New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!

New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!


Susan David

The Art of Emotional Agility

“Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.”

All of us want to be happy. Many of us pursue happiness in different ways, and sometimes that includes trying to block out “less than happy” emotions.

You might have noticed that becoming obsessed with this pursuit can actually make you less happy in the long run.

That’s because all emotions are meant to be experienced. They are meant to pass through you, and when you suppress them or try to pretend they aren’t there they will just come back to you with a vengeance.

So how do we be truly happy?

That’s exactly what Susan David has spent her career studying.

“People have the greatest levels of success when they live and work at the edge of their abilities.”  

Susan David is a psychologist, originally from South Africa, that has been learning about emotions and people’s pursuit of happiness since she lost her father in high school.

She has recently written a best selling book, Emotional Agility, about the importance of every emotion we go through.

Susan also recently gave a TED Talk that was one of the most successful campaigns to date. It received over a million views within the first week.

I like to think that things come into our lives at the perfect time and for the right reasons. Lately I’ve been going through some emotional challenges, which I open up about on this episode, and I took so much away from Susan’s advice.

I feel privileged to have Susan on this episode and I know you will learn a lot, on Episode 604.

“Social support is one of the most profound protectors of our well-being.”  

Some Questions I Ask:

  • How did you handle the passing of your dad at a young age? (2:13)
  • What does disability mean? (5:06)
  • How should we approach situations in life we’re unhappy about? (7:12)
  • What are your range of emotions like on a daily basis? (11:24)
  • How do we evaluate our emotions? (19:05)
  • Would you say that to make a greater impact in the world that you need to take on more stress? (24:05)
  • How should we approach people going through a difficult time but won’t admit it? (29:33)
  • What advice do you have for me if I lose my father? (38:40)

In this episode, you will learn:

  • What it was like losing her father in high school (00:58)
  • The importance of journaling (56:15)
  • Are we trying to become resilient with our emotions? (4:41)
  • How do we learn from our emotions? (8:28)
  • As a trained psychologist, how do you just allow your emotion to be? (14:20)
  • Are all emotions valuable? (23:09)
  • What does a healthy relationship with our emotions look like? (27:04)
  • What should people do when they lose their job? (37:00)
  • What advice do you have for men who hold in their emotions? (50:03)

Show Notes:

Connect with
Susan David

Transcript of this Episode

Interview With Susan David
TSOG – Ep604 – The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes

Lewis Howes: This is episode number 604 with Susan David

Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.

Hi, guys, welcome back to The School of Greatness Podcast! Very excited about our guest, Susan David, in the house. Thank you so much for being here.

Susan David: Hallo! And thank you.

Lewis Howes: You have been blowing up online with your TED Talk. It’s one of the most successful campaigns that TED has done, that, at least, they told you. You had over a million views in the first week, so congratulations.

Susan David: Thank you, thank you.

Lewis Howes: It sounds like the message is perfect time right now, for what the world needs. And you’ve got a book out, that talks about this, called, Emotional Agility – Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life. So make sure you guys check this book out.

But that’s what I think you have been talking about for many years, is emotional agility, and you’ve been studying this and researching it for over a decade now, right?

Susan David: Well, the book and the TED Talk are the culmination of, truly, I feel, I my life’s work. And so, yeah, all of my research and all of my studies, but also, I didn’t come to these ideas through research. I also came to them through life.

Lewis Howes: Yes, your own experiences.

Susan David: My own experiences.

Lewis Howes: Your father passed away when you were a teenager, when you were seventeen. Is that what I saw?

Susan David: Yes, I, well, I’ve got a background as a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and there’s all of that kind of stuff. Really a lot of my interest in emotions and what emotional agility looks like, started when I lost my father, and I still remember the day that my mom came to me and said to me that I needed to go say goodbye to him. I was fifteen and he was forty-two years old. And I put my schoolbag down and I walked to say goodbye to him.

And I remember that day very clearly, and afterwards, the experience of living in a world where everyone said to me, “How are you doing? How are you doing?” and we live in a world that values getting on with it, and relentless positivity, and I would say, “I am okay, I’m okay.” And then I had very, very specific experiences that helped me to recognise that that way of being wasn’t serving me, and wasn’t authentic, and those experiences then drove my work, my research, my PhD, and the book.

Lewis Howes: Yeah. How did you handle the passing of you dad at a young age? Were you okay, or did you just kind of mask it and act like you were okay, to show face?

Susan David: Yeah, well, I remember my father died on a Friday, and I remember going back to school on the Monday because I was trying to just get on with it.

Lewis Howes: Right. So, you went to the funeral on the weekend?

Susan David: Well, the next week we went to the funeral and I took time off, but I essentially went back to school and we live in a world that is so focussed on happiness and well being. And so, people would say to me, “How are you doing?” and I would say, “Okay,” and what I experienced, and, I think, what a lot of people experience in pain, is a sense of isolation.

So, for me, what it looked like is, I’m fifteen and I’ve got these school friends and these school friends don’t know how to talk about it, so suddenly the word, “father”, dropped from all of their conversations, because they were worried that they were going to upset me.

And so, the experience that I had was, saying to people, “I’m okay, I’m okay,” and back home, the reality was that we were struggling.

Lewis Howes: In South Africa, right?

Susan David: I lived in South Africa. My father had owned three… he was a small business owner, and he hadn’t been able to keep his business going during his illness, so my mom was trying to raise three children, single-handedly, and the creditors were knocking, and it was really difficult.

And I had this incredible experience of an eighth grade English teacher, and so many of us, I think, have this one person who sees through the triumph over grief story, which is what I was conveying, and I had this eighth grade English teacher who handed out these notebooks in class, and she said, “Write. Write like nobody’s reading, and tell the truth.”

And that experience was absolutely pivotal to my work, which is, I started to show up to my emotions and the regret and the grief and the pain. And in showing up, and in this writing, I realised that it was that that ultimately helped me to become resilient, and that forged, then, my career. Because I became very interested in, “What does society convey to us about emotions and well being and positivity and happiness?”

And in some ways, what are some of those messages that actually might be undermining our resilience. And I think that a lot of the narrative in society about our emotions, actually undermines our resilience and our success.

Lewis Howes: Are we trying to become resilient with our emotions? What does it mean by resilient?

Susan David: Well, if we look at, for instance, the World Health Organisation, originally predicted that by 2030, depression would be the single leading cause of disability globally. Outstripping cancer, outstripping heart disease. That was the prediction. In fact, in 2017, depression became the leading cause of disability globally.

Lewis Howes: What does disability mean?

Susan David: So, disability is people who struggle to get on with their day, form relationships, go to work.

Lewis Howes: So depression is the number one thing that disables people.

Susan David: Depression is the number one leading cause of disability globally, outstripping cancer, outstripping heart disease, outstripping diabetes. And so, what becomes really interesting is, we live in a time that is complex, and where there is a lot of change going on, and what we’re starting to see is that the uncertainty is the certainty. The only certainty in life is uncertainty. And what the statistics are showing, is that we, as a society, are not dealing with that reality in a sustainable way.

And so, when I talk about resilience, I’m talking about, how do we navigate the reality of the world as it is. Not as we wish it to be, but the world as it is, and that involves being in a way with our emotions that is often at odds with what society tells us. Because society tells us that we shouldn’t be negative, or that sadness is a bad emotion.

So, for instance, in some research that I did, I, in a survey of 70,000 people, found that a third of us judge our emotions, like sadness, or anger or grief, as being bad, we put ourselves down. And we do this to ourselves and we do this to our children.

Lewis Howes: Constantly, right?

Susan David: Constantly jumping to solution.

Lewis Howes: Fixing the problem.

Susan David: Fixing the problem, but not actually feeling the feel, which is not the same as that the feeling is right, or that the feeling needs to direct the action, but there’s something incredibly powerful in our emotions that actually helps us to navigate life. And so, when we push aside signals of, “Gee, I’m unhappy in this job,” and we try rationalise it away and we say, “Well, at least I got a job,” that doesn’t actually allow us to then shape or change or tweak things in a way that creates greater levels of meaning and well being.

Lewis Howes: So, if we’re unhappy in our job or relationship or a certain situation in life, we shouldn’t just say, “Well, I’m grateful to have this relationship, or I’m grateful to have this job.” How should we approach that?

Susan David: So, instead of looking at our emotions as good or bad, positive or negative, you know, I want to be right or wrong, rather our emotions just are. Our emotions have evolved with us as a human species to actually help us to communicate with others, but, more importantly, to help us to communicate with ourselves.

So, we don’t tend to feel strong emotions about things we don’t care about. If you feel rage when you watch the news, it might be a sign that justice and equity and fairness are important to you. Or, if you’re unhappy in your job, it might be a sign that you’re bored and that growth is important to you. So, one of the really important things is that, beneath our difficult emotions, are often signposts, flashing signals to things that we care about.

When we just push aside those difficult emotions, we are not learning from them and therefore we are not able to make the changes that are values aligned changes, in a way that’s effective.

Lewis Howes: How do we learn from our emotions?

Susan David: Well, there are a few things. The first is, one of the things that I talk about in Emotional Agility, is the opposite, which is emotional rigidity. And emotional rigidity is when our thoughts, emotions and our stories drive us, okay?

Lewis Howes: Control us.

Susan David: Control us. But for instance, someone might say, “I’m just know I’m not going to get the job, so I’m just not going to bother applying.” Or, “I’m going to be rejected, so I’m not going to ask the person out on a date.” So, what starts to happen is, we often start to crawl into our thoughts, our emotions and our stories.

Some of our stories were written on mental chalkboards in Grade 3, you know, about whether we’re good enough, what we deserve in life, who we are, whether we’re good at math or good at… So, we start crawling into these stories and the hallmark of emotional rigidity, is when our emotions, our stories and our thoughts drive us, rather than our intentions, our values and who we want to be in the world.

And so, what I talk about in emotional agility, is what are ways that we can start unhooking from that rigidity, and instead start moving in a space with our emotions that is more intentional and connected. This beautiful Viktor Frankl idea, this idea that… Viktor Frankl, of course, survived the Nazi death camps, and this idea that between stimulus and response there is a space, and in that space is our power to choose and it’s in that choice that comes our growth and freedom.

When we’re rigid, when we’re hooked by our thoughts, our emotions and our stories, there’s no space between stimulus and response. “The person irritated me, so I hit them,” or, “My husband started in on the finances, so I left the room.”

Lewis Howes: Right. Or, “They cut me off in traffic, so I cut them off.”

Susan David: “And so I reacted.” And so, we start conflating, we start having no space between our stimulus and response. And what emotional agility, in essence, is about, is how do we develop skills that don’t push our emotions aside, but that allow us to see our emotions in their rightful place, as data, not directives, where, instead, we use our values to make choices.

Lewis Howes: To make a response, right?

Susan David: Yeah. It’s a response, rather than a reaction.

Lewis Howes: To think, be aware of, like, “Okay, I’m going to respond, but here’s the price or the consequence or the reward for this response.

Susan David: Yeah, yeah. And some of our reactions are not even reactions that are necessarily driven by anger. Some of our reactions in the world are simply going through life on autopilot. That’s also a way that we are not agile, because we’re not sensitive to the world around us and to what is coming through the world and being able to make choices in a proactive, effective way.

Lewis Howes: Yeah. What are your range of emotions like on a daily basis?

Susan David: Mine?

Lewis Howes: Yeah.

Susan David: So, the first thing I should say with this, because one of the things that I’ve done is I’ve spoken about this anti-expectations around happiness or this idea that society, I think, overvalues happiness. So, just quickly, I’m not anti-happiness, I’m not anti-happiness, that’s my accent. I’ve written a book that is seventy-nine chapter edited handbook that is called the Oxford Handbook of Happiness. I’ve got a deep interest in human happiness, but when we start connecting… I’m a nerd! When we start connecting with false ideas around happiness, or happiness as a goal, what we know is that people actually become more unhappy over time.

Lewis Howes: Depressed.

Susan David: We become less able to deal with the world as it is. We have this expectation that I’ve got to chase happiness. I’ve got to be happy or I’ve got to be positive. And so we stop being able to be authentic and connected.

What are my emotions on a day to day basis? I’m actually a fairly happy person. I enjoy being happy. I tend to wake up happy, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t have bad days or when I have bad days, I’ve learnt over time because I didn’t always used to do this, I’ve learnt, over time, to not try push those aside, to bottle them, but also not to brood on them. Because often what we find is people…

Lewis Howes: Ruminate for weeks or months.

Susan David: Yes! Often, what we find is ineffective ways of dealing with our emotions, our difficult emotions, is we either bottle them, pushing them aside, you know, “I’m unhappy, but I’ve got to get on with this project,” or what we do is we go over and over our emotions in our mind.

Lewis Howes: We fixate.

Susan David: And try to fixate on them. And we do this with good intentions, you know, we’re trying to understand, we’re trying to solve, but what I’ve learnt over time with my own emotions, is that there’s no wrong or right emotion. You’re just feeling what you’re feeling, just like if you have a right hand. You don’t say, “My right hand is better than my left hand,” you know? Your hands are your hands.

And so, this idea of being able to open your heart to the full range of emotional experience, which is very different from what society tells us. Society tells us that we should fix.

Lewis Howes: Especially for men.

Susan David: Yeah, we should fix, we should control, we should push aside and what’s interesting is when you push aside emotions, it doesn’t mean those emotions don’t still own you. There’s this really fascinating effect in psychology called amplification. And the idea behind it is that when we push aside our difficult thoughts and emotions, they actually come back. They come back bigger, they come back stronger.

People will have had this experience. You’re maybe on a diet, and you have a chocolate cake ban, and so you don’t want to think about chocolate cake, and what do you do? You dream about it. The stuff that we try to push aside, gets amplified. There’s a psychological rebound effect that happens.

Lewis Howes: How do you manage this, as a trained psychologist, for years studying all this, knowing the data and the research and the science behind it all, how do you just allow your emotions to be? Personally? Otherwise you’re just in inception constantly, like, “Well, as a psychologist, here’s how I should approach this.” You could be probably very analytical during some challenging times, but figure out a way to trick yourself or just, “Well, okay, it’s going to take this many…” Well, I don’t know.

Susan David: Yeah. I don’t do a lot of analysing about what I’m experiencing when I’m experiencing.

Lewis Howes: You just allow yourself to be.

Susan David: I allow myself to be, but I’m also at the same time, I’m very conscious, for instance, of the messaging that I might convey to my children. We know that often in society, and I know you talk about this, is we have display rules. We’ll say things like, “Women should stop being angry,” or, “Boys shouldn’t cry,” and so what we start to do, is we start to, very early on, shape the kind of emotional experiences that are supposedly allowed or not allowed.

And what that can lead to is people not being able to feel their emotions in a way that is connected and authentic.

Lewis Howes: And what’s the result of that? Is it anger, depression, or what? Over time, if you don’t feel.

Susan David: Well, yes, so what happens when people, for instance, have particular types of emotions that they struggle to feel or that they struggle to even identify, there are a couple of things. The first is this amplification effect. So, when we push aside our difficult emotions, it’s not like the situation gets solved, because we’re pushing it aside, so we’re not actually dealing with the situation, we’re just avoiding.

And when people have that bottling way of being, over time, at its most extreme, it can lead to situations where people try to manage their emotions in maladaptive ways. So, using alcohol is one example, where we feel sad, but we can’t name the sadness, and so we try to manage it in a particular way.

So, very practical strategies around this, or very practical things around this is, say, for instance, someone is experiencing stress at work. Okay? What we’ll often do is we’ll lable these emotions in this very broad brushstrokes. We’ll say, “I’m stressed, I’m stressed, I’m stressed,” but there’s a world of difference between stress and true, “Gee, I’m just overwhelmed here,” or stress and, “I’m disappointed because I thought my team would come through and they didn’t,” or stress and “I’m in the wrong career.”

And so, what we know, and in Emotional Agility I talk about this in a very practical way, is that when we lable our emotions in a more accurate way, what it does, is it actually allows us to understand the cause of the emotion in a more accurate way, and to take steps. We know that it activates what’s called the readiness potential in our brains. That starts shaping our goals.

So, practical example is, imagine if I’m working with someone who says, “I’m just stressed.” If I take that person at face value, I might say to them, “Well, why don’t you delegate more?” Isn’t that the solution for stress? But what if the person’s stress is actually, “I’m in the wrong career, and I’ve got a sense of grief and sadness at the time that I’ve lost.”? Then the conversation is completely different.

And so, if we are able to understand, what is this thing that you’re calling stress, it allows us to then say, “Okay, how do we start making shifts? How do we understand the values that you’re bringing to this career? How do we start making changes?”

Lewis Howes: Yeah. And what’s your vision? And what do you want?

Susan David: And what’s your vision, and what do you want? But if you’re just in a state of, “Oh, I’m stressed.” Or, “I’m stressed but I’m not even going to go there,” you can’t actually make changes, and so you are just about the impact, when you know that these ideas around emotional agility are critical to our own psychological health, to your well being, but also to our relationships.

When we push aside emotions, it impacts on our relationships. And, lastly, we also know that it impacts on the actual ability to do what we’re trying to do. So, for instance, if someone says something like, “Oh, I’m angry, but I’m just not going to go there, because I’ve got too much work to do,” when we assess problem solving and we look at the person’s ability to actually problem solve and to tackle their actual work that they’re trying to do, that they have degraded solutions, the work is of poorer quality, et cetera.

So, we do it with good intentions, but it doesn’t work.

Lewis Howes: Yeah. So how do we evaluate emotions? Do you go into a deeper, not just “I’m stressed,” but what does it really mean.

Susan David: Yes. So there are a couple of things. The first this is that when you say something like, “I am stressed,” or, “I am sad,” or, “I am angry,” what you’re doing is, you’re saying, “I am. All of me, 100% of me, is this emotion.” But you aren’t your emotion. You’re also your values, you are also your intentions. You are a whole lot of other things other than that one emotion. When we say, “I am,” it makes all of us about it and there’s not space between stimulus and response.

So, a very subtle, but practical strategy around this is to, instead of saying, “I am sad,” or, “I am angry,” instead notice the feeling or thought for what it is. It is a feeling or thought. I’m noticing that I’m feeling sad, I’m noticing that I’m feeling angry, I’m noticing the thought that I’m not good enough. What that does is it takes you away from the idea that the emotion is a fact, or that the thought is a fact, and it starts to create space. So that’s one strategy for this.

Lewis Howes: Or, what I’m experiencing in this moment is a feeling of whatever.

Susan David: Yeah, yeah. And then other things are the accurate labling we’ve spoken about. But also trying to recognise that our emotions have a function. That underneath our difficult emotions is a signpost of the things that we value. So, often just even saying, you know, let me give you an example: It’s like, I’m in L.A. at the moment. I’ve got two children at home in Boston, both of whom are sick, and I am guilty, okay, I feel guilty.

So, if I start saying something like, “I’m guilty,” what that starts to do, is it starts to make as if that guilt is a fact, that I am a bad mom, that this is terrible. But if I start to say, “Well, what is that guilt signposting to me?” What it’s signposting is that I value presence and connectedness with my children, and that, at the moment, I’m feeling a lack of that.

What that then allows me to do is to not give up my work, because that’s a different thing. But to be able to say, “Okay, in this context, what are ways that I can be present and connected? How can I bring my values to the situation?” rather than just be like, “Ah, I’m getting stuck in this guilt.”

Lewis Howes: Yeah, what’s the win-win? Can I face-time more with them while I’m away? Can I have someone drop in on them, a sibling or something?

Susan David: Yeah, yes! And when I’m face-timing them, can I be present and not be on my computer? You know? So there’s all of that kind of stuff. Often, when we talk about values, values seem these very abstract ideas, you know? They’re things written on walls in businesses and they feel very abstract.

But the way I think of values is that values are qualities of action. That every day, if you value your health, you get to choose when you go to a restaurant, a move that is either towards your value, or a move that’s away from your value.

And you may say, “Well, you know, I use willpower,” but what’s really interesting is, when you look at how people actually create sustainable change in their lives. When people say something like, “I have to lose weight because my wife is at me,” or, “I have to lose weight…”

Lewis Howes: Like a victim.

Susan David: It’s a “have to” goal. It’s, “I’m a victim of this thing, I have to do it.”

Lewis Howes: As opposed to, “I choose to because…”

Susan David: So that’s exactly. So, the “have to” goal, what it actually does, is it ramps up temptation. You want the thing more.

Lewis Howes: You’re like a yo-yo. Yo-yo dieting, yeah.

Susan David: When people are able to say, “What is the value that underpins this? What is not the “have to” goal, but the “want to” goal?” We know, from a number of studies, what it does is, it downramps temptation, and it actually creates sustainable behaviour change. So, it’s a critical aspect of it. But you only get to that place if you are able to be opened to yourself and what you’re experiencing.

Lewis Howes: And aware, yeah. So are all emotions valuable, then?

Susan David: All emotions are valuable. Absolutely! Society would tell us that only joy is valuable, or only happiness is valuable. All emotions are valuable. You don’t get to have a meaningful career. You don’t get to raise a family. You don’t get to leave the world a better place without some stress and discomfort. You know, discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life. And so, some of our emotions, our anger, might tell us that we don’t like something that’s happening in society at the moment.

So, all emotions are valuable. It doesn’t mean the emotion is a fact. It doesn’t mean that you’re right simply because you’re experiencing the emotion. They are data, not directives. So, they are information, but they’re not telling you what to do. You choose what to do. You own your emotions, they don’t own you.

Lewis Howes: Would you say that, to make a greater impact in your community or your family or the world, that you need to take on more stress in your life? Emotional stress or emotional discomfort?

Susan David: I’m not someone who holds to the idea that you should just be stressed for the sake of stress.

Lewis Howes: Right, because there are a lot of people in the world who aren’t making an impact, who are just stressed.

Susan David: Or stressed just because I’ve got to add more stuff to my schedule in a busy way. But when stress is values-aligned, that is what contributes. One of the things I talk about in emotional agility is, this idea that we can often, for instance, if you think about the workplace, we can often be in a situation where we are over competent in our work.

Where we know the work by rote and we know what to expect, and being busy doesn’t mean that you’re not over competent, you know, because we can be busy doing the same thing time and time again, and over competence is a very strong risk factor for disengagement in the workplace.

Lewis Howes: How do you mean over-confidence?

Susan David: Not over-confident, over competent.

Lewis Howes: Competent. Like, you’ve mastered your skill, it’s easy.

Susan David: You’ve mastered your skill, you know what to do, it’s routine, it’s predictable.

Lewis Howes: Got it.

Susan David: But we can also be over-challenged. I never know what’s going on in the organisation, things keep changing.

Lewis Howes: Too much uncertainty.

Susan David: There’s too much uncertainty. So, we know that people make the greatest levels of connection and have the greatest levels of meaning and success in their lives when they work and live at the edge of their ability. So, you’re neither over-competent, nor overwhelmed.

So, that’s what it looks like at work, what it looks like in a relationship is, you’re over-competent when you go out to a movie and you know what your partner or your wife’s opinion is going to be of the movie. You know what they’re going to order at dinner, you know what you’re going to talk about at dinner. That’s over-competence.

Over-challenge in that relationship, is when you’re walking on eggshells and you don’t know…

Lewis Howes: Every day.

Susan David: Every day. And, both of those, again, are signs of disengagement, and disconnection with a relationship. And so, being at the edge of your ability in a relationship is often about either trying to expand the depth or the breadth.

So, what I mean by that, the depth is what are some conversations that you maybe had with your partner ten years ago about your dreams, but that you’ve stopped having. Or aspects of your partner who you just, you don’t know those things any more.

So, that’s about the depth, and breadth is about being able to explore, do things with your partner, hobbies or new activities that you might not have done. But, to my point, it’s not just stress for the sake of it. It’s about…

Lewis Howes: Being on the edge. Intentionally.

Susan David: It’s about being on the edge in a way that is intentional. In a way that’s intentional and connected with who you want to be in the world.

Lewis Howes: Right. So, what does a healthy relationship with our emotions look like, then?

Susan David: A healthy relationship with our emotions, is about being compassionate with ourselves. So, recognising that we’re doing the best we can with who we are and with what we’ve got.

Lewis Howes: What does that look like, being compassionate? Is that just an inner conversation of like, “It’s okay.”? Is it journalling to ourselves? Is it communicating with someone else and saying, like, “I’m going to take it easy on myself.”?

Susan David: Yeah, it could be any of those things. We live our lives, often, as if we’re in a never-ending Iron Man or Iron Woman competition, where the idea of being compassionate is somehow associated with being weak or lazy. But, actually, compassion, which is recognising you’re doing the best you can with who you are, with what you’ve got and with the resources that you’ve been given in life.

What we know is that people who are self-compassionate, are actually more honest with themselves. They’re less lazy. Because what they’re doing is, they’re creating a space inside themselves in which they can fail and they’ll still love themselves.

And so, it’s really, really fascinating. And an example of this is, often, when people mess up, if you mess up at work, and you know you’ve done something wrong, we put ourselves down, we belittle ourselves. And you know, if you were a five-year-old child, if your five-year-old child made a mistake at school, and that child came and told you they had made a mistake, you wouldn’t berate them and yell at them and yet we do this to ourselves.

So, what does emotional well being look like? It’s about being compassionate with our emotions. It’s about also being courageous with our emotions, because, sometimes our emotions take us to feel places that are discomforting. Our emotions might tell us that we’re in a relationship that isn’t working for us.

Lewis Howes: It’s a compass.

Susan David: It’s a compass, and so, really, emotional agility is about being able to be compassionate, curious about our emotions and courageous with our emotions. And to be able to make choices that are connected with our values. That’s what emotional health and well being look like, and we know that this is the bedrock of our success.

And when I say success, I don’t mean how much money you’ve got in the bank, but literally our lifelong well being, our connectedness in our relationships, our ability to parent and love and lead in an effective, sustainable way.

Lewis Howes: How should we be connecting with our friends and family members, those closest to us, who are dealing with emotions? Someone has a death in the family, and maybe they’re just saying, “I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay,’ or, “It’s all good.” Should we be judging people if they are okay? Or should there be a grieving that we should witness, or some type of painful emotion that we’re supposed to witness? Or maybe just some people are okay with certain things?

Susan David: So, it’s a really interesting question. One of the most famous models in psychology is this idea that people go through stages of grief, you know? There’s denial and there’s anger, and in fact, number one, the research just doesn’t support it, but secondly grief is fundamentally unpredictable.

Any person who’s going through grief will tell you that sometimes they feel okay, and then something just triggers something in them and then they feel raw and so I think that the idea that there should be any expectation that you see something in another person that truly conveys grief, I think, is an idea that’s almost born out of some model of how we deal with grief that’s not actually connected with the reality of the grieving experience.

I think what is really important for people is to recognise that every person grieves in a different way, and that you are able, as a friend, to be there. To be there. And one of the things that becomes really important here, is that, often, people will say, “Oh, if you need anything, just reach out,” whereas it’s often difficult for an individual who’s going through grief, and what that does is, it puts the responsibility on the individual to say, “Okay, I’m now going through grief, and I’ve got this additional responsibility to reach out.”

Lewis Howes: Yeah. And what if they’re not available? And I feel rejected from them that I’m not going to reach out to anyone.

Susan David: Yeah, and so I think, I talk about this a little in my book, and I talk about this also in the TED Talk, is there’s this beautiful phrase in South Africa, which is Sawubona. It’s beautiful, it literally translated means, I see you, and by seeing you, I bring you into being. And when we feel seen, it is one of the most profound experiences.

When we come home from work and we’ve had a really bad day, and our spouse says to us, “How was your day?” and we just say, “I’ve had a really bad day,” and the person says, “Oh, well come set the table, because we’re going to have dinner now,” we feel unseen.

There’s something so profound in seeing, and it’s not just seeing, but it’s also seeing the emotions. We will often, inadvertently, if our child is in pain, if our child comes home and says, “Mommy, I had a bad day at school, no-one would play with me,” there’s this part of ourselves that goes to pain, because we never wanted our child to be rejected.

So, often, with very good intentions, what we do is we rush in and we try to make things better. We try to create a solution. “Don’t worry, I’ll play with you, I’ll bake cupcakes with you. I’ll phone the mean girls’ parents and we’ll sort [it out].” Even though we do that with such good intentions, and intentions that we should, again, be compassionate towards, what it does is, it stops the child from feeling seen.

Now, you might say, “What difference, in the longer term, does that make?” but actually, we know that when children are experiencing a lot of emotion, even just having someone with them, not someone trying to fix it, not someone trying to jump to solution, but just someone seeing their being there, that it de-escalates the emotional experience.

We also know that one of the most critical things that children can learn, is that emotions pass. Emotions are transient, so if you rush in and you’re saving your child from difficult emotions, the child is never actually learning the skills of how to deal with difficult emotions, and one day, they will lose their job, or experience heartbreak, and they won’t have the skill.

So, critically, is this Sawubona whether it’s grieving a grieving adult, or a child in pain, or ourselves in pain, Sawubona is the “I see you and there is space here, for what it is that you are experiencing”. Another thing we can do with our children, is we can help them to lable those emotions effectively.

We know that at the age of two or three years old, children are starting to be able to tell the difference between sadness, anger, grief. We know that children are able to start doing this. And so when, from a very young age, we start giving children the language around their emotions, that becomes fundamental.

And then, lastly, being able to say to kids, “Who do you want to be in this situation?” Like, if a child comes home from school and says, “Jack didn’t invite me to his birthday party, and so now I don’t want to invite him.” You see that there’s no space between stimulus and response, okay? It’s, “I’m reacting, I’m being driven by my emotions.”

If you help the child, instead, to lable what it is that they’re feeling, and then we start saying to them, “Well, what does a good friend look like? Who do you want to be in this situation?” we start helping our children to develop character and we know that these skills, they might seem subtle or sideline skills, but these skills are the cornerstone of self-regulation, of grit, of well being, of relationships in a lifelong, critical way.

And so, those examples that I’ve just used, we can apply that to ourselves and we can apply that to people struggling.

Lewis Howes: Yeah. And what about adults? The same thing?

Susan David: It’s the same, the same.

Lewis Howes: Who do you want to be? You know, do you have the same type of conversation?

Susan David: Yeah, well, if I’m with someone who’s struggling with something, the first thing is that not putting them in a situation where they somehow feel that their emotion is wrong or being judged.

Lewis Howes: How does that happen? So, if a friend comes to you and says, “I’m going through a break up, and I’m hurting,” or in a relationship, or a job, “I got fired,” what’s the first thing that you would you say? Is it, “Okay, I see you and I’m going to be in this space with you?

Susan David: You know, often, if someone’s going through difficulty and they say, “I’ve just been fired from this job.” Often, what our response is, “Oh, don’t worry, you’ll get another one.” You know? Or, “Don’t worry, things will be fine.”

But actually, what might be going on for the person is, a huge sense of rejection, or a huge sense of loss, or a huge sense of disappointment. And in the rush to solve the problem, in the rush to fix it, what we do, is we don’t actually allow the space for them to make sense of the situation and to gather the resources internally that help them to move forward effectively.

Lewis Howes: So, I lose my job and I come to you, and I say, “Susan, I don’t know what to do, I’m stressed out, I feel rejected, I didn’t know my identity was wrapped up in this job. I don’t know what to do.”

Susan David: Well, I think, the first thing is, you just being able to help you lable what it is that you are experiencing and being able to go beyond just the, “Oh, I lost my job,” and me making you feel better in some solution oriented way, and helping you to recognise what’s going on. And often in that, what we know is that people start developing the most powerful human skills that we have, which is the ability to perspective take.

When you’re stuck in this, “Oh, my goodness, I lost my job”, then it feels, often, like the end of everything, “I’ve lost my job.” When you’re able to help them to articulate, and what’s really interesting, earlier on I spoke about this experience that I had with this teacher, okay, where she invited us to write in these notebooks.

So what is profound, is we know when people are able to put their experiences into language, to actually language about their experience, it helps to create greater levels of insight. It helps them to move from the situation of, “Oh, my goodness! I lost my job!” into, “I lost my job, and I feel really upset about it, and this is what I think I need to do next.”

Lewis Howes: So, pulling out of them reflection.

Susan David: Yeah, helping them to reflect on things that they enjoyed about the job or didn’t enjoy about the job, or how they’re feeling about the loss of the job and what that meant, and helping them to understand that, is a hallmark, then, of enabling them to move forward effectively.

Lewis Howes: I’m going to ask you a personal question about me.

Susan David: Go for it!

Lewis Howes: My current situation, twelve years ago my dad got in a really severe car accident, was in a coma for many months, survived, but he was never the same again. And so it was almost like I lost my dad from what I knew him to be. We had to take care of him 24/7. We had to teach him how to read, how to write, how to talk, all these things, everything, simple functions. He had extreme amnesia, didn’t remember our names, all these things.

He survived for the last twelve years and kind of got to a stable place where he was comfortable and happy in his own way, but, again, it was almost like I lost my father for what I knew him to be, but he’s still here. The relationship isn’t the same, there’s just other complications and challenges and then this week, I found out that he may only have thirty days to live.

For many years there’s different scares of the physical challenges he’s facing, there’s different scares that have happened where we thought he might pass, like different things might happen. So it’s been like a grieving, like I lost him, he’s here. He might die, he’s alive. What advice would you give for me whether my father gets through this next challenge and lives for the next fifty years, or this is it.

Because my sisters and my brother are like, “This might be it, we need to go see him and share our final thoughts with him,” like, “This is it.” And I don’t feel a sense of grieving yet, or a sense of fear or overwhelming emotion yet. And I did for many years, years ago. I feel like I’ve grieved it already.

Susan David: Yes. Yes. Because you’ve gone through a particular process.

Lewis Howes: And my siblings are kind of like feeling this grieving thing, and I’m like, “Guys, he’s still alive, first off, and I think there’s a solution to keep him alive,” but they’re thinking the extreme case is like, this is it, you know, and to prepare for that. And I just don’t feel this emotion of I need to feel sad and grieving and it’s the end of the world.

Susan David: I think that’s the thing where I talk about grief being so different for different people. You know, as I went through this experience with my father, I just have this inherent sense of myself now, which came through that experience, which is, I feel resilient. And so, sometimes, things that upset other people, it’s not that I’m closed off from it, it’s not that I’m in denial, it’s not any of that stuff, it just doesn’t affect me in the same way, because I feel like I’ve gone through a process.

And I think, what’s really important is for us to not put expectations about ourselves that we should feel something, or that there’s something wrong with us, you know? It becomes this whole kind of psychological backlash. If you feel something, then you’re too emotional, and if you’re not emotional then you must be in defence, you know, you must be in denial.

The advice that I would give, is just being able to hold where you’re at. You’re at where you’re at and that’s just a really important thing. And then, what I would say is, you have a father, and you’ve been given information from, I imagine, the medical professionals about the context that is in front of you, and you can’t predict how that’s going to go. But what you can do is, you can ask yourself questions about, “Who do I want to be as a son in this situation?” Like, “Who do I want to be as a person in this situation, because my father may get better in mind. If I don’t see him, or if I don’t connect with him, what are the things that feel values aligned with me?”

And so, I think those are the kinds of questions that I would be asking. Yes, you don’t need to catastrophise it, but, given the context, what are ways that you feel you can be the person who you most want to be, at this time.

Lewis Howes: Yeah. That’s good advice.

Susan David: I don’t know if that’s helpful.

Lewis Howes: Yeah, that’s pretty good. My flight’s already booked to go see him, but yeah, that’s great advice, though. To be, again, it’s coming back to you saying that every situation of fear, anxiety, depression or stress, is reflecting on, “Who do I want to be in this situation?” Having the awareness to say that as opposed to reacting instantly, instead, “What’s the type of person I want to be in this situation? What are my values aligned to?” To respond in an effective way.

Susan David: Yes, yes. To completely change the example, but it’s related, is: I often do interviews for Harvard Business Show and I’ll say things like, “What if your boss really is an idiot?” or, “What if your co-worker really is a slacker?” and you say, “Well, you know, what if the gods of right came down and told you you were right. Your boss is an idiot or your co-worker is a slacker? Then what?” You still get to choose who you want to be in the situation.

And so, the concept that I talk about in this book is the idea that I call, workability. And this is what I mean: What actions will bring me closer to being the person, the parent, the leader, the son, that I most want to be in this situation?

Lewis Howes: Yeah. It’s funny, I’ve been talking about, in the book, that I had come out a few months ago about men opening up and being more vulnerable and expressing their emotions in different ways. Because, I think, as I went on tour, most of the rooms were 50/50 men and women, and I would ask the women in the room, I’d say, “How many of you get together, raise your hand if how many of you get together once a weekend, minimum, with a group of your girlfriends, to talk about your feelings, your insecurities, your fears, your body issue challenges, your relationships, work, whatever?”

The whole room of females raised their hand that once a week they at least get together and a lot of them were like, “That’s every day! We do that every day, for coffee or tea, or on the phone.”

And I go, “For the men in the room, how many of you meet once a month, with a group of guys, and you sit and talk about your fears and your insecurities and your challenges at work and relationship. It’s usually like two of the guys in the room out of 100 or 200, and I always say, “Are you guys part of a church group, a men’s church group? Where it’s like a mandatory or like a set time to be there?” And they’re like, “Yes we are.”

And I think it’s been, for men, we haven’t been taught that it’s okay to express ourselves in this way, unless there’s a safe structure at a church or a men’s group of like, “Hey, we’re all going to do this at the same time. Now you can open up.”

Susan David: Yeah, I think it’s, there are these display rules. A display rule is this implicit idea that’s often conveyed by society about what emotions it’s okay to feel or not feel. And so, what happens is, when we feel we can’t feel sadness, or we can’t do this, it starts to interrupt our ability to connect with our emotions and what our emotions are telling us.

But, what’s fascinating is when you look at the research on, for instance, mortality. What we find is that males and females are in a relationship, or males and males, or females and females, but when you’ve got one person in that relationship who is the person who’s always reaching out, making the social arrangements, being able to bring people together for that kind of social interaction, and then as that couple ages, one of them dies. If the person who’s the social connector dies, it significantly predicts that the likelihood that the other person in the relationship, the person the is not the social connector, will die within seven months.

So, you say, “Well, how is that? What is actually going on here?” Social support is one of the most profound protectors of us as human beings, of our well being. And there are two types of social support. There’s instrumental support, which is like, “My car broke down, can you take me to the car shop?” There’s emotional support, “I’m going through a tough time.” When you’ve got one person in a relationship who isn’t practiced at being able to do that stuff, when they’re left alone, their entire social network disintegrates, because they haven’t been the person doing it.

So you don’t have someone coming and checking in on them and seeing if they’re okay. You don’t have someone taking them to the hospital if they fall ill. And so you start seeing this impact. I am so grateful that the conversation is starting to change, in a way that starts to move us away from this false sense. This false holding up of some emotions are good and some are bad, and just is starting to move us into a space where we can actually be more connected an authentic with how we feel.

Because I think that the pain inside of us, always comes out. Always. We might take it out on society, we might take it out on children, we might take it out on our communities. Internal pain always comes out. And it’s only when we, as human beings, learn, circling back to the beginning of the interview, learn the capacity to deal with our emotions that are part and parcel of who we are as human beings. That we will be able to develop greater levels of resilience and connectedness and well being and sustainability.

Lewis Howes: And healthy emotions. I think a healthy way of living, and that’s why, I think, so much has happened in the last year in our society, in America specifically, with all of the mass shootings, the mass bombings, the racial tension in Charlottesville, the sexual harassment and sexual abuse, the domestic violence.

The common denominator of all these situations we see in the media, is men who really don’t have that emotional agility. That they’re hurting inside, they don’t know how to express themselves or they’ve never just communicated it for years or decades and then it’s got to come out somehow.

Susan David: Yeah, the ability to, in a healthy way, deal with our emotions, is, I believe, one of the most fundamental skills that we, as a human race, need. As we watch the ice-caps melt, as we are in war, this ability, and it will get more and more so, as we experience greater levels of complexity and AI and challenge, there’s an urgency that is just so fundamental.

And, I think, in a way, that’s why the ideas on emotional agility and why the ideas in the TED Talk connected. Because really, what I’m trying to do in my work is to change the conversation, where our emotions are not seen as being good or bad, but actually fundamental to our lifelong well being as individuals and as parents in this society.

Lewis Howes: What advice would you have for men who are maybe listening, who are typically not as expressive with their emotions? Whether they hold on to their emotions, or they just don’t share what they’re feeling, with guy friends, girl friends, married partners, whoever it may be. They just keep it all in, good and bad.

What advice would you have for men, and why would you give them that advice? Because I think if we bottle this stuff up for so long, we get sicker more frequently. I’m assuming that we die younger, when we can’t express our emotions, it’s going to affect us. We’re a heart attack waiting to happen if we’re just bottling it in all the time.

Susan David: So, one of the things that I will say, is just because we’re feeling something, doesn’t mean we need to express it. This is, again, the idea that our emotions are data, not directions. So I can feel really angry with my boss, it doesn’t mean that I need to have it out with my boss.

Lewis Howes: Yeah, of course.

Susan David: But the question that I would ask is this: To what extent is it serving you? Because what will often happen, we get into ways of being, we get into auto-pilot ways of connecting with ourselves that don’t serve us. So when we are not able to disclose, or when we are upset with something that someone’s done, but we aren’t able to have a conversation about it, instead we storm out in a mood, what is the impact of that?

And so, the question that I would be asking is: How is the way you’re being, serving you? If it’s not serving you, if it’s not serving your values and who you want to be in the world, then what we can start doing, is we can start, we don’t need to make massive changes, you know? There’s this idea that when we want to change something, we’ve got to sell up and go live on a Greek island. Like, we’ve got to make massive changes in our lives.

In fact, most of the meaningful impact that comes in our world, is by doing what I call, tiny tweaks. So, more values aligned changes. And so, what that might look like in this context that you’re describing is, how can you experiment with a different way of being?

If you know that there’s something that always triggers you to get up in a huff and leave the room, and you know that that’s likely to happen in the next week or two weeks, because you know that it’s something that you always come to in your relationship, then start thinking about, “What would a values aligned tweak be in this situation? And how can I just try that different way of being?”

When we practice that different way of being, moving in a way that is connected with our values and is often uncomfortable, that we make our greatest growth.

Lewis Howes: I’m glad you said this. And just before that you mentioned something that, for me, when a psychologist says something that backs up what I’ve been doing, then I’m like, “Perfect! I’m doing the right thing!” I don’t have the data or the research, but when someone else says something…

On my tour I would always tell people, “You know, before I went through my journey of discovering a lot of things about me as a man and the things I was holding on to and the stresses I was holding onto and about four and a half, five years ago, I started to just be aware of my actions and my reactions.

I used to be very defensive, very guarded and reactive. I didn’t have the space between, what do you call it? The space between…

Susan David: Stimulus and response. Yes.

Lewis Howes: Stimulus and response. I didn’t have that, I was just reactive. Now, I think, I’m much better. I mean, I’m sure there’s moments when I’m reactive, but I’m much more aware and I’ll tell other men, when I’m talking to them, I say, “Listen, there’s two things I think about. Are my reactions or actions to a situation serving a purposeful vision for my life, and supporting my inner peace? And if it’s not supporting both of those things, then I probably shouldn’t do it. I shouldn’t react that way or respond that way.”

You were talking about values. For me, I’m always talking about vision. Does it serve a purposeful vision for your life, to flip that person off in the car when they cut you off, to scream at someone, to do whatever, to push someone. Does that serve a vision for your life purposefully? Probably not. And does is bring you inner peace?

It might bring you a sense of satisfaction in the moment, but is it bringing you inner peace? And if it doesn’t do those things, then don’t do it. That’s my kind of general rule of thumb. Obviously we’re not perfect and we make mistakes and we’re humans, but that’s what I try to do in my life.

Susan David: I think that’s right, you know, people sometimes say, “Well, you know, my emotions catch me off guard and so I just react,” but the thing is, that most of our reactions that catch us off guard, and believe me, I am by no means perfect; I talk a lot in the book about examples of me doing exactly the opposite, but often, when our emotions catch us off guard, it’s actually not off guard.

Because, so often, the, “I walked out of my job, angry,” but if you trace back, often that person will have had another experience, and another experience, and another experience that is all within the same pattern.

So we land up having very patterned responses in our lives. The emotions might feel like they catch us off guard, but when we start becoming aware of the triggers and naming them and labeling them, and choosing, then we start recognising that it didn’t actually catch us off guard.

Lewis Howes: Yeah, I think it’s powerful, and I think a practical example that you talked about is journaling. And we talk about his a lot on the podcast. At the end of every day, if you journal even a couple of sentences of, “How did I feel today? On a scale of one to ten, did I feel stressed and pissed off or did I feel generally happy?” You know, and if we can just track a month’s period, if we can just know how did I feel, how did I react in these situations, what upset me, and did I respond in ways that I feel proud of, of who I was being?

You can start to see those patterns on a daily basis and then start to say, “Okay, what are some changes I need to make in my life? Maybe I need to have a conversation with my boss, or my workmate. Maybe I need to have a conversation with my spouse or my girlfriend or boyfriend, my parents, who have been pissing me off,” or whatever.

Susan David: Yes, it’s so powerful.

Lewis Howes: As opposed to just running out of the office, like, “I’m leaving! I’m quitting!” You can start to make these little tweaks that you talked about, as opposed to this huge transformation, like daily journalling.

Susan David: Connecting triggers. Because you don’t mind me sharing research, there’s this beautiful research that’s done by a guy by the name of James Pennebaker. And what he does is, he brings people into a room and he asks people to, he divides them into two groups. One group writes about arbitrary stuff, the cars passing on the street, and the other group writes for twenty minutes a day, for three days, about emotionally difficult experiences.

It might be a break up of a relationship, or a job loss, or “I’m going into this new job and I’m scared about it.” So, they write for twenty minutes a day, for three days. What he does before the experiment is, he assesses people’s well being, their depression, their anxiety, how often they’ve been to see the doctor, their physical symptoms.

They write for twenty minutes a day for three days, and six months later he reassesses their well being, physical symptoms and so on. And what we find in that research, is that simply even writing for twenty minutes a day for three days, those individuals, who’ve done the writing about difficult stuff, have high levels of well being, lower levels of depression, lower levels of anxiety.

They’ve been to see the doctor fewer times, and we even find that it predicts things like, when people have been laid off from their jobs, people who do the writing, versus don’t, the people who write get rehired quicker, because again, it starts to activate this readiness potential.

Now, what is it that’s actually going on here? When we analyse these writing samples, what we find is that writing in this way, which is different from ruminating, “Oh, my goodness! This is terrible!” it brings about greater levels of insight and a key predictor is not only using positive words.

In other words, not just doing a Pollyanna, “everything will be okay,” but actually being able to go to some of the difficulty, there’s insight, a moderate amount of positive emotion words, a moderate amount of negative emotion words. Those become the predictor of this expanded well being.

So, what you’re talking about is absolutely, and I think the experience that I had in the eighth grade is exactly what allowed me to move through that tough time, for me.

Lewis Howes: Wow. I love this stuff. This, for me, is like the key to having an abundant life and a wealthy, rich experience of life, and not letting emotions own us and control us, but really us having awareness of them and being able to move and dance with them. And that’s what I think someone who has an abundant life can really have ownership of their emotions and accept what’s coming in and allow it to flow out and as opposed to just being a victim to emotions all day long.

Which I’ve seen, people in that place, and it sucks to witness when someone is stuck in their emotions. And it allows them to just, there’s no responsibility or awareness, it’s just, “This is the way life is, and I can’t get through it and I’m depressed, and I need pills and I need addictions to mask it.” Right? I don’t know, I’m preaching to the choir here.

Make sure you guys get this book! I’ve got a few final questions for you, but get the book, Emotional Agility – Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life. Make sure you guys pick this up, and also we’ll have the TED Talk linked up, and the show notes, you guys can see this as well.

Final few questions for you. This is called The Three Truths. It’s a question I ask at the end for everyone. So you’ve got one of the most inspiring TED Talks of all time, you’ve got these bestselling books, all your research and everything out there, with Harvard Business Review, all the work that you’ve done.

And for the rest of your life, you achieve everything you want to achieve. But for whatever reason, this is the last day, many years from now, hypothetically speaking, and everything you’ve ever created has been erased. All your work, all your research, all your speeches, all gone.

But you have a piece of paper and a pen, it’s a happy celebration of a day, some people are flowing in their emotions because they’ve learned so much from you, but it’s the last day, and you have a piece of paper and a pen to write down three things you know to be true about life, and this is all you can pass on to the world, all they would have to be remembered by you. What would be the lessons, those three truths or lessons that you would share with the world?

Susan David: I would say, to love yourself, to love others and to know that the world loves you.

Lewis Howes: Those are powerful. Simple and powerful.

Susan David: And I really hold to that.

Lewis Howes: Yeah, that’s great. Before I ask the final question, I want to acknowledge you for a moment, for your commitment for people being healthy and happy in their lives. Because, depression, with the research that you’ve found, is the highest cause of…

Susan David: So, that’s the World Health Organisation. It’s the leading cause of disability.

Lewis Howes: Leading cause of disability. And for your, what seems to be your life’s mission, to help people end depression, it’s one of the greatest gifts of service that you can give for the world and for humanity.

Susan David: Thank you! This really is my life’s calling and it’s the depression, it’s the anxiety, but it’s also even beyond that, about health and wellness and wholeness that I think is just so fundamental to us.

Lewis Howes: Yeah. I want to make sure I acknowledge you for your service to humanity, because without people like you doing this work, I think there would be a lot of sicker people in the world who would be suffering on such a higher level.

So, this podcast right now, I know, is going to help a lot of people, the work that you’re doing with this book, the TED Talk and everything else you’re doing to get the message out there. I really acknowledge you for the hard work you put out, and the sacrifices you made to put the time and energy into this. I know you have a lot going on, so it’s really inspiring.

Susan David: No, you know, I think it is one of those things that when you believe in something strongly, people say things and it sounds cliché, like, “It doesn’t feel like work,” of course it is work, of course it’s tiring, of course it’s sacrifice, but I hold to this with every fibre of my being.

Lewis Howes: Yeah. It’s powerful. It’s very powerful. Where can we connect with you online? Where do you spend the most time if someone wants to reach out to you on social media?

Susan David: Yes, so I’m on all the different, Facebook, LinkedIn, et cetera. If people are interested, I’ve got a free quiz that a 100,000 people have taken at the moment, and it’s an emotional agility quiz, and it takes just five minutes and you get a free ten page report, and that’s susandavid, so S.U.S.A.N.D.A.V.I.D. , But otherwise, I’m on LinkedIn, and Instagram and Twitter and…

Lewis Howes: You’re @susandavid everywhere?

Susan David: It’s either susandavid or susandavidphd, depending on what we could get.

Lewis Howes: Perfect, awesome! Where do you hang out the most? Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn?

Susan David: Probably Facebook, actually.

Lewis Howes: Right! So, we’ll connect with you. We’ll leave comments there, make sure you guys send her a message, let her know what you thought about this

Susan David: Thank you, I’d love that. I’d really love that.

Lewis Howes: Any questions for me before I ask you the final question?

Susan David: I have no questions for you. It’s been a really wonderful

Lewis Howes: Good, I’m glad you came on. Final question, then, is: What is your definition of greatness?

Susan David: My definition of greatness is being able to be with yourself in a way that feels connected and whole.

Lewis Howes: There you go! Susan David! Thanks for coming on. Appreciate it! Thank you!

Susan David: Thank you so much! Thank you!

Lewis Howes: Of course, of course!

Music Credits:

Music Credit: Sea You Soon by Adam Hinden & cinnafinn

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