Brilliant mathematics without the need for a calculator!
Thanks to the bottomless resources of the Internet, I could quickly find a relevant quote or two to open up today’s Post. Rene Descartes (1596-1650) was reputed to have said, “Perfect numbers like perfect men are very rare.”
Sorry, couldn’t resist that! It wasn’t the quote relevant to this essay but it was too good to miss. (Descartes was also the person who coined the phrase: I think therefore I am!)
The quote that I thought was relevant was this one from Descartes, “With me everything turns into mathematics.” Well until I read something recently on the Big Think website I would have been certain that the emotions, such as happiness, were well beyond reach of the logical power of mathematics. I was wrong!
….. argues (against Einstein, as it happens), that everything that counts can and ought to be counted. A hotelier by trade, he says that GDP and the bottom line are blunt instruments for measuring the health of a society or a business. After the dot.com crash of 2001, and a visit to the Buddhist nation of Bhutan, which has a “Gross National Happiness” index, Conley and his team decided to create indices for measuring the well-being of their employees and customers.
And a paragraph later continues,
In Emotional Equations, Conley takes the mathematics of human happiness a step further, creating simple formulas like anxiety = uncertainty x powerlessness, which, when used systematically, he says, can give individuals and organizations a concrete method for addressing the human needs that drive them.
The description of the book on the Amazon website is thus,
Using brilliantly simple math that illuminates universal emotional truths, Emotional Equations crystallizes some of life’s toughest challenges into manageable facets that readers can see clearly—and bits they can control. Popular motivational speaker and bestselling author Chip Conley has created an exciting, new, immediately accessible visual lexicon for mastering the age of uncertainty. Making mathematics out of emotions may seem a counterintuitive idea, but it’s an inspiring and incredibly effective one in Chip Conley’s hands. When Conley, dynamic author of the bestselling Peak, suffered a series of tragedies, he began using what he came to call “Emotional Equations” (like Joy = Love – Fear) to help him focus on the variables in life that he could deal with, rather than ruminating on the unchangeable constants he couldn’t, like the bad economy, death, and taxes. Now this award-winning entrepreneur shares his amazing new self-help paradigm with the rest of us. Emotional Equations offers an immediately understandable means of identifying the elements in our lives that we can change, those we can’t, and how they interact to create the emotions that define us and can help or hurt our progress through life. Equations like “Despair = Suffering – Meaning” and “Happiness = Wanting What You Have/Having What You Want” (Which Chip presented at the prestigious TED conference) have been reviewed for mathematical and psychological accuracy by experts. Conley shows how to solve them through life examples and stories of inspiring people and role models who have worked them through in their own lives. In these turbulent times, when so many are trying to become “superhuman” to deal with our own and the world’s problems, Emotional Equations arms readers with effective formulas for becoming super human beings.
So it all seems not quite so daft as one might initially guess. Indeed, settle down for twenty minutes and watch Chip eloquently explain his ideas captured at that TED Conference referred to above.
There’s also an audio conversation with Mr. Conley that you can download free from here.
Finally, let me close with yet another quote from Rene Descartes, “It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.” Amen to that!