minute networking was already taken — but most of the guests on the show, they subscribed to the course and the newsletter. So come join us, you’ll be in great company. Again, and it’s all free. Now, here’s Susan David. 

[00:02:06] Whenever we discuss emotions, I always wonder why we have them in the first place because you look sort of like a Spock character and you think, “Man, that guy is really efficient. You know, we don’t have to waste any time getting upset or miscommunicating and complaining about it. Why do we have emotions in the first place? 

Susan David: [00:02:21] Well, it’s interesting because emotions have bad press. People either think about emotions as being irrational or illogical, or they’re things that need to be managed constantly. But actually one of the most fundamental ideas about why we have emotions is that they help us to adapt. At a fundamental level, they help us to examine what is around us, to calibrate ourselves to our environment, and to adapt effectively. So Charles Darwin was one of the first people who spoke about emotions as being functional. Contrary to the narrative, this idea that they’re functional, that they help us to see how we are doing in relation to the environment and to adapt and that they are hopeful. And this is what’s so difficult in so much of the cultural narratives around emotion is I think that they get us into unhealthy ways of being with high emotions where we see them as being negative or bad or disruptive or illogical, and so we aren’t learning from them. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:17] Nobody says, “Oh, you’re so emotional,” and another person goes, “Thank you so much.”

Susan David: [00:03:21] Exactly. And you know the other thing, I recently had someone say to me, “Oh, I work with the CEO, and the CEO says that he’s super effective as a CEO because he doesn’t let emotions come into his decision making. What do you think about that?” And I was, “Well, that’s just not true.” Whether we like it or not, every single one of our decisions is actually impacted on by our mood and what we’re feeling. So for instance, we know that when people are in happier or more relaxed moods, they tend to be much more creative, big picture thinking. What’s called inductive reasoning. When people are in more neutral to negative moods, they do other types of thinking in really fabulous ways. They tend to do more editing — What might go wrong? Should we sign on the dotted line here? And then you find shifts in mood where people say, “You know, I’ve got this great solution to something that’s really been troubling me.” And often that’s because we’ve been applying this more neutral to negative mood orientation. We are more editing and thinking and trying to pass out. We then go into a relaxed situation and we’ll end up having our best thinking, and it’s because of shifts in mood. So our moods impact everything that we do and all our decisions. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:34] So maybe I’m not a cranky asshole, maybe I’m just trying to solve problems.

Susan David: [00:04:38] Maybe. I mean, most of the best thinking comes not from when people are in their laboratories or sitting at their desks. Most of their best thinking is when we are sitting under a tree or when we’re going for a walk — and that’s not magic. What’s happening there is you’ve got a shift in mood where you bring in one perspective to the problem and this is this more neutral to negative, and it’s this editorial, what’s not working here, what’s not happening? And then you go into a more relaxed space and you have this big picture thinking about the same situation. And so these shifts in mood really create a synthesis and these amazing solutions. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:15] So that’s why these mercurial artists who are seemingly really fickle and all over the place maybe are so creative.

Susan David: [00:05:21] Well, that’s one theory. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:24] I came up with that in the last three minutes. Our emotions aren’t always reliable. You stayed in the book. What does that actually mean? They’re not reliable in terms of they don’t represent reality or what? 

Susan David: [00:05:37] Well, in Emotional Agility, one of the things that I talk about is how our emotions are absolutely fundamental and absolutely functional, and I think this is really important to recognize from an emotional health and wellbeing perspective. But what sometimes happens is we start fusing with our emotions. And what I mean by fusing with high emotions is we might say something like, “I am sad,” and what does that mean? That means all of me, 100 percent of me is sad. There’s no other space for anything else. There’s no other space for my values, my wisdom, my breathing, my centeredness. There’s no space for anything else. 

[00:06:12] So what sometimes happens with our emotions is we experience our emotions and we start treating them not as data, but as directives. So our emotions are data. Yes, they are signposts to things that we care about and our values, and they help us to adapt. But they’re not directives. Just because I feel upset, it doesn’t mean that I need to walk out of the room. Just because I think my boss is an idiot, it doesn’t mean my boss is an idiot and I’ve got to give up on my job. And so what very often happens is we fuse with our emotions. We start treating our emotions as directives. They are facts, and we become overly immersed in them in ways that just aren’t helpful and that don’t serve who we want to be in the world.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:56] While a lot of the time we’re on autopilot. We don’t necessarily notice that our emotions are creeping and they just sort of happened. Well, at least I should speak for myself. Sometimes I just realize that I’m angry and I can’t even pinpoint an exact reason why I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or like I ate something for lunch. It’s heavy. It’s making me tired now I’m cranky. And it kind of drives me crazy because I feel like I can’t control it. 

Susan David: [00:07:18] Well, we do experience emotions on autopilot a lot or this experience. Someone says something, “I’m upset. Now, I’m going to react.” You know that beautiful, probably at this point overused, but I think extraordinarily powerful — Viktor Frankl phrase. That idea that between stimulus and response, there’s a space. And in that space is our power to choose. And in that choice lies our growth and freedom. And what happens very often is we move into spaces where we are on autopilot. There’s no space between stimulus and response. I feel something, I wake up and I feel a bit grouchy and so I react. Or my child says something and it triggered something in me and so I react. And so a core part of emotional health and emotional effectiveness is developing skills that help us to recognize that actually very often when we think we are just reacting where this emotion is actually coming out of nowhere, it’s often very patterned responses.

[00:08:15] So what I mean by that is. Many years ago, I recognized that there was something that was hooking me. And it was in a very particular situation where I felt that people who were, you know, very often older than me and often had more authority, were undermining me. And it was a very specific situation. And if I hadn’t been aware of it, I would have thought, “Oh, you know, this is just coming out of nowhere.” But what we so often know in our relationships is we have the same fights for years with our partners, with our spouses. We have the same experiences or reactions to situations, and we might think, “Gee, these things are coming out of nowhere, but often it is an autopilot, but it’s an autopilot that if we slow down a little bit into ourselves, we can often start connecting with what it is that is triggering a particular emotional response. And that allows us, instead of reacting, to choose a response that feels more connected and intentional. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:15] You know, I noticed even recently — and I’m 39, I should have noticed this before — when I’m trying to focus on something, or even if I’m not, and there’s input like someone’s talking, or some else is on the phone, and someone’s trying to get my attention, it makes me angry. It’s not just like, “Oh, you’re distracting me. Hold on.” I just want to explode and be like, “Shut up, everyone. Shut the hell up.” And you’re not supposed to do that. So I got noise-canceling headphones and now when there’s so much going on, I’ll just put them on and I’m like, “Ah! But it took me 40 years to realize I just want everybody to shut the hell up for five seconds and I can’t make them do it, but I can isolate myself from that. Or I can go into a quiet room and problem is solved instead though, I just felt like I had to deal with it, but then get really angry about it and then get mad at myself.

Susan David: [00:10:02] You try to manage the situation and it’s this recognition — there is this thing for me that for me is something that I need to navigate. And knowing what that trigger is, knowing what that pattern is, is incredibly helpful. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:15] So what is emotional rigidity? What is this concept? 

[00:10:18] Susan David: [00:10:18] Well, emotional rigidity. What I talk about in my book, Emotional Agility is this idea that so often what happens is we land up being cooked, being on autopilot. We land it becoming very rigid with our emotions. So this is the idea that there is no space between stimulus and response. My bosses undermining me, or my colleague is a fraud. I’m just going to shut down. My husband’s starting in on the finances. I’m going to leave the room. I come home from work and I value precious time with my family, but I’m stressed. And so what I do is I bring my cell phone to the table and being in a way that is very rigid. It’s very autopilot. It’s very habitual, but that it’s actually disconnected with who I want to be in the world.

[00:11:02] And so emotional rigidity is essentially the experience of emotion and the way that we respond to emotions, but in a way that actually doesn’t serve how we want to love, how we want to spend our time, how we want to relate to people, and we find emotional rigidity in our own lives and in our relationships, but we also find it in the workplace. Groupthink is an example of emotional rigidity. Or where you’ve got a culture in an organization where everyone just shuts down into cynicism. That’s an example of emotional rigidity. And a very typical example of emotional rigidity is when people get hooked on the idea of being right. So many of us have this experience where we know in our hearts that we are right and another person is wrong. We just know it. And we must have had this thing where we say, “You know, I haven’t spoken to my brother for five years, but I am right and this person is wrong. And I can’t remember exactly what the person did, but I am right. And they’re wrong.” And it’s so fascinating, walls are made and broken. Families are decimated. By this, I’m right and the person is wrong. And that experience that we’ve all had of you have a fight with your partner, your spouse, and then finally, calm descends, and you turn up the light. You go to sleep. But then something compels you one last time to turn on the night and tell the person, “You are right and I’m wrong,” and all hell breaks loose again.

[00:12:28] Again, that’s an example of emotional rigidity. And why is it rigid? It’s rigid because what it takes away from is probably a more important question — “I may be right, but is my response serving me. Is it serving my values? Is it serving who I want to be in my life? Is it serving my career? Is it serving how I want to parent?” And sometimes the more important question is not am I right or wrong, but is my response congruent with who I want to be and how I want to live? 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:59] It’s funny, I hear you say this and it all makes sense, and yet I’m thinking, but how are they going to know that I’m right and they’re wrong if I don’t get the last word out.

Susan David: [00:13:08] And I am well aware of this experience because we all do it as humans. And then sometimes this beautiful capacity that I think exists in all of us that says, “I’m right, but how do I choose to be?” And that’s emotional agility. “I may be right, but who do I choose to be, ” or, “I may be right, but how do I choose to do what’s constructive in the situation?” And it’s not about being boundaryless. It’s not about not knowing how you feel or what you think about something. It’s really, why is it emotionally agile? It’s emotionally agile because what it’s doing is it’s saying, this is the context that I’m in and I might have all these stories and all these reactions and all these ways of being, but this is the context that I’m in. How do I choose to be? It’s so powerful. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:01] It is powerful and it’s frustrating because knowing that there’s a tension between, let’s say, being flexible or agile emotionally and not, well, it stresses our brains. And you mentioned in the book that taking this stuff at home — bringing your cell phone to the table is your example — but trying always really hard to be right or not being flexible in what you’re doing this, this shows up in our brains age. It ages our brain. And that’s a high price to pay. It’s not just like, “Oh, I fight a little bit more with my wife and kids, which is bad enough,” and you’re probably giving yourself with Alzheimer’s or something like that. I mean, that’s bad. 

Susan David: [00:14:36] Well, one of the things that I focus on a lot in my work is really what emotional health looks like. And I don’t mean emotional health simply from the perspective of mental health, you know? Yes, that. But what does it fundamentally look like? To be healthy with ourselves, to be healthy with ourselves, to be healthy with our thoughts, our emotions, and who we want. We are to essentially breathe into the wisdom that exists in all of us about how we come to our lives. And yet we live in a world in which we are constantly pulled away from that — Technology and so on as the most obvious example — but where there are so many narratives. You know, you’re unhappy in your job but at least you’ve got a job. So you should just get on with it. Or you’re feeling upset about something, but don’t be too upset because you might be toxic. And if you’re toxic, I don’t want to be with you. Or you know, you’re going through something really difficult, but you’ve just got to be positive with this thing. 

[00:15:38] And so what happens is that all of these countervailing experiences that we have that are stressful for us because really what they’re doing is they take us away from the essence of what emotional health looks like and what is so fundamental to all of us. The way we deal with our inner lives drives everything — how we love. How we come to our relationships, how we live, how we lead, how we parent. And so this ability to navigate ourselves effectively is, I think, one of the most critical components to anything. It doesn’t matter how smart we are, it doesn’t matter how motivated we are. It’s this — how do we navigate our inner worlds.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:22] You mentioned the negativity and the toxicity, so emotional agility is not just positive thinking. I want to separate those because one, I’m not a positive thinking fan. I think it does more harm than good in many cases where people are blocking out — I don’t want to complain about all this childhood trauma because I don’t want to be negative. And you see people whose lives are completely dictated by kind of avoiding negativity, even though they have all kinds of stuff they need to deal with. So this isn’t just being able to think positive in the face of negative events. 

Susan David: [00:16:53] It’s actually the opposite. So what I’ve found in my work is what I call in my TED Talk, the tyranny of positivity. The tyranny of positivity is the idea that normal natural emotions, normal emotions are now seen as being good or bad, positive or negative. And the positive emotions are the happiness and joy and the so-called negative emotions are the grief, stress, anxiety, frustration, fear, boredom. All of these are seen as being negative emotions. And so what this leads to is this experience that we have where we are not out of sync with our emotions. 

[00:17:30] In my book, I talk about how often what we do is we plan of either brooding on our emotions, we say, “I’m so unhappy in my job, but at least I’ve got a job. I shouldn’t be unhappy, or I shouldn’t feel this.” And you know, we land up having a top one emotions and top two emotions. Top one emotions are when you feel sad, “I feel really sad.” And then type two emotions are when you have an emotion about an emotion. “I feel so sad and I’m sad about the fact that I’m sad. I shouldn’t feel so sad.”

Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:58] Angry with myself when feeling sad.

Susan David: [00:18:00] I get angry and we started layering on all these judgments about why we experience any emotion. So we either brewed on our emotions, where we get stuck in them and almost victimized by emotions. Or what we do is we bottle our emotions, we push them aside, we judge them, we try to talk ourselves out of them. And what this does is it takes us away from the idea that beneath our most difficult emotions, a signpost to the things that we care about. I’ve never met someone who’s depressed, who isn’t at some level concerned about “How do I better be in the world?” Someone who’s socially anxious — “How do I better connect?” Someone who’s bored at work — “How do I grow more?” Our emotions contain signposts to the things that we care about, and when we push aside these emotions in the service of forced or false positivity, what we do is we take away from our capacity to learn and adapt and truly to experience authentic happiness. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:03] So since we’re hiding our true emotions under this fake positivity, we miss or repress all the clues that show us whether we’re doing the right thing in our lives or not.

Susan David: [00:19:13] Absolutely. Because what we land up doing is we’ll land up having experiences that are disintegration. Disintegration is where you have this thing that you’re upset about, or you’ve experienced this thing, but you don’t want to think about it or talk about it. And so you’ve got these different parts of yourself that are not coming together in a way that feels connected and as wise human beings, we want to be connected. We want to be moving and acting and responding and being in ways that are in sync, that are integrated. And this is the sign of health. 

[00:19:47] On that point, what’s really fascinating is when you look at the research on people who hold this idea that, “I’ve just got to be happy. I’ve just got to be happy,” and happiness becomes an end goal. What you find is that those people become less and less and less happy over time. It’s almost this idea that happiness is this disappointment. This happiness goal is then an expectation that is waiting for disappointment. That you come to the end of the day and you think, “Everyone else seems to be happy. I’m not happy. What’s wrong with me?” So happiness is not found in the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is found in the experience of life. That is healthy, where we connect with our values, where we have a feeling of mutuality with the people that we love and care about, and when we come to the world in a way that feels clean and integrated as opposed to we’re always hustling with ourselves and we jostling with ourselves and we’re trying to feel something or not feel something.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:52] Well, luckily, I’m comfortable being miserable so I don’t have to worry about happiness.

Susan David: [00:20:57] I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-happiness. I’m not anti-happiness. I’m a happy person. I like being happy, but when we focus on happiness at the expense of what’s truly going on for us, it is a recipe for unhappiness.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:13] Yeah, that’s a really interesting point. I had not thought about that. I do want to talk about bottling emotions. I think we kind of know a little bit about what this is — I mean, it’s almost a cliche, right? Everyone’s got like an uncle or a father that bottle’s emotions. I mean, that’s like the default strategy for a lot of us. What’s funny about this is that there’s emotional leakage. It comes out at something, and I’m wondering if this is why I’ll cry at a YouTube video about animals and my bottling, but I’m also brooding. I think I’m just both of these. 

Susan David: [00:21:41] So what often happens with bottling emotions is that people will push aside these difficult emotions. And they’re often pushing it aside for good reason. They think, “I have to just get on with that work.” “I have to just go with this project.” “I’ve got a lot of it” — like “I just can’t go there,” or they’re bottling emotions because they’re actually struggling to show up to those emotions effectively. So the different reasons that people bottle emotions. But what we find, and we found this in really interesting ways, is that when people characteristically bottle their emotions, and I use that word purposefully because if you go into a job interview and your boyfriend’s just broken up with you and you push aside those difficult emotions because you go into the job interview, there’s nothing inherently bad about that.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:23] No, it’s probably a good move.

Susan David: [00:22:25] It’s a good move. You know, Bridget Jones’s Diary, well I think she has this experience, but if we’re doing this in a characteristic way, we find this thing called emotional leakage. Emotional leakage is literally this idea that you are trying not to feel the thing that you don’t want to feel, and you then feel it. So you might feel it when you’re watching a movie and suddenly you sobbing out of the blue, or you try to hold yourself in and not say anything to your mom who you really unhappy with, and you’re trying purposefully to not go there. And then you’re sitting over the Thanksgiving dinner table. And of course, you say the thing that you didn’t want to say.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:09] “Pass the stuffing.” “You were never there for me. I mean, here you go, here you go.”

Susan David: [00:23:10] So there’s this really interesting effect in psychology called amplification. Amplification is the idea that there’s a delicious piece of chocolate cake in the refrigerator, and the more you try not to think — 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:23] Who keeps cake in the refrigerator?

Susan David: [00:23:24] Well, you know, it’s hot pie.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:28] Am I focusing on the wrong thing?

Susan David: [00:23:30] Lemon meringue pie.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:32] There we.

Susan David: [00:23:32] Does that go? 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:33] Yeah, that makes sense. 

Susan David: [00:23:33] So you’ve got this thing in the refrigerator and the more you try not to think about it, the greater its hold on you. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:39] Oh, yeah, for sure.

Susan David: [00:23:41] And that’s what amplification is. Amplification is the idea that when we are experiencing difficult emotions or even difficult thoughts, what we do when we push them aside is we have an amplification effect. So an amplification effect is this. You try not to think about the thing, you think about it. You ask people not to focus on why things aren’t working out with a particular project or in a relationship, they’ll think about it around 39 times in a single minute. And we do experiments where we time them and where we assess this. So you find this amplification, it’s almost a rebound effect that happens. And this is because cognitive resources are actually used in trying not to think about something. And so there’s this thing that comes through and it’s really powerful and it’s counterproductive. It just doesn’t work because — two things, firstly, it’s not solving the problem and secondly, there’s this rebound effect. 

[00:24:35] There’s this really fascinating study that I just love, which was a study where you have a manager and the manager is really upset with a team, and the manager is told to just pretend that he’s not unhappy with his team. So he’s bottling his emotion and then you take the team’s blood pressure. The team does not know that the manager is trying to bottle emotions but the team’s blood pressure actually increases 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:00] Because they feel it. They’re feeling what he’s feeling.

Susan David: [00:25:02] They feel it. And so bottling emotions have a real cost on our own health and wellbeing, but we also know that it impacts on our relationships and actually even our ability to pursue our goals.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:14] I probably need to apologize to everybody that works with me now, if they’re feeling the same thing that I’m bottling. That’s not my intention, people. That’s interesting because of course, there’s sort of mirroring you and whatever they’re around you. Not consciously, but I mean, it just sort of happens. Being around somebody who’s stressed out never feels good, even if they’re doing a good job of trying to hide it.

Susan David: [00:25:33] To be clear, I’m not suggesting that because you feel something, you need to just let it all out.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:42] I was going to ask about that.

Susan David: [00:25:45] I can show up to my own emotions. I can show up to my emotions with compassion and acceptance and willingness. You know, this idea that I am actually capable enough as a human being to experience sadness or to experience boredom, and I don’t need to hustle with it and push it aside. So I can show up to my own emotions and I can show up to other people’s emotions without needing to treat them as facts or directions, as we mentioned earlier.

[00:26:11] So if my son is frustrated with his baby sister, I can show up to his sadness and I can be there and see it and empathize. It doesn’t mean that I’m endorsing his idea that he gets to give her away to the first stranger that he sees in a shopping mall.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:27] Has he tried to do that?

Susan David: [00:26:29] When he was little, he did.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:31] I was going to ask how old– 

Susan David: [00:26:32] Yeah, when he was little. You know, we own our emotions. They don’t own us. So what I am talking about here is this idea of being able to be with our emotions with acceptance and curiosity. What I’m not talking about is because I feel something, I’ve got to act on it. You know the whole idea again, data are not directives. You can choose how you want to be in that situation.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:53] So showing up is one antidote, if you will.

Susan David: [00:26:56] Yeah.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:57] Is it antidote? Is that even the right word? What am I looking — strategy for dealing with this? 

Susan David: [00:27:01] I think a fundamental aspect of emotional health is being able to recognize that no change in our lives, no change if it happens up without acceptance. There’s this paradox, which is acceptance. Acceptance is the prerequisite to change. When you accept that your relationship isn’t working or you accept that your job is a go-nowhere job, or that actually you feeling really stuck. And when you go into that place of acceptance, that is the building block of how we actually create change.

[00:27:37] And so the fundamental aspect of emotional agility, one of the core aspects is really being able to recognize that as human beings, we are bigger than a single emotion. In this beautiful metaphor, this idea that often when we feel sad or when we feel angry, we become the emotion it starts to take over. But showing up to emotions is the recognition that we as human beings are big enough to experience a full range of emotions and showing up to it with compassion and curiosity is a critical first part of that.

Jason DeFillippo: [00:28:16] You’re listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Susan David. We’ll be right back. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:21] This episode is sponsored in part by Skillshare. It’s time to explore some new skills, deepen some existing passions, and get lost in creativity with Skillshare’s online classes. What you find might just surprise and inspire you. I’m impressed with Skillshare. They’ve got a ton of different subject matter — illustration, design, photography, video freelancing. Jason, what are you hitting on Skillshare these days?

Jason DeFillippo: [00:28:43] Right now I’m learning color grading and Final Cut Pro. I know it’s exciting stuff, but they’ve got some great courses for it, so I’ve been diving in.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:50] Is that like coloring videos? What is that? 

Jason DeFillippo: [00:28:53] Yeah, it’s just doing basic color correction, but also color grading. It’s like when you see a movie, how it’s like a hue of blue or orange that goes throughout the movie and it’s all matched up. Learning how to do that. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:02] Oh, nice. Yeah, that makes sense. So you can give it like a darker feel or a brighter feel or a more whimsical feel, right? That kind of thing. 

Jason DeFillippo: [00:29:10] Yeah. And also you can make profiles, so all of your cameras will look the same, even if they’re in different lights and different scenes and stuff. It’s really fun stuff. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:16] That’s cool. 

Jason DeFillippo: [00:29:17] Yeah. And the courses there are by legit professionals. So Skillshare is knocking it out of the park on that one.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:22] Maybe we should turn all of our YouTube videos into like, what was that movie Sin City where it’s all like really dark.

Jason DeFillippo: [00:29:29] Black and white.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:29] Comic. Yeah, maybe not. All right, well, Skillshare has an annual subscription that’s like 10 bucks a month, not even 10 bucks a month. Tons of classes, any sort of passion project you can find will be in there and it can benefit your business or just get you to stop thinking about your business for like a few minutes a day and get into something that you’re actually enjoying that doesn’t necessarily have to result in ROI right away. So I appreciate that. It’s kind of like hobby, personal growth, skill growth, and not mere inspiration. Jason.

Jason DeFillippo: [00:29:58] Skillshare is a proud sponsor of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Explore your creativity at and get two free months of premium membership. That’s two whole months of unlimited access to thousands of classes for free. Get started and joined today by heading to That’s

Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:16] This episode is also sponsored by Figs. I think there’s something all of us can agree on. Nurses, doctors, dentists, and people who work in medicine and healthcare are pretty awesome and they deal with a lot of gross stuff. Let’s be real, especially here doing flu season. Stuff can be terrifying. I think all of us can think of a time when a medical professional helped us, helped a family member and they wear these scrubs. And scrubs are usually like, I don’t know, cheap pillowcases with a drawstring that sometimes doesn’t even work. And so these people are doing this really hard job. That’s kind of thankless. They’re getting coughed on. That’s probably the least of their worries now that I think about it. They’re getting — you know what? — on all day by everybody. Figs is an amazing company that’s making scrubs not only stylish but functional for the people who deserve it most. So they don’t have to wear these ill-fitting scratchy scrubs that are ugly and uncomfortable. Figs is using high-quality medical materials, so medical pros look their best, feel their best. They can actually put stuff in their pockets. So they’re infused with antimicrobial properties to control odor. They’re soft, they’re moisture-wicking. They got a four-way stretch. They’re made with yoga waistbands, which sounds trendy, but in this case, it’s probably functional. They come in a variety of styles from straight-leg, joggers, skinny styles, so you can bring your hipster BS attitude to work. No, just kidding. I mean, you can wear something that actually fits and doesn’t look like you’re wearing a bedsheet that didn’t quite get folded right. And every time you shop at figs, they give scrubs to healthcare providers in need around the world through Threads for Threads. Basically, they’ve donated hundreds of thousands of scrubs in over 35 countries. Speaking of giving, Figs are going to be great gifts for the lifesavers in your life, even if you’re not in the industry. They got gift cards. So next time, your doctor, nurse, dentist, dermatologist, pediatrician saves the day, you can thank them by sending them Figs, Jace. 

Jason DeFillippo: [00:32:01] So whether you’re one of the awesome humans that work in healthcare or someone that wants to say thanks to those deserving folks, Figs is going to make that easy by providing you with 15 percent off your first purchase by using our code JHS get ready to love your scrubs head to That’s and enter our code JHS at checkout for 15 percent off your first purchase.

[00:32:25] Thanks for listening and supporting the show and to learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard from our amazing sponsors, visit Don’t forget we have a worksheet for today’s episode so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from Susan David. That link is in the show notes at If you’d like some tips on how to subscribe to the show, just go to Subscribing to the show is absolutely free. It just means that you get all of the latest episodes downloaded automatically to your podcast player, so you don’t miss a single thing. And now back to our show with Susan David.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:02] One concept from the book — this is fascinating. Our mind creates a narrative with all the data to our senses and brains take in. That’s pretty powerful. I mean, the idea that our brains are creating a narrative based on things we see, hear, feel, experience, whatever, but that those things aren’t necessarily the real story of that are just little ingredients and our brain is the chef that makes the recipe from the ingredients. It’s both scary and also empowering because it means that everything you think, you know about your life is just something your brain created based on things that have happened to you or that you’ve seen. Things you think have happened to you, they haven’t really necessarily happened to you. Your brain is creating that narrative as well. 

Susan David: [00:33:41] Yeah, we all do this and it’s actually, again, something that’s really functional in it. You know, why do our brains do this? Our brains create these narratives. I’ll give you an example. If you are lying in bed and your child comes up and jumps on the bed. That immediate narrative is the narrative of, “This is my child. He’s jumped on my bed. He wants to give me a hug, ” and able to filter out all of the distorted sounds of the cars passing on the streets. So what I’m actually doing is I’m starting to build up a picture of what matters in the here and now and what I filter out — the cars or the noise or the other things that might be in that environment. And our brains are doing this all the time, all the time. Why do we do this? Because we would be on complete overload if we took every single piece of information, data, noise, sound, and we try to make sense of it. So what our brains do is our brains shortcut. Our brains shortcut very quickly to the, “Oh, I’m at home. He has my son. I love my son. He’s on the bed with me. All the other stuff doesn’t matter right now.” So we do this all the time and it’s really, really critical. 

[00:34:55] Dan Kahneman talks about this idea of system one thinking and system two thinking. System one thinking is this very quick, intuitive response. Does this make sense? Doesn’t it make sense? How do I feel about what this person’s just said to me? We’re doing it all the time and it’s really helpful because we would literally not be able to function if we kept on saying, “Oh, you know, what’s this person’s facial expression telling me? Should I trust them or should I not trust them? How do I want to respond to them?” So it’s very functional. When does it get unhelpful? It gets unhelpful when our stories aren’t serving us. It gets unhelpful when we’ve got these quick-fix stories that are incongruent with how we want to live our lives. So a story that might’ve been very functional as a child, you might’ve learned as a child that when you showed vulnerability, you were punished for it. So you may have learned this very functional response to your own experience, which is don’t be vulnerable. Don’t show vulnerability and push aside difficulty because that’s the only way that I can survive in this environment, completely functional. 

[00:36:11] You then in your 30s and you meet someone and you feel a sense of connection with that person. And at that point, that story that was once functional might actually no longer be functional. That story might be the story that keeps you at a distance that stops you from connecting, and that stops you from actually navigating and being in a relationship in a way that’s healthy and whole with this individual.

[00:36:35] So we’ve all got system one thinking. System two thinking is where we start saying to ourselves, in what ways are my habits? It might be a habit of the day. It might be the habit of constantly going on my cell phone and you know, that’s all I do. I can’t spend time with myself at lunch without my cell phone. Or the habit might be the habit of always reacting or responding in a particular way. Or the habit might be the stories that we get stuck in that stop us from living fulfilling lives. These are quick, intuitive ways of being with our stories that don’t serve us, and this is where the slowing down is helpful. This is where the, what Dan Kahneman called system two thinking is helpful. System two thinking is where we’re starting to notice our thoughts, our emotions, and stories for what they are. They’re thoughts, they’re emotions, they’re stories, they’re data. They’re not fact. And the other parts of ourselves that we get to surface and to bring into the situation, they can be more helpful.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:40] I think a lot of times some of these narrative elements are implanted as kids, and then we just never questioned them as adults. 

Susan David: [00:37:46] Yeah. So many of our narratives were written on our mental chalkboards when we were five years old. Stories about who we are, what kind of relationships we deserve, whether we are IT or mathy people [00:37:59], whether we are good enough, whether we deserve love. These narratives get written on our mental chalkboards, whether we can dance, whether we fluid. There’s all of the stuff and it’s so profoundly sad. And so profoundly just devastating when these narratives that actually, again, they were functional very often at some point, but they become a prison. They become a prison that stops us from putting our hands up for a job or coming to a relationship in a way that’s healthy or being able to attach effectively to our own children and they have real consequences.

[00:38:45] And emotional agility is firstly about recognizing how normal these narratives are. That there’s nothing to be judged in them or pushed aside in them. There’s no reason we need to beat ourselves up about them. But we also, as people with power and the capacity to choose and the ability to evolve and change at the age of 40 — you aren’t five anymore — and there’s enormous power in taking ownership of that narrative and starting to make choices that are more congruent with who we want to be in the world. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:25] How do we get started with that? Because it’s difficult for me to think, “Oh, okay, yeah. Here’s a story I have from when I’m five that I’m still running. Here’s a program I’m still running from my childhood that’s not serving me.” Or is it just the therapy thing? 

Susan David: [00:39:39] I mean, of course, people do a lot of this work in therapy, but we can do this work beyond therapy. We can, for instance, recognize — You know, one of the things that I love to focus on in my work is what are the micro-moments of our experience, what are called tiny tweaks that are so pervasive in our lives. In other words, if we keep doing something and doing something and doing something that doesn’t serve us, it becomes a habit that is the course of our lives that doesn’t serve us. 

[00:40:10] I remember reading years ago this beautiful study showing that on average, human beings spend nine years, nine years of their lives watching television. So this is like, you know, there’s like a micro habit, that’s a micro habit, but that has a real impact on our lives. We take this idea that we have these micro habits. We know that when we start shifting, these micro habits are what I call in my book, tiny tweaks that you land up taking a degree, degree, degrees, step, or you own a boat and it’s a slight degree in navigation, but that actually it takes you in a completely different direction over the course.

[00:40:51] And so the same exists with our habits. We can start thinking about, you know, what are some habits that we have that might be these habits that are written on our mental chalkboards, but that doesn’t serve us. It might be a habit, for instance, that’s a lack of intimacy. And so we might have a habit, which is this habit that when my husband comes home from work and is saying hello to me. That I have this, I’m really busy and I’m on my computer, or I’m cooking dinner and I don’t turn and face the person and connect with them. And it might be a habit that is built up either from childhood or just a sense of distance. That’s become a protective distance in the relationship over time. And I can start looking at that and I can start saying, is this really who I want to be in my relationship and how can I make tiny shifts. That I’m looking at the person and I’m connecting with them in that moment, and we know that if we take and multiply these tiny shifts, they make a real difference, but we don’t just get to that place. We don’t get to that place without first understanding sometimes. What is the function? I talk in Emotional Agility about what the funk and what I mean by what the funk is, what is the function of your story or what is the function of an emotion that you experiencing. Is the function to self-protect you? If you understand that you can start making these tiny tweaks, or what is the function of your boredom at work?

[00:42:43] Boredom is often a signpost that you value learning. If you feel guilty as a parent, guilt is a signpost that you value prisons and connectedness with your children. Beneath our most difficult emotions and stories are often signposts of the things that we care about. So when we try to be emotionally agile and develop these skills, what we’re often doing is we’re saying, “What was the function of this sort of emotion story?” And when I understand that, I can start saying, “Oh, this thing is actually pointing to a value.” It might be a value of connectedness. It might be a value of collaboration. It might be a value of, “I don’t feel like I’ve got a voice in this environment and that’s why I’m shutting down.” So when we can understand that function, what we can start doing is saying, “How can I keep moving myself a little bit more towards the edge of what I feel comfortable with?” Just more, just a little bit more in a way that feels a value is congruent. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:43:23] That’s useful. Because I think, I don’t really ever think, “Oh, I feel this way. Maybe it’s a clue that there’s something underneath I should be paying attention to.” Usually, I just think, “I’m feeling this way and it’s really inconvenient. That’s super annoying. Now I’m annoyed that I feel angry,” or something like that. Instead of looking at it like, “What is this emotion trying to tell me?” I just get pissed. I get even more angry about being inconvenienced, about being angry. 

Susan David: [00:43:45] Yeah. It’s so powerful. It’s so powerful to say, “What is the signpost?” I always talk about this idea that emotions contain signposts to our values. Emotions are the signpost to what we care about. If you feel rage when you watch the news, that rage might be a signpost that you value fairness and equity and that that value is being contravened. And so when we just slowed down a little bit and instead of trying to fix and hustle and get a solution with our emotions — if we just slow down and we say, “What is this emotion signposting to me about what I care about here? And then how can I make moves in that direction?” That’s so empowering and so powerful. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:33] Let’s talk about hooks and these autopilot responses that we have when we accept our thoughts as facts. Can you explain this concept a little bit? 

Susan David: [00:44:41] Yeah, so this idea of hooks is that we all have thoughts. The thought might be, “I’m not good enough.” “I’m an imposter.” “I’m boring.” “I don’t deserve love.” It just might be thoughts. Emotion might be — “I’m stressed when I’m sad, I’m angry.” Or it could be a story like we’ve spoken about. “I am not good at.” “I don’t deserve things.” “These never worked out for me.” “I always give in.” So we have this and what happens is when we start treating them as fact. And when we start treating them as direction and when we start auto acting on them, that’s when we hooked. That’s when, by definition, we are emotionally agile, we’re emotionally rigid.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:27] Right. Okay. So then we attempt to, maybe, wheel these thoughts away, which is not really possible. It’s going back to your whole thing like “Don’t think about this. Don’t let the stress out.” So that’s upset our mental energy is kind of a fool’s errand and we end up exhausted and then angry at ourselves for feeling sad and disengaged at work.

Susan David: [00:45:46] Yeah.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:47] Okay. Why does our brain do that? You mentioned this a little bit in Emotional Agility that our thoughts blend with our emotions to make them easier to sort. What does it mean? 

Susan David: [00:45:55] Well, we don’t just experience thoughts in a Dr. Spock like way. We experience our thoughts in technicolor. So I might have a thought and the thought might be, I haven’t phoned my mother in two weeks. Even as I say that to you, her facial expression comes up for me. I have an emotion. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:19] Feeling guilty. 

Susan David: [00:46:20] I feel a little guilty. I have a tendency to act. Okay, I almost feel like, “Where’s my phone? I should phone my mom.” And this is an evolutionary adaptation. This is because it would be mighty inefficient for us if we were walking in the Savannas, and we had someone come up to us that was a threat and was about to attack us and we say, “Right? I wonder if this person is about to attack me. I wonder what I should do. Maybe I should schedule it on my iPhone tomorrow morning that I’m going to run away.” No! We don’t. We have the thought. We experience it. We have emotions in a relationship and we have an erring to action all at once. And this is likely to take place in a particular part of our brains, which is the angular gyrus, which is this basically blending of thought, emotions, story, and so on, in a way that just feels like it’s in technicolor. And again, it’s an evolutionary adaptation, but where it doesn’t serve us is you sitting in a meeting and instead of saying, “I’m having the thought that my boss is undermining me.” You say, “My bosses undermining me,” and you have emotions about that. You have memories about the last time that he undermined you, what happened previously in your previous job, how it all, all of this happens at once and we land up getting on the hook.

[00:47:43] And so this is why, again, recognizing that — you know, a lot of times people say, “Oh, but it just happens in the spur of the moment.” But so many of our reactions are these patterned reactions. So if we are able instead to go into that meeting knowing that this is a context in which you’ve had this feeling before and you start using some of the skills in Emotional Agility. I talked about some very practical skills. For instance, instead of saying, “I am being undermined or I am sad.” Instead, what we do is we notice our thoughts, emotions, and feelings for what they are. They off thoughts, emotions, feelings, stories. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:20] So they don’t necessarily represent reality. They’re just a tool our brain uses to say like, “Okay, here’s this thing that saves me a lot of energy. You’re seeing this. It usually means this, this, this, and this,” and then we go, “Okay, great.” But we shouldn’t necessarily believe everything we think 

Susan David: [00:48:34] They are a data point. They’re data points. What is mindfulness as it’s fundamental? What mindfulness is, is the ability to say, “I am noticing my thought as a thought. I’m noticing my emotion as an emotion.” Now, I’m not one of these, oh, everything’s about mindfulness and you need to take everything up mindfully. I’m not, because there are many times where it actually doesn’t serve us, where it slows us down in ways that are ineffective. But if you were able to sit in that meeting and notice, instead of, “I am being undermined, I’m noticing the thought that I’m being undermined. I’m noticing the feeling of shutting down.” All you’re doing linguistically is you are creating some space between the stimulus and response. You’re creating a linguistic space. This is a very important emotional skill set, which we can expand a little bit later, but it’s the skill set that basically is about — instead of you becoming the thought, you’re becoming the emotion — instead, you see the emotion for what it is. It’s an emotion. It’s a thought. The metaphoric idea here is that when we’re stuck in that meeting and when we’re stuck in the emotion, we become the cloud. When instead we’re noticing the thought for what it is, we are the sky and we are saying, “I’m noticing that thought there. I’m noticing the emotion.”

Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:59] This is the stepping out rule that you’re talking about.

Susan David: [00:50:02] It’s stepping out. What is it that likely differentiates us as human beings? We’ve all had this. It’s this ability to experience an emotion and to step out of it at the same time. So you might be super angry because you finally got hold of a customer service agent. Your telephone bill is wrong. Yet again, you’ve tried 363 times and you finally get hold of a human being and you are going to give this person a piece of your mind, so you’re feeling really angry. And then at the same time, there’s that little voice that goes off inside your head that says, “Jordan, if you really tell a person how you feel. They’re going to conveniently lose your file.” So we’ve all got this experience. We’ve all had this experience of you really angry with someone. You’ve had a fight with them. You don’t love me, but there’s that little voice that goes up inside your head that says, “Of course they love you.” Okay, what is this?

Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:00] How can you not love me? 

Susan David: [00:51:01] This is our human skill. It’s our human superpower. It’s this ability to experience an emotion and to also rise above that emotion. Why is it so important? It’s the cornerstone to empathy. If you think about what is empathy? Empathy is about being able to experience our emotion, but also to move into the emotional space of another human being. It allows us to get perspective on our emotions and their different strategies we can use to develop the skill. Being able to notice a thought, emotion, or story for what it is. It’s a thought emotion story.

[00:51:33] Here’s an example. Using our emotions or thinking about ourselves in the third person — So another example of being able to step out, LeBron James spoke about using exactly the strategy you faced with a difficult decision. Do you stay with one team or move to another? And what he describes himself doing is thinking about himself in the third person. We all do this. What would you do if you were in the situation or if I’m going through a difficulty, I might talk to myself and I might say, “Susie, don’t worry about it. It’ll be okay.” We talked ourselves in the third person. This is normal. Most people do it. We don’t talk about doing it, but what you’re doing is you creating some kind of distance between you and the emotion. 

[00:52:16] Another really useful strategy to step out of your emotions is labeling your emotion effectively. So often we use these very broad brush strokes to describe what it is we’re feeling. “I’m stressed” is the most common one I hear. Everyone’s stressed. But there is a world of difference between stress and disappointment or stress and that knowing feeling of “I’m in the wrong job or I’m in the wrong career.” So when you just say, “I’m stressed,” our brains, our bodies don’t know what to do with, “I’m stressed”. If you label your emotion more accurately, “I’m stressed,” becomes, “I’m disappointed”. What we know is this accurate labeling, what is called emotion granularity. Emotion granularity actually allows us to start saying, “Oh, I’m feeling disappointed. Why am I disappointed? What support do I need? What do I need to do about this?” So accurately labeling our emotions allows our brains to activate what’s called the readiness potential. And it’s this potential that literally starts to prepare us to take concrete steps to change the situation. So this is really critical — emotion granularity. This very subtle skill, which is “This is what I’m saying. I’m feeling, I’m angry. This is what I’m really feeling. I’m sad. I’m disappointed.” Emotion granularity is associated with high levels of resilience, lower levels of depression or levels of anxiety, lower levels of burnout. And we see this not only in adults, we see this in children, children as young as two who start developing these skills around emotion granularity. What is it that you really feeling are better able over time to recognize their emotion and to then create space between how they really feel and how they want to react.

[00:54:14] And I’ll give you an example of what this looks like. Imagine you are 16 years old and someone says to you, “Oh, I’ve got a great idea. Let’s let the air out of the principal’s tires.” So you’re 16 years old who just feels excited is much more likely to just react and do that thing. The 16-year-old who has greater levels of emotion granularity and who’s able at some level to say, “I’m tempted to do this, but it comes from the place of wanting to belong. or not be rejected. Are there other ways that I can belong?” And obviously, this happens over time and it’s not all happening in that moment, but the child who has the skill to say, “What is it that’s really going on for me here?” Is the child who is then much more likely to be able to self-manage, self-regulate, keep themselves on course, delay gratification, have higher wellbeing, and we find in longitudinal studies that this is exactly the case. People who have a better capacity to label their emotions effectively do better. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:24] That’s extremely useful. I’m one of those guys who basically every emotion feels like anger unless I think about it for a while. I don’t know if that’s normal or not, but I think my dad is definitely like that too. You said great. Get angry or show up as a is angry. Are you disappointed? Anger. Are you scared? Anger. It’s all like one thing. 

Susan David: [00:55:43] Everything is one. Yeah. And so this brings us to something that’s really interesting, which is display rules. Display rules are the rules that are often unspoken in our households about what emotion it’s okay to demonstrate and what emotion it’s not okay to demonstrate. And so for instance, a display rule that might be around happiness. You know, you come home from school and you said, “Mommy, no one would play with me today.” You’re really unhappy. And your parents say, “Don’t worry. I’ll play with you. I’ll find the mean girls’ parents, and we’ll sort it out.” It comes from a really good place, but the display rule is happiness is good, and all of these other uncomfortable emotions need to be pushed aside.

[00:56:25] What is the cost of that? The cost is that the child doesn’t learn how to be comfortable with discomfort. The cost is that the child doesn’t get practice around, “Gee, this is what sadness feels like. Why do I feel sad? What is it that’s important to me about the situation?” You’ve got a situation where the sadness is constantly being covered up by a, “Well, let’s be happy,” and so this child is losing critical skills to practice, to show actual emotions, to step out of emotions, to say, “Who do I want to be in the situation?” And to develop emotional agility. And there’s a real cost. There’s a cost to resilience, there’s a cost to wellbeing, and there’s a cost to our sense of being able to feel like we can shape our environments because we’ve always got someone saving us from the emotion. And so we have these disparate roles. They display rules in families. There are the display rules in our culture. Be happy as a display rule. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:22] It’s a little scary because I can see where that can go crazy wrong. One really interesting concept from Emotional Agility as well as the idea that happy people are often less emotionally aware. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re more satisfied with their life though. That happy people just seem to be less emotionally aware, more negative thinkers are more deliberate in their assessment of others. That seems almost like maybe why we evolve negative thinking patterns in the first place.

Susan David: [00:57:48] Yeah. There’s this really just fascinating idea that this narrative that we have around happiness — again, I’m not anti-happiness — but this narrative of happiness is all that matters and that the so-called good emotions are all that matter. What this does is it leads us into a completely uni-dimensional view of our capacity as human beings. These emotions. All of these emotions evolved to help us to adapt. And so we know that when people experience some emotions like happiness and joy, they tend to have particular kinds of thinking. They’re more creative and so on. But when they have more neutral to negative experiences or neutral to negative emotions, and I use the word negative and inverted commerce [00:58:39] because it’s really, our experience of emotions as uncomfortable —

Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:44] Inverted commerce on air quotes.

Susan David: [00:58:45] Inverted commerce in South African, Australia, New Zealand version of inverted commerce. 

Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:50] Yeah, what the hell is that?

Susan David: [00:58:53] What this is doing is it’s bringing about a different kind of thinking style, which is more analytical. “What should I be doing here?” So think about giving a pitch and you want people to just believe in the idea or you are in a pitch meeting and you really try to be influenced. We know that when people in that meeting are all happy, they’re much more likely to say, “Oh, this idea sounds great. Let’s just do it.” If on the other hand, people are experiencing more neutral emotions or more negative emotions, they’re much more likely to say, “So how does this all add up? What are the contingencies we should put in place? What might not work yet?” And you can see how both of those ways of being and thinking are critical to our ability to do business and to do everything else we want in our lives.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:59:49] What about embarrassment and guilt are those functions? Because I’ve spent a lot of time honing those skills as well. Feeling embarrassed and guilty is something I can pretty good at by now. 

Susan David: [00:59:57] Yes. Yes. I’ve never met a guilty parent who isn’t at some level concerned about “How do I do better here?” When you look at guilt and when you look at people who’ve committed crimes and does the person feel guilty about their crimes as you would expect. Guilt is probably the strongest predictor of the person not committing a crime. Again, you know, guilt and embarrassment are what we call social emotions. These emotions that help us be fluid as a society and help society to build and strengthen and work effectively. So guilt is a really important emotion. If we live in a world that had no guilt and only extreme narcissism, it would be a really terrifying place to live.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:48] That’s true. And I know in the book as well, you mentioned the difference between things like guilt and shame are elements of self-compassion and prisoners re-offend when they feel shame, but not as much when they feel guilt. The difference is pretty —

Susan David: [01:01:01] This is critical. Guilt is when you feel bad about something you did. It’s really focused on a specific behavior. “I lied or I didn’t show up for that person effectively.” It’s focused on a specific behavior. That’s what guilt is. It’s a sense of remorse for something that is very specific to a task or behavior. Shame is a bit of a different beast. Shame is where you conflate what you did with you as a person. So “I am bad.” “I am unlovable.” “I am a terrible person.” “I’m a bad husband or father.” Shame is where you take this thing that is a behavior and it becomes you, and you see this with children as well. When you giving feedback to a child, “You did this thing wrong versus you’re a bad child, okay?” And guilt predicts lower levels of re-offending. Shame predicts re-offending. When people feel shame, you can see there’s no space between them and their behavior. They have become their behavior. And so then much more likely to re-offend because they don’t feel a sense of agency often around the choices that they make. And that my behavior and me are two separate things and I’m responsible for my behavior, but I’m not defined by my behavior.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:25] Right, shame is you and the behavior are one thing. 

Susan David: [01:02:28] Yes. 

Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:29] That is sort of depressing and makes you feel a little powerless, I suppose if you’re in that situation.

Susan David: [01:02:35] And this is again where the power comes from. If there is something, you feel shame at. It is starting to create space for that and notice that it’s the behavior. What is the behavior? What is the thing that you’ve done? This is not a definition of you as a human being. One of the ways we start creating the door to that, the entryway to empowering that the difference is through self-compassion. Self-compassion is fundamentally this idea — and we don’t often talk about it. We live in a world where people would have us believe that we are in a never-ending iron woman or iron man competition where we’ve got to be healthy and the best lovers and the most successful and drive wonderful cars and be the best parents. And now we’ve got to be mindful 100 percent of the time. It feels like there’s a never-ending list of who we’ve got to be. And sometimes I think we forget the most important thing, which is that we are doing the best we can, all of us with who we are, with what we’ve got, and with the resources that we have been given in life.

[01:03:45] The stock truth is that we have been outpaced by technology. Our brands are still the brands that were horse and carriage brands. And so we’re living in a world that is unprecedented in terms of technological, political, and economic change. And we, all of us, everyone who’s listening, all of us, we’re all doing the best we can with who we are and with the resources that we have been given. Often this idea that self-compassion is about being weak. It’s about being lazy or it’s about lying to yourself. That’s not true. People who are more self-compassionate, what they do is they are actually creating a space for themselves in which they are able to try to put your hand up for a job and not get it, to try to establish a business and it doesn’t work out. You try and you fail and you still know that you will love yourself. That is what self-compassion does. So self-compassion, what does it do? It actually eggs you on to be more motivated, to be less lazy and to be more honest with yourself because you actually know that you will still love yourself even if things don’t work out. So self-compassion is a really powerful way of being successful in inverted commerce and effective in the world.

Jason DeFillippo: [01:04:00] You’re listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Susan David. We’ll be right back after this.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:10] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help. I’m a huge fan of Better Help. If something’s interfering with your happiness, preventing you from achieving your goals or just keeping you from staying sane, Better Help online counseling is there for you. Better help offers licensed professional counselors, not freaking life coaches. Sorry, life coach, sorry not sorry though. These are real professional counselors. They’re specialized in issues like depression, stress, anxiety, relationships, sleeping, trauma, anger, family conflicts, grief, self-esteem, and more. It’s a long list. Humans are complicated and I recommend counseling and therapy to stay sane. I think it’s a mandatory endeavor for all people who want to stay sane and maybe like to be a functional human being for most of their lives. Highly recommended. You can connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Obviously, it’s confidential, but mostly it’s convenient. You don’t have to park, you don’t have to schedule a complicated appointment that if you’re late and traffic gets bumped, you can get help at your own time and at your own pace. Schedule a secure video or phone sessions plus chat, text with your therapist. And if you don’t, click with your therapist, just request a new one at any time, no additional charge. It’s really a nice affordable way to dip your toes in the water and you get 10 percent off your first month with discount code JORDAN. Jason. 

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[01:08:15] This episode is also sponsored in part by Organifi. Organifi complete protein is a hundred percent plant-based. It’s designed to fight cravings and keep you full between meals. You can make it in a smoothie or drink it alone. You know, I’ll be candid, I use it to maybe not fight cravings, but stay full between meals. Otherwise, I tend to reach for whatever’s closest to me. 20 grams of plant protein from pea, quinoa, pumpkin seed. It contains five different digestive enzymes in every serving. It helps curb cravings. It contains half the recommended daily value of selenium, vitamin C, D, E, A and thiamine. Available in the satiating flavors of smooth, vanilla or rich chocolate, which probably let’s be real as the way I’m going to go. Again, plant-based 20 grams of protein can help craving control, maintain muscle, a complete multivitamin, which is also convenient. 

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[01:09:19] Thank you for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us on the air and to learn more and get links to all the great discounts that you just heard, so you can check out those amazing sponsors, visit And don’t forget that worksheet for today’s episode. The link is in the show notes at If you’re listening to us on the Overcast player, please click that little star next to the episode. We really appreciate it. And now for the conclusion of our episode with Susan David.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:48] It seems like it’s getting harder now because on that same note, comparing ourselves to other people makes us unhappy. And one note from your work that I thought was fascinating was — Well, first of all, I have such a problem with this. You know, the more successful I get in my work, I think the more difficult it is to compare myself to other people who I’m around favorably. Because before when I was just interviewing whoever I could get my hands on Skype. That’s one thing, but now everybody’s in front of me has a PhD who’s got three bestselling books or something like that and a successful family.

Susan David: [01:10:17] And so now you’re making me compare myself to all of them.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:20] And now you’re comparing yourself, but like it’s really tough and this is on turbo because of social media but what you’d noticed was that it’s not even negative comparisons that make us unhappy or less happy. It’s not me comparing myself to every Olympic athlete, and then every PhD that’s in here, even a positive comparison does this. So even if I say, “Well, I’m ahead of that guy and I’m better looking and I make more money and my kid is smarter.” It’s like, that still makes me unhappy. That’s scary.

Susan David: [01:10:51] A lot of times when we think about comparison, we think that it’s only about comparing yourself to people who are way better than you, that brings about the ill effect. But in practice, one of the most toxic experiences that we can have as human beings is social comparison, just by definition. It doesn’t matter if you come out as the winner or you come out as the loser. The fact that you are comparing yourself constantly to other people has a psychological cost. What it’s doing is it’s taking you away from your values. It’s taking you away from what is your path and your path might be a different path to someone else’s. And when you’re keeping on trying to adjust your path in accordance with everyone else, whether those people are less or more successful to you, it’s taking away from your path. Keep your eyes on your own work. 

Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:43] Yeah. Run your own race. 

Susan David: [01:11:45] Run your own race. Yes. Compare yourself to your own values. Compare yourself to your own standards, your own expectations. No, of course. Yes. We can be motivated by looking at someone who’s got a show, a podcast with slightly higher ratings and say, “Well, that’s where I want to get to.” There’s nothing wrong with that but when it becomes something that is habitual and it’s not just, “This is the thing that I want to do and I’m bringing it towards my goals, and I’ve now got a pathway towards this thing and it feels congruent with me,” but it’s more this, “I feel almost rudderless and I’m comparing myself constantly.” This becomes a really difficult thing because again, we are now no longer comparing ourselves with some guy, Freddy, you know, who was in my grade five class at school who are thought was maybe a little bit of a fraud and is now driving around in a Ferrari. There was no Freddie, but I’m using this as an example. We now no longer just comparing ourselves to Freddy. We are now comparing ourselves to a million, 23-year-old Internet sensations who are driving around in Ferraris. So social media absolutely galvanizes this capacity to self-compare, and I’m not one of these people who say, “Oh, social media is bad. Never use it.” But how we use social media if social media is a mechanism of constant self-comparison. That’s when it becomes toxic. 

Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:13] Yeah. I mean, I’ve definitely felt that. I started Instagram in 2017. I avoided it for, I don’t know, previous five years before that, and there’s a very clear break where I started feeling all kinds of inadequate and it really just happens to coincide with when it started using Instagram. And it’s specifically that because if you’re just reading someone else’s Facebook updates and you’re not looking at all their photo albums, it’s not a big deal, but everything, this is now a feed of all the stuff I’m not doing or can’t ever do, or I am not. 

Susan David: [01:13:44] What could I be doing? There is limitless potential for all of us of what we could be doing. 

Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:52] And look, I’m sitting here with you — and no offense — but look at all the other things everyone else is doing.

Susan David: [01:13:55] Look at the other things that I could do.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:58] That’s right. So you’re wasting your time with me.

Susan David: [01:13:58] At some point, you know, what we are doing is, this is why in Emotional Agility, I talk about the profound power of values and values, they often have this very abstract, warm, fluffy, nebulous tone to them. We put them on walls in businesses and they feel very abstract. But when we look at the psychology of values, knowing who you are and what you stand for. And then how your goals connect with who you are and what you stand for is the most probably profoundly powerful and important way we can be in the world.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:35] Let’s talk about that a little bit because there is a danger of not knowing our values. If we don’t really know what we want out of life or what we value I should say. What we want is almost irrelevant. If we don’t know what we value, what we really value, not just what we think we value, we can’t really make choices that are going to make us happier in the long run because if we just think, “I need to make a lot of money.” “Why?” “Well, I need to have my family to be stable.” “Why?” “Well, I want to have a happy family that’s really close and we can’t do that. If we’re unstable.” Well, wait a minute, then your value is your family not go out and make a lot of money. But if you’re spending all your time away because you need to make money, because you need a stable family, because you want a happy family.

Susan David: [01:15:15] Yes.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:16] Now, you’ve got this value you think you have that’s way over here, but your real value is way over there. And then in 10 years, you go, “Why am I a miserable son of a bitch?”

Susan David: [01:15:24] Exactly. And the added layer to that is you then start having this idea of “I just want to make a lot of money. I want to make a lot of money,” and your identity becomes fused with the person who makes a lot of money. And so what then happens when the tide turns and you don’t get the money you want or you lose your job.  Devastation.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:44] Devastation.

Susan David: [01:15:45] This is literally your life falls apart. 

Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:47] I do wonder though, don’t our actions illustrate our values in some way? Well, actually, I mean, your book says that it really doesn’t, but it seems like our actions should illustrate our values. Someone might argue that our values are actually what we do and not what we say. 

Susan David: [01:16:02] Our values are what we do and not what we say, but this again is this idea that often we can autopilot through our lives and taking a little bit of time to think through what is the heartbeat of my own why. What do I stand for? Who is worthwhile? What is worthwhile? Who do I want to be in the world? These are really, really important questions. 

Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:25] Becoming a parent has changed this a lot because now I’m like, “Oh, all this stuff I thought was important totally takes a back seat to making sure that Jayden is doing well in life.” He’s three months old. There’s not a whole lot of choices I can make right now that are changing. But all this other stuff where I’m like, “Oh, I need to be invited to this and go to these fancy events.” I’m like, “I don’t even want to go to those now.”  Because it’s too much time away from my family.

Susan David: [01:16:47] It’s so critical to do this. What happens when we don’t spend a little bit of time, and I’m not talking about going on a three-day retreat by yourself in Byron Bay to sit and pass out what your values are. This really interesting research. For instance, looking at — Imagine you are someone who’s grown up in an environment where every single little bit of feedback you’ve had from that environment is, “We don’t go to college. We aren’t college material, we don’t do college.” Now you fight and you work and you go to college, you get yourself into college. Then what happens is you fail your first test and at some point, we are going to fail. We can have a setback and so you failed your first test. At that point, what happens is. These ideas of other people’s biases about us actually become turned on us off. We start to self-bias. “Oh, maybe they were right.”

Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:36] Yeah, they were right.

Susan David: [01:17:37] “Maybe I’m not college material. Maybe this isn’t–” So we know this happens. Now you take these kids who are at risk — because at that point when that happens, the bias becomes turned against themselves — around 70 percent of kids will drop out of college at that time because they go, “Oh, maybe everyone was right.” You take these kids and you asked them to spend 10 minutes, 10 minutes writing down their why. Why are they in college? Why is this important? Why did they choose this particular degree? 10 minutes and what we find is this very simple value. Affirmation exercise actually protects these kids for three years down the track, out of dropping out. You take this and you apply to your own life — 10 minutes. Who do I want to be as a parent? Why do I want to live in a particular way that’s healthy? Not just because people tell me that I’ve got to be healthy, but because it’s connected with my values.

[01:18:30] So when we spend a little bit of time just bringing our values more front and center, it actually protects us from what is called social contagion. Social contagion is the idea that we look on social media and we see other people doing things, and now we want to start doing it. We got our dinner and we’re trying to be healthy. Everyone orders dessert. We are more likely to order dessert. We know that if you try to be healthy and you go on an airplane and your seat partner who you did not even know buys candy, you are significantly more likely to buy candy because we all suddenly pick up on the behaviors and emotions of others. So you say, what protects me? What protects me from this? What protects me is connecting with the heartbeat of my own why that then allows me — to your point earlier — act in a way that is a reflection of my values rather than an autopilot way of being in the world. It’s like, “I should be driving that car. I should be living in that house.” There’s a never-ending list of what we could or should be doing, and there’s something so liberating, so profoundly liberating. What you said earlier of — actually this is what matters to me now that I’ve had a child and actually this thing that I used to hanker for — to be invited to this event because some are validating — It doesn’t matter that much to me, like knowing that a naming that becomes so liberating because next time when you get invited to that thing, you now no longer responding on the flyer. “I should be going, but maybe I shouldn’t be going there.” You’re like, “No.” In a connected way, I can say no, but I’m saying no from a point of clarity rather than a point of regret or a point of confusion.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:20:19] So moving towards our values makes our life much more fulfilling. And once we define those values for ourselves, then we can really hit the gas because we’re actually bringing our full self to the table. We’re headed in the right direction. You know, if I know that my main goal is to make sure that my family is stable and happy, I can go about that in many different ways that aren’t just making a bunch of money. And then I feel good about pursuing those values because I have an intuitive feeling that I’m going in the right direction for what I value. Because right now, look, I can go and make a bunch more money, especially if I ignore my wife and ignore my family. But there’s going to be something nagging at me that’s going to make me feel guilty about that. And then I can go to bury that and then I’m going to feel angry that that feeling keeps popping up. 

Susan David: [01:20:59] And then you’ll take it out on your wife. 

Jordan Harbinger: [01:21:00] I’ll take it out of my wife and kid, and then it’ll be like, “What happened to my life?” Well, this is a safe choice 

Susan David: [01:21:05] It’s this spending a little bit of time thinking, you know, what are the values that I want to bring to the workplace? Who do I want to be? Because again, even in the workplace, what happens is we become so hooked, we become hooked on cynicism, or my boss is an idiot, or this person’s a fraud, or I’m not going to share this information or whatever, or something’s up and they’re about to fire me. We get hooked on 40 motion stories that don’t serve us. And when we separate from that and we start saying, “Who do I want to be? What is important to me here?” And it might be collaboration is important or learning is important. What this allows you to do is, “Oh, there’s complete chaos in the organization. There are huge amounts of change. How can I learn? What are the greatest learning opportunities in the context of this change that’s going on?” And this is just an incredible way of being because it’s allowing you to bring your heart, your why into the situation, rather than being hooked.

[01:22:03] But can we talk a little bit about values conflict?

Jordan Harbinger: [01:22:06] Yeah, let’s do that.

Susan David: [1:22:07] Because I think actually one of the things that you raise here is something that’s so many people experience, which is they say, “But what if I’ve got a values conflict?”

Jordan Harbinger: [01:22:17] What does that mean?

Susan David: [01:22:18] Well, what if I value my career, but I also value my family?

Jordan Harbinger: [01:22:22] You’re screwed.

Susan David: [01:22:23] Okay. And the way that I think of this is. I don’t think this is a values conflict. The way that I think of values is I think that our values have evolved and they just are, they’re not wrong or right. They just are. And so it’s less that our values are in conflict. Again, we are big enough and human enough and complex enough and able to have complexity as human beings to have two values. You know, these values are —

Jordan Harbinger: [01:22:55] Yeah, good point. We can value both of these things.

Susan David: [01:22:58] We can value both of these things. So what’s much more in conflict is not our values, but our goals. My goal is to be at this event that I’ve been invited to, and my goal is also to be supportive to my spouse and my family. And I can’t simultaneously be at the conference and be in the goal of say, being at my child’s school recital. Because as a human being, I can’t be in these two places at once. It’s not my values that are in conflict. It’s my goal. Again, part of the punishing way we live in the world is a failure to recognize the obvious, which is that we are mortal and we can’t be in two places at once and we beat ourselves up.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:23:44] Right. Well, this is useful. Because otherwise you just think, “Oh, I must have been lying to myself about which one of these is important. Maybe I’m not really valuing my family. I’m a terrible person.”

Susan David: [01:23:54] Yes. And so if we can instead say, “I’ve got these two values, they’re both important to me. And that these goals are in conflict?” No, you’re not beating yourself up? Now, what you’re doing is you’re saying, “Is there a way that I can be at the conference and still connect and show support to my family? Can I FaceTime them? Can I connect? Is there a way that I can be at the conference and have my family at the conference?” You know what you’re now doing is instead of shrinking your choice set, you’re actually expanding your choice set. “Can I be at the conference and connect in different ways?” There’s so many, it’s so powerful. This idea that we can only have one value and the value can’t be in conflict with anything else. It just isn’t. It isn’t. It’s not human. It’s not kind. It’s cruel to us and it’s not reflective of our inherently beautiful, messy, and wonderful capacity as human beings.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:57] As we wrap here, I’d love to discuss a little bit about grit. When do we give up on and adjust our goals? Because all these knucklehead influencers speaking on social media, they‘re like never give up and you even hear interviews with people who are. Entrepreneurs and sold their company for $50 million. And it’s like, “Do you have any advice?” And they go, “Never give up.” And I’m thinking, “That’s terrible advice. You didn’t follow that advice. You dropped out of college. What do you mean never give up? Come on.”

Susan David: [01:25:23] Yes. So I talk about this in this book, this idea of when to grit and when to quit.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:25:31] Very clever. 

Susan David: [01:25:32] The most profoundly maladaptive where we can be as human beings is to set a goal and never adjust that goal and never give up. Like if we think of what adaptation is at its core, what agility is at its core, it’s not about setting some goal and like 33 years later, you still elbow at the grindstone, getting on with it. If we think about how many people have gone into careers or into university courses because they were told by people. “This is the course and you never give up.”

Jordan Harbinger: [01:26:05] Yeah, I mean, I literally became a lawyer and then got there and was like, “This sucks. But I knew that all along.?” Pat myself university.

Susan David: [01:26:11] Yeah, I dropped out of university. I mean, I —

Jordan Harbinger: [01:26:14] And now, you’re a PhD.

Susan David: [01:26:15] I’ve dropped out of university. I went backpacking around the world for two years. The idea that “We should never give up” is just maladaptive.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:26:24] It’s ludicrous.

Susan David: [01:26:24] It’s maladaptive. So how do we pass this out? Firstly, if we are connected with our emotions, again, if we show up to our emotions and if we connected with the emotion’s not driving us. So they are data, not directions. And if we’ve got some kind of sense of who we try to be in the world, we will be able to recognize that there might be a situation where we are in a job and we’re showing up to our frustration or boredom and it’s disconnected with our values and actually maybe we do need to quit, or we could be showing up to our emotions and connect with our values and being in the job and saying, actually, “I’ve got a lack of learning here,” to use the example that I used earlier. “What are ways that I can tweak the situation in a way that brings me close to my values. Are there projects that I can say yes to? Are there ways that I can shape who I’m connecting with, what departments I’m interfacing with? Are there skills that I can be expanding here? And maybe I don’t want to be quitting.” What’s the litmus? What I talk about in Emotional Agility is this idea that really the way we best know whether we should grit or quit is by asking ourselves, “What are my emotions telling me? What are the signposts that I hear? If I’m not being dictated to by my emotions, if I’m rather using them as a data source, you know, what does the situation look like? What am I values telling me? Is this a situation in which there is a genuine chance of success,” because we can grit and grit and grit and grit, and then when we’re 73 years old, still gritting, and there’s been no chance of success. Or we can grit because there actually is a chance of success. So we need to be asking ourselves, is there a genuine chance of success in the situation.

[01:28:14] And I think these are questions that we need to be asking. What am I emotions telling me is important to me here? Is what I’m doing in the situation reflecting who I want to be in the world and my values? And it may be that you valued something 10 years ago, but that your values have changed now. Is there a genuine chance that this thing will be successful? Are there ways that you can make tiny tweaks, tiny shifts in the situation that will help you to keep the course, but that will not be completely depleting of you? Are there ways that you should be looking after yourself? Should you get coaching? Should you be generating greater levels of social support In other words, are there things that you might have overlooked in your environment that would help you to stay the course in something that actually does feel connected? These are really important questions. And again, these are questions of emotional agility and being adaptive and effective and healthy as opposed to some Instagram narrative of never quit.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:29:17] And of course we have to check our ego and make sure we’re not sticking with something just because we feel like we can’t quit and adjust for some cost fallacy as well but that’s probably a whole different show. Thank you very much for your time.

Susan David: [01:29:27] Thank you. It’s been amazing. I’ve so enjoyed it.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:29:31] Big thank you to Susan David. The book title is Emotional Agility. She actually has a quiz on her website. We’re going to link to that in the show notes. It shows you how emotionally agile you are and gives you some strategies in a report to help you become more emotionally agile as defined here today.

[01:29:48] There’s a video of this interview on our YouTube channel at and also in the show notes, there’s going to be worksheets for this episode as there is for every episode. So you can review what you’ve learned here today from Dr. Susan David. We also have transcripts for every episode, and those can be found in the show notes as well.

[01:30:07] I’m teaching you how to connect with great people — just like Susan — and manage relationships using systems and tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at Don’t do it later. Do it now. You’ve got to dig the well before you get thirsty. You cannot make up for lost time when it comes to relationships and networking. These drills, they take just a few minutes a day. I wish I knew this stuff decades ago. It is not fluff. It has been crucial in the success of this show, in my business, everywhere for that matter. You can find it all for free at By the way, most of the guests on the show, they actually subscribe to the course and the newsletter, so come join us, you’ll be in smart company. In fact, why not reach out to Susan David and tell her you enjoyed this episode of the show? Show guests love hearing from you. You never know what might shake out of that. Speaking of building relationships, you can always reach out and/or follow me on social. I’m at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram.

[01:31:02] This show is created in association with PodcastOne and this episode was produced by Jen Harbinger and Jason DeFillippo, engineered by Jase Sanderson, show notes and worksheets by Robert Fogarty, music by Evan Viola, and I’m your host Jordan Harbinger. Our advice and opinions, and those of our guests are their own. And yes, I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. I’m sure as heck, not a doctor or a therapist. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. And remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. In fact, if you know somebody who’s interested in introspection, looking at their own thinking, their own emotions — that type of person would be interested in this — psychology, especially as a field that I think Susan David really, really crushes. So hopefully you can share this one. There is something in every episode. So please share the show with those you love and even those you don’t. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we’ll see you next time.

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