Susan DavidArmchair Expert with Dax Shepard
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- 26 Nov 2020
Susan David, Ph.D. is one of the world’s leading management thinkers and an award-winning Harvard Medical School psychologist. Susan joins the Armchair Expert to discuss the work she does on emotional agility, what it takes for us to be healthy humans, and the dangerous narrative that success equals happiness. Susan explains that emotions are transient, how we need to face them with compassion and how vital accuracy is when evaluating them. She demonstrates how you go about defining your values and how to start creating distance between ourselves and our emotions.
Welcome, welcome, welcome to armchair expert experts on expert. I'm Dave Shepherd and I'm joined by Miniature Mouse with the Maximus Attitude.
Hello, Maximus Powers. This episode of Experts on Experts is with Susan, David and Susan. David is a Ph.D. She's one of the world's leading management thinkers and an award winning Harvard Medical School psychologist.
She's an incredible TED talk that I saw that got me interested in her called the Gift and Power of Emotional Courage. And she has a book, Emotional Agility, where she talks at great length about these concepts. I found her to be really, really helpful in understanding your emotions, identifying them and learning how to avoid just chasing your emotions to places. Yeah, I agree.
And letting the emotions tell you more about yourself as opposed to just letting them control you.
Yes, I clicked many of the boxes she brought up. You clicked too on or so I did. One or two. All right.
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Hi, how are you? I'm good, I'm good. Where are you at in time and space? I am in space in Boston, OK?
And in time I'm at 3:00 in the afternoon, relaxed, happy, walked, beautiful day. And if you don't mind me asking, who are you quarantining with?
Isn't that a new word for cab is no longer you know where you're going on vacation or what are your plans. It's like who you're quarantining with your pod.
Yeah. Who's my pod. My pod since February has been my husband, who's a doctor. So that has its various complications as well as my two kids. OK, yeah. So it's been kind of fascinating because he's been very much on the forefront of a lot of what's been going on and it's been really interesting.
Well, then I guess this question then might not apply to you, because if he's been so busy in his normal routine, as it sounds like, maybe he has it, maybe you guys have not succumbed to the same what seems like kind of universal stress between couples. I know my wife and I have had some real major ups and downs and most of our friends.
I think this new living arrangement where you're with each other 24/7 just presented all these new issues.
I mean, I think it's a whole new world that we are negotiating and navigating in so many different ways. And I think both of those words come in for us. He's been busy and his normal thing, but we still are at home. We homescreen to kids. We have been doing this since February. He came to me in December and he was like, this thing is going to be big, but I'm also buying toilet paper.
And I was like, you are going crazy. Ridiculous. Yeah. And then I eat my words. So I think in so many ways it's a renegotiation for all of us. It's like, who are we? What is our identity? Who are we without our work? What is the relationship look like? Like what is effective parenting look like. Oh yeah. Oh what is friendship look like?
You know, how are we with our friends? There's all of this stuff. I mean, it's such an extraordinary moment.
It really is. As you point out, it's like put a wrinkle in nearly every compartment of your life. You know, it's not just one new element. It's whether you're working or you're not working. Everyone's work has changed. Virtually the whole rug was kind of taken away.
I think there's the physical, technical aspects of it, and then there's the psychological aspects. I mean, for me, every single week I was travelling and suddenly it's like you're not traveling and what's your identity? Who are you? Like, how are you separate from your work? There's just all of this and it's just fascinating and takes such courage. And I think it also really like brings us front and centtravelinger of the reality, which is like we always have the sense that we in control and actually we realize how fundamentally that was an illusion.
Oh, my God. Yes. It put such a fine point on that. Security is an illusion. Safety is an illusion. I have to imagine, though, that this is like an amazing opportunity in the social sciences in the way that, like, punctuated evolution theory is like some big environmental event leads to all this stuff. And I just have to imagine there's going to be a lot of truths revealed in the social sciences by this data set.
Yeah, I mean, certainly in terms of my work, you know, my work is really in the context of emotions and what are the narratives that we have about our emotions? How do they make us fragile? How do they make us agile? And it's been so fascinating for me because not only am I living it, breathing it in a vulnerable way myself, but of course, these conversations around mental health, about well-being, there's so many conversations that I think we were starting to have, you know, even like if we think pre-pandemic that like depression and anxiety were the leading causes of disability globally, outstripping cancer, outstripping heart disease.
And yet there's so much of this that is at the periphery. And I think what happens in this context is it all becomes, you know, something that's so front and center. And I think for me in my work, it's just been extraordinary, actually, in the feeling of it and being in it. Yeah.
And also in the power that comes from the conversation, the power that comes through to us all going, oh, my God, like we are human. How about that? Yes.
So I would love to just briefly set up what your work is. I love your TED talk, gift and power of emotional courage, as do eight million other people. It's a very popular TED talk and it's very well done. But in that you talk about this topic, which you also wrote a book called Emotional Ajilon. And you explore that, you know, we tend to have kind of rigid responses to emotions, and I would love for you to just kind of tell us what that looks like, because I think a lot of people identify with it.
So my work explores really one central question, which is what does it take for us to be healthy human beings? We have every day thousands of thoughts. The thoughts might be, you know, I'm not good enough or I'm being undermined or I'm bored. We have emotions, stress, loneliness, boredom, anxiety, cynicism, and then we have stories. And some of these stories were written on our mental chalkboards when we were five years old. Stories about who we are, what kind of love we deserve and so on.
And so my work concerns really this core question, which is what does it take for us to be healthy human beings, to be healthy with our thoughts, our emotions and our stories and what I explore in that TED talk. Thanks for your kind words about it. It was a very powerful experience because I was really going through this whole theme that runs through my work, which is the power of seeing, you know, the power of seeing the self and the power of seeing others.
And in my talk, I expressed this word. I use this word Swanbourne and so on, is this beautiful phrase that you hear every day on the streets of South Africa. It means hello, you know, so you hear it thousands of times that I saw what was happening. But Selborne and literally translated means I see you. And by seeing you, I bring you into being. And really what that means is that when you show up to someone, when you show up to someone in their vulnerability, in their pain and the discomfort in their needs, that the showing up to them, whether we are showing up to our children as a parent or a colleague or a spouse, when we show up to people, we help them to be we help them to be the imperfect, beautiful essence of who we are as people.
Yeah, but the opposite context of that or the different way we can think of seeing is do we see ourselves? We often have these ideas. Oh, I had a good thought or bad thought it was positive or what was negative. It was I'm happy and that's good. But if I'm sad, that's bad. And so what we have societally, and this is what I so explore in my work, is this idea that we have these rigid ideas, that these human beautiful capacities are actually somehow sometimes abnormal, good or bad, and also binary like how limiting that there's no nuance or complexity to it.
It's good or bad.
It's good or bad. You know, I'm feeling bad. I'm feeling sad. I shouldn't be sad. I should be grateful. And really, when we do this, like, what are we doing? We are refusing to see ourselves. We are refusing to see the essence of what makes us human. And then in doing that, what are the costs and the very real costs psychologically as well as in a broader scope. So, you know, what is my work?
My work is what does it take in the way we see ourselves in order to be healthy? Because how we deal with our inner worlds is everything. And then, yeah, I guess that an immediate delineation to make, which is you're saying healthy, which is not necessarily synonymous with happy or not synonymous with positive, right. Yes.
I mean, I think one of the most dangerous narratives that we have in society is this idea that successful equals happy. Oh yeah.
Yeah. I rail on this all the time. I had a fantasy of what it would feel like to have X amount of money and have X amount of people recognize me. And I was fortunate enough to find out that that really didn't result in what I hoped it would.
I would suggest that not only does it not equate with being healthy, but actually the opposite, that when we have these narratives, it actually makes us unhealthy. It makes us fragile. It makes us and our society less resilient.
Well, because as you point out, as you ignore things or you push them away, they rear up with most often more disastrous outcomes than had. One just sat in it and experienced it, analyzed it, thought about what was to learn from the emotion. But the ignoring it or the pushing it away or the substituting or trying to get out of it was some other thing generally is more destructive than just experiencing it. Yeah. Yeah.
And it's avoidant. It's avoided, you know, as wonderful as on the face of it, just think positive thoughts because you'll manifest a positive reality or just be happy or oh just look for silver linings, as wonderful as that sounds on the surface of it. Yeah. What is it. It's denial. It's denial of the world as it is. It's avoidant and whenever. We face ourselves or others with avoidance, what do we do? We incapacitate the ability for us to actually solve the problem, to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be in some Instagram's, you know, version of our imagining.
Yeah, just for fun, let's spitball on how we ended up in this situation. Do you think do you think this is a kind of an undesirable byproduct of capitalism or advertising has been inundating us since the 30s and it's been selling happy. I mean, what are the roots of our obsession with a constant state of elation or is it just human? Does appreciate that.
It's like us. The million dollar question, five minutes into the interview, like, let's get heavy now. Let's get moving. Well, I think there are a couple of things. Firstly, definitely advertising sells us one way of being. And it's one thing when you are seeing that advert on a billboard as you driving home, it's quite another when you are bringing that advert into your home, into your bedroom, into your bed, into your phone.
And now you are just comparing yourself to this particular individual who you maybe didn't like in high school, but who's now become incredibly successful. Now, you comparing yourself to a million of those individuals and they all are 18 years old. And so we start engaging with one of the most toxic forms of human relatedness, which is self comparison. It's one of the most toxic ways that we can be. So I think that's one aspect of it. Another is psychological, which is really interesting.
If we look at the history of psychology, when Freud first was talking about, you know, the subconscious and the in the ego, it felt very difficult to measure it. It felt like it was almost intangible. Yeah. And then you get behaviorism in psychology. So you get this idea that, oh, you know, if the dog barks twice when you give it a bone, you can measure it. That feels very tangible. And so that's the move from the more kind of psychoanalytic traditions and psychology to the behaviourist traditions and the behaviors.
Traditions are basically, if you can measure it, it exists. And where emotions, fullan emotions feel difficult, emotions feel intangible. And so they sidelined as being bioproducts or end products or soft, weak, and the other reasons as well that I can get into, which I think all about gender. Yeah.
And also the history of the DSM is fascinating, right. Where there is a very noble attempt to quantify some of the stuff so we can set parameters of what is mental illness and what is not. And in doing so, we kind of inadvertently create what a normal a psychological state is for a human.
Well, I think that so much of what the DSM does is it tries to put parameters on these things. Yeah. But then in trying to put parameters, what we don't talk about is that suffering is normal. Right? I mean, that fragility is normal, that self-doubt is normal. And so it becomes so easy to just feel an overwhelming sense of shame and of not good enough. Yeah. What the cost ends up being is we are unable to be compassionate with ourselves because we see ourselves as being weak.
We struggle to be in difficult conversations with people who are experiencing injustice because we start saying to them, like, oh, you being negative. Yeah. And there's a cost.
I just want to outline, like rigid responses to emotions would be like obsessively brooding on our feelings and being stuck in our own head. This is Monica Hokkien. You are you hooked on being right? Like all of a sudden the most paramount thing in life is that I'm right. That's me terribly. People who are victimized by their news feed. This is a very rigid response to the emotion. And yeah, and as we talked about, like bottling emotions and pushing them aside and ignoring that those would all fall under the umbrella of being rigid as opposed to agile.
So the idea behind agility is that every day we have thoughts, emotions and stories, thousands of them and their normal. Their normal. Yeah. When we become rigid with them, we often start treating them as fact. So you'll say something like, I was undermined. And the fact that I was undermined means that my boss doesn't respect me. And so we start locking into rigid ways where we have these normal thoughts, emotions, stories, but we start treating them as fact, or we have a difficult experience of feeling, of being unhappy or feeling anxious.
And we start associating that with or fusing that with a sense of like that means I'm not good enough. That means I'm a bad person. And it actually stops us from living our lives. It stops us from. Reaching out, it stops us from loving because we so embroiled in ourselves and so often when people have these difficult thoughts, emotions and stories, there's different ways we can come to them. The first is where we bottle them. So bottling is this idea that we push them aside.
We say things like, I've just got to be happy. At least I've got a job. We engage in this idea that, like, somehow my suffering doesn't matter because then lots of other people that are suffering. And so we push these emotions aside and we often it with very good intentions. You know, we try to get on with life.
We're trying to get on with our projects and the things that we're trying to do while also there's a little bit of a noble pursuit of, like, trying not to be a narcissist egomaniac. And you're kind of telling yourself, I don't indulge yourself so much. There is some aspect of it where you're like, get over yourself. You're not that important. You're at the center of the universe. Yeah, I don't want to navel gaze like I don't want to do this.
So we push it aside. And you know, what's just beautifully fascinating in the research on this is that when people push their emotions aside in this way, often what they're starting to do is they're starting to, you know, again, it's an avoidance strategy. And so they'll get lost in drugs or they'll get lost in Netflix. It's not that those difficult emotions have now disappeared. It's rather we start engaging in substitute activities to create some kind of avoidance.
And so that's the butling. That's one kind of rigidity. Can I ask you a quick question? Because sometimes I do that and I guess the explanation I give is, well, emotions are temporary and I just let it pass like it pass. So I kind of naude it and then I now I'm in a different state of being.
So, so that's really important because of course emotions are transient, so you don't want to get too attached to any one feeling. What I'm talking about when I'm talking about bottling is when it becomes almost like the default way of dealing with your difficult emotions. It's like I'm unhappy in my career and I'm struggling, but at least I've got something and I keep pushing it aside. Right.
Or we know in our hearts that a relationship isn't working out and so we push it aside. There's nothing wrong with, you know, every once in a while just getting lost in Netflix. Yeah, yeah. But it's when it becomes a default strategy that it's rigid. So that's bottling. And then, Monica, you know, the brooding part is when we get stuck in the difficulty, but it's a feel bad, you know, why do I feel bad.
Did I say that wrong? Did I say that right? I often think about it. It's almost like if you imagine carrying a load of books, you know, bottling is where you carry those books so far away from you, you're pushing them away and then your arms and your heart and your feet get tired and you drop the books. And then brooding is when you are carrying those books, those emotion books so close to you, you holding onto them, you're immersed in them, and you're not able to see your child, to see the world to perspective take to see the other.
And both authors have a cost. And sometimes we go from one to the other. But both of those are rigid ways of being. And of course, this happiness, this idea that I've just got to be happy is one version of bottling.
Don't you think people so often are really just mining those emotions to confirm their narrative so they have a story they're telling themselves about their life. Let's say for me it's oh, yeah, that always happens. So I'm going to push it aside. And I actually take that as proof or so of Monica has a story about herself and she's maybe obsessing on a certain thing and then ignoring, as you say, like the light that's coming in or the love that's coming in because it doesn't fit into this emotional spiral that I'm in or she's in.
Is that work in concert with what you're saying? Yes.
Yes. If we think about like, how do we as human beings make sense of our world? We make sense of our world through basically saying, oh, you know, this noise that I'm hearing is the washing machine and this other noise is my son crying the one on me to pay attention to the other. I don't. So we are sensory beings. We constantly taking sensory information in and we trying to make sense of that sensory information. Yeah.
And so these thoughts, emotions, stories, they help us to develop a coherent picture. So it's not having them that makes us rigid. Having them makes us normal. It's when we look into them, we start treating them as fact, OK, and being undermined. So I'm going to shut down or that person doesn't care about me. So I'm now not going to reach out to them or there's no point in even trying or I feel down and I don't want to get out of bed.
So now I'm not going to get out of bed. They're driving our actions. I feel stressed. And so I bring my cell phone to the table and I'm now I'm not able to be present with my child because I'm so locked into my stress. So what's happening here is this you know, you've probably heard and even spoken about on the podcast and Monica, this beautiful, powerful idea that I think. Was so pointedly spoken to by Victor Frankl, this idea between stimulus and response, there is a space and in that space is a power to choose and it's in the choice that lies our growth and freedom.
Victor Frankl survived the Nazi death camps. He survived the Nazi death camps. And he describes how, you know, we've got ways that we can come to our being frigidity is when there's no space between stimulus and response.
Right. Judges are always reacting.
We're not bringing other parts of ourselves forward. And the parts of ourselves that we are bringing forward is we're not bringing the beauty in the capriciousness in us, the wisdom, our values, our intentions, who we want to be in our relationship.
So, you know, Monica, if you like feeling stuck in a difficult experience, what that's doing, even though you might be doing that with good intention, which is you want to try and understand what it's often doing is it's not allowing you to be present with people who love you.
But I guess for me, the question is so like let's say I'm ruminating or I'm in stuck in an emotion. To me, the antidote is to do the other bad thing, which is, OK, so this is something negative, but at least there's this and like finding some hope in that. But I don't think that's really good either, because that's also not giving credit to the thing that's causing the negative emotion.
So this is such a powerful insight because I think the first component of being more emotionally agile is facing into that emotion with compassion.
You know, that what you're struggling with, what you're finding difficult is difficult. You know, it might be difficult to read through your business in a pandemic or to renegotiate your relationship in a pandemic like that's difficult. And so being able to bring compassion of your humanity to the emotions that you're experiencing is now doing something very different than getting stuck and feeling victimized by the emotion. Rather, what you doing in that context is you loving yourself. You're saying like this is tough love.
I've got my own back. I'm going to look after myself. Yeah. So that's one way that we can start moving on.
And also, I think this would be a great time to just talk about accuracy, how vital accuracy is in exploring your emotions and then getting to someplace that's productive. Absolutely.
So this idea is one of the ideas that I found in my research, but that other people have found as well, which is that very often when we're struggling, we use very big labels to describe what we're feeling. I'm stressed is one of the most common ones we hear or I'm busy or, you know, it's this emotion that is a very big umbrella description of the reality of what's going on. But, you know, if you think about it, there's often much more that's beneath that stress.
It might be disappointed. I feel ashamed or embarrassed or I'm feeling overwhelmed. I'm feeling depleted. So when you label everything as stress, that doesn't actually allow you to galvanize or find anything within that stress. It just feels this amorphous experience. Yeah. So what's really fascinating, and it's this linguistic separation that happens, which is very powerful that you'll experience in therapy or that one experiences in journaling, which is when you go beyond just saying, I'm stressed and you say to yourself, what are one or two other things that I'm experiencing here, doc?
What is this thing that I'm calling stress? What is it really? When you label that more accurately, something really powerful happens, that amorphous experience now becomes something that has defined parameters. As soon as you say, oh, it's depleted, you're not able to understand the cause of that emotion and also what it is you need to do in relation to it, a need to engage in self care. If you feeling disappointed, it might be that you need to have a courageous conversation.
And it's so powerful. It's so small and yet extraordinarily powerful when we label our emotions more accurately. This is called emotion granularity.
What I love is that you say, you know, your emotions are the data and then you can explore causality or how it's not in concert with your values. Right. Like, it's a great piece of data to then do some further exploring. Yeah.
When we rigid when we stuck in our emotions or when we hustling with emotions, when we saying things like I shouldn't feel this, I'm not allowed to feel this, etc.. Basically what you're doing is you're at war with yourself. So what happens when we have these ideas of emotions as being good or bad is will often have an emotion where we say, you know, I'm unhappy, but now I'm unhappy that I'm unhappy because I should be happy in what we're doing is we struggling with our.
Difficult emotion, the opposite, which is when we face into what we are experiencing with compassion, with saying, you know, I didn't have an instruction manual about how to navigate my relationship in a pandemic at home with my spouse 24/7. I didn't get an instruction manual with this. And yet I'm in this place and it's tough. And we can face into that with compassion. Know what we're doing is we ending the war inside of us by quite literally dropping the rock.
We now on trying to say whether we should or shouldn't feel something. Instead, we're saying this is what I do feel. I'm seeing myself again. This seeing comes through. And what is it that then happens? You are able to say when you have an imaginary piece of paper and on that one side of the piece of paper, you must have the word lonely that you feeling you can be lonely in a crowd. You can be lonely in a house full of people and children.
You can be lonely when you, with your spouse 24/7 and so lonely might be on the one side of that piece of paper, on the other side of the piece of paper. What society would have you do is to find the silver lining or to persuade yourself. Now, why are you so lucky that you shouldn't be lonely? But what I would invite people to do is something very different, which is turn that piece of paper over and ask, what is the value that this emotion is signposting?
What is the need that this emotion is telling me that I have as a human being right now? Loneliness might be signposting, that you value intimacy and connection, and that even though you also busy in your household, you need more of it. Grief might be signposting, that there is love inside of you that is looking for a home boredom.
We can be boredom when we busy, you know, day in and day out, we know what the day is going to bring. We can be busy, but bored water might be signposting that you value learning and growth and that you need more of it. And so you are now not stuck in some narrative of who you should be or what you should be or how you should be acting, but rather you are showing up to your emotional truth and learning from that.
Yeah, you're getting into action, as we would say in AA, like you now you're into action and through action. We get results, you know, not always the ones we desire, but, you know, one must take steps and get busy because it won't just miraculously vanish. Yes. Yes.
And it's a very particular kind of action that I'm hearing you talk about, Decs, which is purposeful, intentional action, as opposed to auto pilot action.
Stay tuned for more armchair expert, if you dare.
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You point out that, like here would be a normal scenario for people, I think is there watching the news and then all of a sudden, you know, there's probably some update on the news about how the American car manufacturers are doing internationally. They don't care. Then there is a thing about a sewer plant that no one cares and then something ignites you. And now you're very emotional. And what you point out is that that's kind of an opportunity for you to discover one of your values.
Yet while our emotions are transient, we tend not to get upset again and again and again about stuff that doesn't matter to us. And so this is where our emotions are foundational to us as human beings. And so one of the most powerful ways we can come to the world is by knowing our own. Why, you know, what is it that matters to us as people? And so how do we begin to understand that? One of the ways we begin is when we feel a tough emotion, instead of racing for the emotional exits, is to say what value is that emotion signaling that value might be?
I feel rage when I watch the news and that rage is signaling that I value equity and fairness. And the power is then the power of not acting into your emotion, because then your emotions owning you.
The power is acting into your value, which is saying, what do I need to do? That brings me closer to this thing that matters. Is it a difficult conversation? Is it volunteering? Like what is that action for me?
OK, now this is potentially antagonistic. So I read all that and I like it. I do. And I believe it's true, but it feels a little scapegoated to me like. So if you're watching the news and you get pissed off about this thing and then you go, I have a really strong sense of justice that's almost complimentary where I find personally, most often I become emotional when one of my fears is triggered. So if I'm fighting with my wife because I think she's picking her job over me or our kids over me or whatever it is, that's really five year old dads that grew up with a single mother who worked a ton, who really wanted to be chosen first and prioritize first.
And when that childhood thing gets triggered, I am now acting very emotionally. Everything is heightened immediately. But if it's another thing that she does, that's objectively annoying, but it doesn't bother me at all because who gives a shit? I don't really have a fear of the kitchen. Cabinet door's always being open. It's just inconvenient. It doesn't make me irrationally angry at her. I just find that for me, anytime I'm emotional, I look at it as an opportunity to figure out, like, OK, what fears are you still carrying around that you're not working through or that you're not taking steps to address?
Is it financial insecurity? OK, well, if this is triggering me, then am I planning responsibly? Do I need to give some money away to demonstrate to myself? No, take contrary action. So I'm curious how you think that all folds in.
Yeah, I mean, I think it folds in exactly coherently with the messaging, which is that the difficult emotions we have, whether that emotion is a fear based emotional, an anger based emotion or some other based emotion, those emotions, signposts, stuff that's important to us. Yeah, it's signposts, our needs or our values or our wants as a human. And when we push them aside in the service of some kind of denial of force positivity, or I am right and you're wrong and I'm just going to take it out on you, what we are actually doing is we are losing our capacity as human beings because, you know, internal pain always comes out.
Yeah. And if we are more able to do away with these narratives of I've just got to be positive and everyone else is just going to be positive and if they're negative, then they're toxic. And then, you know, actually I feel like so often what we're doing is we are just socially gaslighting ourselves. And instead, if we can just move into this recognition that, like we are having this feeling that these feelings are normal, you know, this Charles Darwin, Charles Darwin described how our emotions are functional, our emotions are adaptive, our emotions have evolved to signal to others what our needs are, but also to signal to our selves what our needs.
What was interesting as I was going to ask you how one would go about defining their values, it seems like a very simple proposition. But in fact, I bet most people couldn't list the most important ten values that they carry around. But weirdly enough, it's almost like the null hypothesis your emotions can reverse, inform you of what your values are.
They're a couple of ways you can connect with your values. The first is by connecting with these difficult emotions. And I think the example that you gave earlier, which is, you know, there's a five. Your old decs and you saying, see me, see me and love me and, you know, am I nuts? And the other ways we can do that as well, you know, it's interesting. Often people talk about values, but values often feel very abstract.
And the way that I think of values in my work is that the qualities of action, qualities of action, that qualities of action like literally every day, if I value my health, I have a choice point every day. Do I go towards the muffin or do I go towards the fruit? The one will bring me towards my value. The one will take me away from my value if I value my relationship and I'm fighting with my spouse with a choice point that I have is the one value takes me away from the value of that relationship, which is I'm now going to stonewall and I'm getting stuck in being right.
And the other says, gee, I'm upset and I love this person. You know, we have the capacity to have this beautiful boldness, this capacity to both be angry and love someone and value them at the same time. And I'm going to move in the direction of those values. So the other ways that we can think about values like, for instance, what did I do today that was worthwhile? What did I do today that was worthwhile, not what did I do today that felt good, that felt fun.
What did I do today that was worthwhile? Often it's the difficult stuff that was worthwhile.
Yeah, that's the truth. One thing you said that I love and I think we all do this, which is saying, like, I am sad, I am angry, I am pissed, you know, I am. And that's not the right approach. We do this all the time. I am sad. I am not good enough. I am unworthy. I'm ashamed when we use this language. What we are doing is we are defining ourselves by the emotion.
All of me, 100 per cent of me is that emotion. I am said there is no space for anything else. So you literally have become fused with that emotion and becomes your identity.
Right. And we fight like hell to protect whatever identity we've decided that day.
We have all of me, 100 per cent of me is said, and it's almost like the emotion is a cloud, you know, and you are the cloud. It's like I am that cloud of sadness. But one way that we can start creating distance between us, no emotion, because a very important part of my work is the recognition that our emotions are these beautiful data, but they're not directive's.
Again, you know, I can show up to my son's frustration with his baby sister. I can love him. I can swanbourne him. I can see him. I can be compassionate towards him. It doesn't mean that I'm endorsing his idea that he gets to give away to the first stranger that he sees in a shopping mall. OK, we own our emotions. They don't own us. So when we start doing things like labeling our emotions more accurately, like I described earlier, what we're doing is we're creating that space between us and our emotions in the Victor Frankl context.
When we say I am said there's no space between me and my emotion. I am all of what I'm describing. But if we instead just notice our thoughts and emotions and our stories for what they are, then we create that distance in the way we do. This is we instead of I am said, I'm noticing that I'm feeling sad. Yeah, that's powerful. Yeah. Yeah.
It's so subtle, but just powerful because you want the cloud, you are the sky. You want your emotion, you have an emotion.
It's very Buddhist. Right. As I understand it, Buddhist, which is like life isn't suffering. Suffering is actually wanting to be in another state then you're in. So it's really like sadness isn't nearly as uncomfortable as we think. It's actually the action of trying to not be sad. That's so uncomfortable. Yeah.
I mean, the more we try to control what is uncontrollable, the more we increase our suffering. Yeah, denial is unsustainable and trying to control stuff that's uncontrollable is a form of denial. We will all die like we will all die. There is injustice in the world. There is pain in the world. And trying to pretend otherwise basically makes us more fragile. Whereas if we instead face into this is what's the reality that life is fragile, that these difficult emotions are part of what I should be experiencing as a human being.
Now we become more able because we now are not trying to deal with some fictional version. We now dealing with the world as it is. You know, one of the things you mentioned early on in this conversation is, is my TED talk. And I referred a little bit in their talk to an experience that I had when I was around five years old. And that was I became very scared of death and. This is actually very normal around the age of five or six years old, children become aware of their own mortality.
They realize that, well, I've had this experience twice with my two kids. You know exactly what you're talking about.
Yeah, it's like they have this growing horror, this growing realization that you will not be around forever. Yeah.
For them, it started with me, like they seem to recognize my mortality obviously quicker. And there was like, mom and dad are going to die and then all of a sudden, like, the light bulb went on and I am, too.
And so I had this. And it's part of what is very normal in children's experience. But I remember at the age of five, finding my way into my parents bedroom, like not just one night, but night after night after night.
And I would lie between the two of them because I had this fear that if I went to sleep in my own room that I was going to wake up and one of them would be dead. So I would lie between the two of them. And I would say to my father, promise me you'll never die, you know, promise me you'll never die. And my father could have buffered me with force or false positivity. What I've now come to call the tyranny of positivity, which is this forced.
I don't worry. You've got nothing to worry about. Everything's fine. You know, I'm going to be around. But he didn't. He didn't. He showed up to me. He said to me, Susie, we all die. We all die. And it's normal to be scared. And that's what I realized, is that the way he comforted me was not through denial. It was rather in coming to the difficult experience that I was having showing up to it.
And that actually gave me a sense of courage. You know, we all die. I was able to be with that difficult emotion, and it helped me to become more resilient to this feeling that I don't need to pretend myself I'm not being lied to here, but actually I'm able to recognize this reality and that takes courage. It was such a powerful experience. And ten years later, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died. And I just had in the aftermath of that, this very difficult experience.
But then also this recognition that somehow those conversations that I'd had with him in those early days had gone and a sense of resilience because they were you were more prepared for that.
I was prepared.
I was prepared, you know, pretending pain doesn't exist, whatever form that takes, whether it's socially, whether it's in the conversations about racial justice, pretending that that pain doesn't exist is just a pretext. And it makes us more fragile. It doesn't make us more resilient. Yeah.
My experience was at the risk of sounding like I'm getting on my atheist high horse. I will say we had the talk with my oldest. Am I going to die? Yes, you're going to die. She starts bawling and it's two minutes of solid crying. And during the two minutes I'm thinking, well, I have an out for this. I know exactly how I can get out of this, which is.
But don't worry, we're both going to heaven and we'll be together. And I'm not religious. I'm an atheist. But boy, did I feel so compelled to say that because I could have solved the fear for her and I ultimately didn't do it. And then it just passed much quicker than I was fearing while it was going on. I was like, yeah, there was three minutes of crying. And then she got interested in some other thing and it passed.
But it was just my impatience in that moment that I wanted to solve that for her.
So I think, you know, the temptation to raise for the emotional excellence, especially with our children, is so strong. I have it all the time. It was. But, you know, what are we teaching our children when we raise for the emotional? I guess that's what we're teaching them, is that sadness is bad, that fear is to be feared. We teaching them that there are good and bad emotions. You know, when a child comes and says, Daddy, I didn't get invited to this birthday party and your heart breaks because you never wanted your child to be the child who was rejected.
Yeah. And that temptation to jump in and say, don't worry, I'll phone Jack's parents and I'll make sure you get an invitation. You know, what are we doing? We are signaling to our children that sadness is not to be tolerated, that we'll jump in and make things right here is that a service is our children are growing up in a fragile world where their hearts will be broken and broken again. And the greatest gift we can give our children is to, yes, teach them mathematics and science, but actually to help them with the emotions.
Ills that can help them to navigate uncertainty. And so what does that look like? Practically what it looks like is when your child is upset, even with good intentions, don't race for the emotional. It's the first thing we want to do is. I can see you are in pain. What that is helping them to do is it's helping them to get comfortable with discomfort. And it's when they're comfortable with that discomfort that they start doing exactly what your children did, which is, oh, the sand as past their start, recognizing the transience of emotion.
You know, like I relearned it myself, which is like, OK, I can handle it and it'll work out. And I want to learn that, you know, and they'll be more of those. And yes, she will not get asked to the prom by the person. And we'll sit there together and we'll mourn. And I won't hire her a gigolo that's handsomer than the other guy. So, yeah, I taught myself like, oh, you can get through this.
You can sit in this and it'll be fine, you know, and then it'll pass and you know, you know that it wasn't that is a gift. To know that emotions pass is a gift. The other thing you can help them do is you can help them to label their sadness, like we spoke about earlier, the accuracy of, you know. Yes. You upset that they didn't invite you to his birthday party and you feel angry about it.
But actually, what is the emotion? It's disappointment. It's rejection and helping children to accurately label their emotions. It is not an understatement to say that when we look at data on emotional well-being in a long attitudinal way, what we know is that children who are more able to be granular with their emotions, that it is profoundly impactful in terms of positive mental health, wellbeing and so on. And why is this? Because if you imagine a child who is, you know, with someone else who says, I've got this great idea, let's let the air out of the principal's, Katia's OK.
You want your child to be able to say, OK, what I'm feeling in this one emotion is excitement. But actually what's going on for me is just quiet. Actually, what's going on for me is this feels not who I want to be as a person. And so helping children to label their emotions accurately is associated with greater levels of wellbeing, delayed gratification, the capacity to motivate more effectively. So we set up honoring our child. We helping them to label and then we doing one other thing that is critical, which is exactly what we've spoken about already in this call, which is our emotions signpost our values.
The child who says I feel rejected. What is the value that the child has? The value is I value friendship. I then community, friendship, community. And so you can start saying to the child, what is being a good friend look like? How can you bring yourself as a friend to the situation? And, you know, just like the gymnast is able to be responsive, effectively and agile to the environment that is changing around them.
So we are able to be effective when we have a strong inner core, a sense of our character and values. And it's the greatest gift that we can give our children.
Well, first of all, I wanted to own I'm so impatient with other people's emotional states. I want to talk them out of it or I want to, quote, work them through it. I want to get them to the part where they recognize what fear they have and address that. Like, I'm so impatient and it's becoming more and more clear. And now I'm starting. I think today when I was watching your thing, I started asking myself, like, why am I so impatient?
Why am I so uncomfortable with other people? I loves discomfort. And, you know, I think some part of it is like I tried to be perfect for my mom so she'd be happy and it didn't pan out. And now I'm trying to be perfect for them. And everyone around me should be happy at all times because I'm trying to make them happy. And when they're not, it's a failing of my own and and I'm inadequate or they would be happy around me.
There's a lot going on. It's a terrible habit I have. It's a character defect. Monica, do you want to agree to just the worst about that?
No, I think you do like it when everyone's happy. And if they're not, it does feel like a personal assault on you.
A little bit egocentric, but don't memorialization.
I just what if you wanted to take a minute to just say, yeah, I hate it? No, it's very uncomfortable. I'll take it. I'm going to say, OK, OK.
Now with covid, just some things that I thought of that I've noticed. First of all, if I were not in AA and I didn't talk to thirty or forty men a week and hear what they're experiencing in the pandemic, I think I'd be proceeding through life thinking everyone's fine. I think I have this very unique opportunity that I'm weekly with men going like, oh my God, I'm going crazy because of this or. I'm going crazy because of that and I start going, oh, we're all really, really affected by it and I think I might miss that if I weren't in that kind of group.
So everyone's suffering. Yeah. And could anyone be getting through all this without having some effect?
Well, certainly what we know is that, as I mentioned earlier, even pre pandemic, the World Health Organization was saying that depression was the leading cause of disability globally. And I am absolutely certain that what's very likely to happen is that there is going to be another pandemic and that is a pandemic of desperation in terms of people's sense of capacity and well-being. And I think that this plays out in different ways. Firstly, people who are already experiencing difficulty.
What this does is it often shines a spotlight on it. The other thing that I think it is doing is it's starting to get many of us to look at maybe some of the ways we were on autopilot previously and think about whether we were doing stuff that was consistent with who we wanted to be and how we wanted to look like.
There's definitely a moment of life saying to all of us right now, you know, are you agile?
Well, I think we spend a lot of our lives building this routine, which becomes a coping distraction for me. At least I'll speak. I have all these wonderful distractions that prevent me from having to sit in any of my feelings. And then when those are all taken away from me, you know, I've got to really confront them. And then the other thing I really noticed, and it seemed universal in my group, which is I think a lot of us had these pockets of personal time and personal space, whether that was your commute to work or your flight somewhere, all these different areas of your life where you could be by yourself and recharge.
Now, again, for people who are lonely, obviously it's another thing. But I think for a lot of us who are living in multimember houses, there's just no space for the individual anymore to sit and recharge and nurture themselves.
And this is where this understanding your emotions and intentionality become so powerful. When we move beyond saying, I'm stressed and we're saying actually I'm defeated and the reason I'm depleted is because I do not have any headspace, then what do I need to do in action? Again, values of qualities of action. And I care for this relationship. Then what it behooves us to do is to actually communicate our needs to the people that we love. And that communication might be I mean, I know of people who have literally in one bedroom apartments, put up little tents inside the apartment where the person says, you know, this is my 15 minutes, where basically what you're doing is you starting to just not expect the other person to know your needs, but to actually communicate your needs and to communicate parameters because, you know, you can't let something earlier, which is that there's often in relationships a different level also of even neediness.
One person is suffering right now and they want to talk and the other person just feels overwhelmed and they want silence. And so there can be a lot of hurt feelings that come out in that context, because there's there's this new dynamic that we needing to negotiate and to navigate. And so the power of saying this is what's going on for me and I don't want my relationship to be the victim of it. This is what's going on for me. I need more space.
How can I get more space and communicating that need and actually coming to something that feels like it's going parameters around it is such an important and powerful way of being in a relationship in this context. Yeah, and in any context. OK, now and then the last question I want to ask you is, as you pointed out, it is a disability that affects more people than any other disease on planet Earth. And then so naturally, that really begs the question why?
And I have multiple theories and I assume it's multilayered explanation. But the one in particular I'm curious to ask you about is, you know, we know how we were designed to live. We know generally how many hours a day hunting and gathering societies worked versus how often they sat. And we are in an increasingly stimulating world. We travel very fast everywhere we go. We now have these devices that stimulate us all day long. I wrestle sometimes with the notion that we give our children, sometimes kids, melatonin.
And then I'll be sitting there going like, I feel bad about this. And then another part of my brain is going, Well, no, no, no, no. They're living in a world that is so antithetical to how they were evolved. It's in their 14 hour day, the amount of stimulus and speed to think that they could live in that world and then go to sleep as if we were in the canopy as primates is also naive.
So it's like I'm wrestling with this guilt, but also trying to acknowledge the reality of the world. We live in and how it has a cost, and I just do wonder, do you think we're going to have to increasingly aid ourself to counterbalance this very heightened high tech world that is only gathering momentum?
Yeah, I mean, I think that technology has outpaced our evolutionary capacity. And I think that we are going to need to learn more of these capacities about how to shape our environment.
So in the same way where we say we know that if there's fruit on the table in the kitchen, we are more likely to reach for the fruit. And if there's chocolate, we are more likely to reach for the chocolate. We are shaping our environment. So that invites a particular way of being with that environment. And I think as human beings, we are more and more going to be looking for ways to shape our environment effectively so that we can thrive in the context of this uncertainty.
And those are behavioral options that I am a big proponent of. But is it naive? I guess I'm wondering, is it going to require some other technology to be that biochemically? I mean, do you think that'll be enough? I mean, I think a lot of people think that they will be ultimately, you know, other ways that are going to help us to just bypass our difficulty in the sphere and just be some kind of hybrid form of what we are now.
I don't think that that is around the corner. I think that what is around the corner is the reality of what we are facing into our need to be compassionate with that reality, that that is tough. Our need to be curious about what's going on, our need to be courageous and to be intentional, to be intentional. I remember reading a couple of years ago this fascinating study that showed that at the time of the study that the average American spent nine years of their lives watching television.
Oh, I'm at 18 for sure. Monica and I are the high team. Yeah.
And so when we do that by default versus when we say what a choice is that we are making and what are ways that I can block out how I want to come to technology and how I want to interface with technology and be intentional about it, I think that's really powerful. Yeah. You know, the other things that you draw on in your work as well. I mean, when my father died, I remember feeling so much that I just had to be OK.
OK, OK, just get on with it. You know, you kind of get swept away by this being OK, being the master of being OK. But journaling, like journaling is like an example where brothers and sisters in this regard.
I saw that. Yeah. In the way your father's death, you found that being honest with yourself in this book was a way to take some, quote, control of the situation. And I have found that religious journal or as part of my sobriety and I don't know the appeal to you is, but for me, it's like I need one thing I can be dead honest with at all times. I have to be able to dump everything without shame or fear of judgment or anything.
Without that, I don't know, you know, how I would feel.
I mean, what I experienced in that context for me was my father dying on a Friday, me going back to school on Monday, trying to be OK, trying to be a kid, trying to be OK. But what an English teacher. After my dad died, this English teacher handed out these notebooks and she said, you know, write, tell the truth. Right. Like no one is reading. And it was this invitation to show up to myself.
And I think that there is this invitation right now for all of us to show up to ourselves and to say, who do we want to be, you know, even in the midst of complexity. Yeah. Who do we want to be and what is worthwhile and what are my values? And these are powerful ways of bringing ourselves hopefully and wholeheartedly to what is ultimately a fragile and beautiful world.
Yeah, it's a really great opportunity for all of us to look at the big picture and go, OK, what things do we want to pick back up and which ones do we like putting down? And, you know, it is a kind of second shot at what course our lives are on.
Yeah, it's simultaneously a gut punch. Yeah. Like any gut punch is. And it is an invitation to step into a future that that is intentional.
Yeah. Well, that's a lovely note to end. Yeah.
Susan, I like you immensely and not just because of your charming accent, although it helps. It does help. I would urge everyone to get your book Emotional Agility. I would also urge everyone to watch your wonderful TED talk, the gift and power of emotional courage.
Susan, David, please come see us again. And we really enjoyed talking to you.
Thank you. I love to thank you so much. OK, take care.
Goodbye. Stay tuned for more armchair if you dare.
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It's not morning. I know it's late afternoon. Early evening neither. Yeah. Late afternoon corrida for what we call that light now at the time change.
Everything seems so dang late. I know it's a mix of I like it and I hate it. I hate it. You hate it.
Of course. Because it's dark so early. Yeah, that part sucks. But I do like the moment where you're like, oh it's already seven. Then you look at your watch, you're like it's four thirty. I've got tons a day left. That part I like. OK, if you have that moment where you think the party's over but you're like, oh no, the party's just starting.
No I feel the opposite. I feel like, oh my God, it's only four thirty. I'm so tired.
Well, we did go to bed in a crazy early hour in the sand dunes. Yes, that's bull. And I went for one night to the sand dunes, the Laura Matt and brought Linky and we were all in the rack at eight thirty pm.
Yeah, it felt really late. A bunch of nerds.
I know people go out to the dunes to rage and we were all in our sack and our slumber sex at eight thirty. Yeah. But then you got a burst of energy and I just wanted to do things. Remember you really led the charge to go to sleep.
Well Aaron was there to and he was also in bed before there.
He was just hanging and watching telly on his phone in bed and as the. Yeah. Was top off. And then I was little like gas. Yeah. Yeah.
And then I was sleepy. So I said, I'm going to go to bed early. We were at the fire and you said, I'm going to go to bed early.
Yeah. And then we were like, huh. That doesn't sound terrible. Yeah. Let's do it. And then so we all followed you. Yeah. And then as soon as you got in your bunk bed, you were in the mood to party.
You wanted to play cards. I didn't want to watch a movie. You watch the crowd. Yeah. I'm so into the crowd.
You are. Oh my God.
Not as much as Queen's Gambit, not as much as well in a different way because the Crown is four seasons. So I have like so much left to watch. It's so exciting. I think I already talked about this on the last episode, but I, I skipped to season four because I wanted to watch the Princess Diana part and it sounds like you'd recommend that that's what I should do, huh.
I loved it. I mean, this kind of ties. This is like kind of a ding, ding, ding, because the mental health of these royals can not be good because they have to sacrifice.
So much of their true beliefs and wants for the crowd to service this fairy tale, it's OK.
So I didn't know this. But Charles, spoiler alert, what is real life? Yeah. Charles, so sorry. History lesson. Thank you. Charles and Diana like. I never really in love. Oh, yeah, that doesn't surprise anyone, does it, because he he was in love with this other lady, Camilla.
He was previously in love with Camilla, who was and not available. Right. Well, yeah, this is a fascinating story. They were dating, OK, but then he was sent off to the Army or the Air Force or something. He was sent off. And then while he was gone, she got married. Oh, yes.
And does she regret that? Well, what I found out this is a spoiler. OK, Charles is like uncle. No.
Oh, I'm sorry. OK, I went to the worst now because I have two kids. Well, yeah, but it wasn't in vitro. Oh, OK. So the two guys that are popular right now are the offspring of those two of Diana and Charles. Yeah.
Really? Yeah. Oh, you know nothing about the royals. No, no, I, well I make it a point not to. I now know everything about you. You're like an expert in a rabbit hole we should have you on as an expert in monarchies. I would love it.
So Charles had a bad relationship with his dad, but he had a really good relationship with his dad, Uncle Lord Mountbatten, Mountbatten Lord, My Lord, and Mountbatten, I think.
And he is kind of Charles father figure. And he actually is the one that arranged for Charles to leave and arrange for Camilla to get married because he didn't think she was good enough for him.
Yep. Oh, my God. Who is Charles? Is Dad. Prince King Henry. Prince Philip Prince. He's still alive. Prince Philip. Yeah. Wait, Charles.
His dad is still alive. I think the queen is still alive. She's like ninety. There's no king right now. There's only a queen. When's the last time there was a king?
There will be once the queen dies, Charles will become king. Oh, my God.
Isn't he a doofus? Is that. Oh, he's not. No. Oh, I'm sorry. I apologize that to him and anyone that likes him. I kind of thought he was seen as a doofus. Now, maybe you're thinking of the molester guy, a pedophile. Yeah, that's. I'm not thinking of him. I know who he is. I see him. Epstein's pal, he's. Yeah, he's Charles. His brother. Oh, he is.
Yeah. And did he get along good with the dad. Who knows.
You're not there yet. Okay. All right. All right. Charles has one sister, Ann and two brothers. One of them is the Epstein guy. OK, so embarrassing.
Yeah. Anyway, so Charles was in love with Camilla. Then he comes back, she's married. They're still in love, of course.
So absence makes the heart grow fonder. Exactly. And the heart was already formed. Yes. So fond squared then they are having an affair.
Oh OK. I hope they don't get sued. I actually hope I do get sued. Oh really. Yeah. By the Queen. Oh she wouldn't muddy herself up. I like suing a civilian but pleased to meet her. You would now. I do want to meet her. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. OK, so we're so different in this way. Do you know what you can go like? Oh my God, this is a fairy tale.
Yeah, it's a joke. No one's born special. Yeah. No one's born royal. What a ridiculous fairy tale everyone bought into. I do. And we're still perpetuating it. I do think it is going to anger you. It doesn't anger me because it's not like it's taking anything out of my pocket, like I don't care if they have this kind of delusional life. Oh, I just find it fascinating.
I think when anyone anyone who agrees to view them as royal and special is cosigning on their fairy tale, I'm going to kiss her hand. Oh, my God. You're going to you have to. I want to. DAX, you're never going to get invited to see the queen.
Clearly, I've made my you know, I've made my you're just like the queen's husband.
He did not want to bow to her right at her coronation.
And she was like, yes, you are going to bow to me. Oh, husband, people shouldn't bow to people.
Let me just say that no one no one on planet Earth that's ever live deserves to be bowed to. I am so opposed to that. I can't believe, you know, she's given powers by God.
Oh, my God. That well, that's OK. But listen. So then he goes. So then he's in love. They have this. OK, can I pause you. Yeah. And this will really anger a lot of people, including you. I have more respect for Pablo Escobar. No, that man gave himself power. He didn't just receive it for being born.
Here is this isn't about power. They do good things. They do do a lot of charities and a lot of stuff. Pablo Escobar just killed a bunch of people.
We'll know he built a ton of houses and a bunch of. Yeah, he killed a bunch of people. So you don't think the royals have killed the most amount of people, anybody, all these dingbat ego driven battles for three, four or five hundred years all throughout Europe? OK, they are responsible for more deaths than anybody. You've got to I honestly, we can't say that.
We don't know that. No one hundred percent know this. All the wars were waged over the egos of these royal family is well, that those old times.
OK, but that's what that's the history of it. Some people do think the queen had Diana killed.
Oh my gosh. Let's be real careful about that. I know it's a theory.
It's probably not true. I don't think. I'm just saying kings beheaded people. They finish my story. Yeah.
So Charles and Camilla then had we're having an affair. And did he ever get her pregnant? Not that I know of. And then he had to marry Diana. He had to like, pull it together for the crown and the family. And he married Diana, who was a little bit fancy, but not that fancy, but a little bit fancy. She was a lady.
OK, then they had this loveless marriage and he was in love with Camilla the whole time, or was she in love with.
She was married to this man still. No, no. I know they were married. Who was she in love with? Did she not have any love in her life? Who? Diana.
Yeah. Oh, Diana. Diana did have some affairs. Right. Who did she. So she had an affair with their streamers.
I don't know about that, Daymo. Oh my God. I hope there's rumors about like bodyguards and this and that.
And then this one guy was like a military guy. That's the I forget his name, but that's like the main person they know of that she had an affair with.
And then there's another rumor because he looks a lot like Harry.
Oh, that that's Harry's dad. But again, that's an exciting rumor. It's a rumor.
It's it's only a rumor. And I'm learning of it for the first time right now. So I'm not betting on it.
I just it's exciting. Exciting. So does he have red hair? Is that. Yeah. Yeah. But I think a lot of the royals had reddish hair.
Yeah. English people have red hair. They sure do.
So then Diana dies tragically as we know. OK, and then now Charles and Camilla are married. How did that happen? They got divorced. Diana and Charles got divorced before she died. Yes. And then a couple a year later, I think she died maybe by the end to the best care for the queen. OK, and then we'll know it was by the hand of a drunk driver is what it was. Well, but she could have.
Could have what? I don't know. The guy driver. Yeah, well, it was we have a show about debunking conspiracies. I just want to point out the driver of that car was hammered. He was.
But you know, the reason there was a ton of paparazzi, they were outrunning paparazzi and crash in a tunnel.
Yeah, yeah. She was always, like, mobbed. Totally mobbed. Yes.
Yeah. But I don't think the queen can orchestrate a mob of paparazzi and she could do it in a drunk driver.
She's the God gave gave her God gave her power so she can OK, so then she dies.
It's horrible. Camilla gets divorced. She has a divorce of her own. Yep. OK, and then years later, Camilla and Charles get married and they're still together.
And it's really interesting moves to. Well, that's the part that's where I actually find fascinating because Diana, Princess Diana, Lady Diana is so beloved, you know.
Yeah, she was the people's princess. Yeah. Princess to the people. And everyone loved her.
And she had great fashion. And she was this icon. So it was like she you know, she was always looked at as that. And it was just like a love story that people watched.
But the real love story was Charles and Camilla, kind of the real fairy tale, even though. No, what people might not like that. I said that.
I also want to backtrack and be clear. I imagine there's a bunch of really nice people within the royal family. I'm not saying that they're all idiots. What I'm saying is the premise is fucking idiotic. Right. But what can they do now? Now they're just. Well, I like the two that said, fuck this, Harry. Yeah. Harry and Meghan Markle. Yeah. If that's what if that was them then yeah. That was them.
Then go. This is, this is guys. Everyone needs to stop this charade, OK? We're not entitled to anything. We are not ordained by God. We're just people. We poop, we go poo poo every day. They don't. Oh my gosh. I don't think they're reptiles.
Oh the reptile people is are anything in the ground about them being reptiles? Not yet. But I'm on season one, which is season four. No, I finish season four now. Oh. So I finish season four. I blew through that and then I decided I'm going to watch the whole thing.
You're so ambitious with your watching. I really applaud it. Yeah. You got through Queen's Gambit in a couple hours. If I like it, I'm in.
Yeah, that's what Aaron does do. I said on a Monday like you should check out Queen's Gambit on Wednesday. When he arrived, he had seen the whole thing and he loved it.
So good. Yeah. Both Ding, ding, ding. Queen Crown. Oh yeah. Queen Crowns Gambit. Yeah. Crown's gambit. I love it now.
I love the Royals. Oh my God.
I've lost you, William and Harry, but you're a romantic and you like fairy tales, so this kind of makes sense.
Do you remember at her funeral. No. Oh, I do. At her funeral.
It was really sad, the boys. Oh.
So I don't like that. I don't like the kids have to go in public to mourn their parents. And then there was this Jack Junior beautiful flower arrangement and a little and said, Mummy, I know I don't like that.
You know what I don't like? William's daughter's name is Charlotte.
Who's William? The the son.
The little son who will also be king. He'll be king after Charles is king. Oh, OK. That's exciting for him. Very. That's probably why Harry kind of defected, because he's like, I'm not going to be king, so who cares, right? Yeah. But if he was going to be king, give me my money. So, like, I'm not going to go to the Olympics, but is that that noble?
Well, we don't really know if that's why he might have just said this whole thing is preposterous.
He probably did a lot of the crown is them trying to preserve the sanctity of it, like not let people think it's silly?
Of course, that's the same thing the Catholic Church does, like all these institutions that are thousands of years old that are just objectively so arcane. Yeah, look, even if you believe God, that's great if you believe in God. And but the notion that there's a guy down in Rome who who should pick kings is just a little it's out there for me. It really is. And that they have all this power and all this money and all this protection and they can keep, you know, this horrendous scandal that just keeps endlessly unfolding, the pedophile scandal within the Catholic Church.
It just won't go away every time you think the lids blown off. I mean, there's just two weeks ago I heard another thing about it. Oh, humans.
Wow. We love status. We do we do love status. But it's it's just fascinating, the inner workings. I think the mental health element of it is really and they don't want to be like in the last episode, Elizabeth asked for an apology from her uncle, who was the king. He abdicated the throne because they didn't let him marry the woman he loved because she was divorced.
Oh, I mean, again, what are we really talking about? But this was a long time ago. Then he dictated the throne. So then her dad then had to become the king. That's the King's Speech, you know he is. Oh, yeah. He's a good movie. You liked him? Yeah. He's only because he had a stutter. He's beloved. Yeah. And then when he died, Elizabeth became queen. OK, I forgot what it was.
Said that. Damn it. Oh. Then in the show she. Oh, you talk about mental health. Yeah. And the shows she says to the uncle, you owe me an apology. You don't think I wanted to live a normal life like they're stuck. Right.
I would imagine the rat fuck of it all too, is that you're in this position that. Everybody envies and it's not fun. Exactly. So you're not even allowed to acknowledge it sucks up or you're seen as being ungrateful and it's like. The other lives are on a gold toilet is only so fun being in a house with 80 hallways is only so fun.
It's probably fun for two weeks. Yeah, and then that's it.
That's that's not what is fun in life. What's fun in life is fucking divorced women and then marrying them and hanging out with divorce people and hanging out with drug addicts and artists. That's what's fun.
OK, so all this decorum, I don't know about that.
My mother was divorced, so watch your tongue. It's not funny. My mom wasn't good enough for the royal family. Oh, God.
See how personal it goes. Oh, I'm glad you like this show so much.
It's fun to see you so excited.
Thank you. I wrote it down. I want to talk about the crown and mental health.
Do you think the actual weight of the crown might have something to do to. It's heavy. I just watched that episode. Oh, wait. There's an episode about what she the coronation is too heavy. Is it solid gold. They have to like practice walking because it's like really heavy. Oh my God. They're like Daniel Ricardo would be the perfect.
Oh she is the greatest next. Yeah. Yeah. Oh my God. He wouldn't even know that Crown would bring him in to do some neck training for the royal or at least his trainer.
I think I think Daniel knows enough at this point, he knows stuff. I wonder if Daniel loves the royal family. I guess they're there in the Commonwealth of Australia, so they probably are more into it.
Even when I was a kid, I'd be up in Canada, you know, it's part of the Commonwealth in the road signs, we're all in crowns, right? So there's a crown around the speed limit. And I'm like, what is that going on here?
Yeah, I think you would find it more fascinating if you didn't have a personal vendetta about your mom.
So in a class warfare struggle, that's about your mom.
Sure. Or me. Yeah. All connected. Yeah. Let me ask you this. Do you love the idea of, like, trust fund people who get a billion dollars? I don't have the thing you have. Oh, it doesn't bother, you know, because that some people on planet Earth have to earn their stuff and some people don't.
You should. I don't know if I should I I don't take it personally that that is happening, I think it's frustrating that some yeah. That there's this huge discrepancy where some people are just given a whole life. Yeah. And other people are given nothing and are struggling. And I want to find a more middle ground about all of it. Yeah, but when I hear that trust fund kid that doesn't do anything for me and my insides, like I don't care, I know that I worked hard and again I've met nice trust fund people.
I just don't think it is right conceptually that some people don't have to do anything and some people have to do everything and still live in poverty. I know someone out there is definitely thinking, well, you're going to give your kids money and you're right, I'm going to. So I'm a total hypocrite. All I'll say that because I can see where they justify it. So I go, well, I made this money so I could do whatever the fuck I want with this money.
And if that's give it to my kids, that's my right to give it to my kids. Yeah, that's what those people say. I know.
So I'm a McNall. I'm just owning my own hypocrisy. I know that.
So if you know it's hypocritical, then why don't you reverse and say. And not be upset by that. So this is a common argument that's made on the right. So if someone says they're in favor of higher taxes, a real common thing on the right is to tax that, rather tweet that person. Why don't you just give more money to the government yourself if you really believe that you'd give all your money, they think they've got them in check me.
But I'll tell you why. That's a really useless argument. The person who wants higher taxes wants the country to change. And they know that if they individually give all their money to the government, that is not going to carry out their goal. So it's a stupid, stupid retort that doesn't hold any weight. Similarly, me deciding to not give my children money is not going to fix the problem I am offended by. But if we all agreed, if there was a law and we all agreed this is bonkers, that some people never, ever have to work a day in their life and other people cannot make ends meet, then I'm signing up because I want the change.
But but. But there's no reason I need to be a sacrificial lamb that will yield no results.
That's not what I was saying. I was saying, why don't you then just give the trust fund parents the benefit of the doubt, the trust fund kids. Like why? Why do you still have anger towards that if you know you're going to do the same thing?
Well, there's a lot of things going on here. One conversation is, do I not understand the people who give their kids all that money? No, I do understand those people. OK, that's one argument or one debate to be had. Another debate is, is it right that in this country, X amount of percentage of the people don't ever have to do anything that on its face is wrong? So it's I don't find there to be a paradox there that I understand the parents and that also that I think.
There shouldn't be this enormous difference. Yeah, I don't think there should be an enormous difference at all, but it doesn't bother me that there are people who don't do anything. It bothers me that there are people who do everything and can't get anywhere. Yes, well, that's a good point. I like that point. Yeah. I'm not mad about lottery winners.
I don't care if someone's dad gave them a billion dollars, like, great. Then yeah, I don't either. And you're right. And I, I found it because in L.A. you meet a lot of people that are in that situation. I find that it's been just, generally speaking, harder for them to be happy than the people I know who made their own shit. So I don't really think it's the gift that it seems like it's going to be.
Yeah. Yeah, I just want the ability for people to have a way out when they're doing working for jobs and still in a hard situation. Yeah, um. OK, I have some facts. Let's see. You brought up punctuated evolution theory. I'm going to read a little bit about that. OK, in evolutionary biology, punctuated equilibrium, also called punkish. Oh, wait. Oops, that's probably not what you were what you were talking about.
As I remember it, there had been this kind of working theory in the early stages of evolution that it was kind of slow, predictable and methodical. There was incremental change happening pretty predictably over a thousand year period. Right. And what they started observing in the archaeological record is there's almost no change for a long, long time. And then there's rapid change because of some environmental thing that happened or, you know, any number of reasons asteroid hits the planet.
And so this huge shift in the environment causes really rapid and accelerated evolution.
Yeah, OK, then this is that. But this is called punctuated equilibrium in evolutionary biology is a theory that proposes that once a species appears in the fossil record, the population will become stable, showing little evolutionary change for most of its geological history. This state of little or no morphological changes called Stacie's. When significant evolutionary change occurs, that theory proposes that it is generally restricted to rare and geologically rapid events of branching speciation called Claddagh Genesis. Claddagh Genesis is a process by which a species splits into two distinct species rather than one species gradually transforming into another.
OK, so kind of similar to what.
Hmm. I think the example in the biology book was so these moths, they were black and they probably would have stayed black forever. There would be no reason for some mutation to take off. Mm hmm. But then there was a big volcano eruption and so everything was covered in like ash. So they were very visible to predators and some tiny percentage of them were mutated to be white. And then they blended in and then they overnight basically all. Oh, wow.
Interesting. Yeah, OK. She said that Charles Darwin said emotions are functional. So the study of the evolution of emotions dates back to the 19th century. Evolution and natural selection has been applied to the study of human communication, mainly by Charles Darwin in his 1872 work. The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, Darwin research the expression of emotions in an effort to support his theory of evolution. He proposed that much like other traits found in animals, emotions also evolved and were adapted over time.
His work looked at not only facial expressions in animals and specifically humans, but attempted to point out parallels between behaviours in humans and other animals. According to evolutionary theory, different emotions evolved at different times. Primal emotions such as fear, are associated with ancient parts of the brain and presumably evolved among our three mammal ancestors. Filial of them saying that right, filial emotions such as a human mother's love for her offspring seems to have evolved among early mammals. Social emotions such as guilt and pride evolved among social primates, sometimes a more recently evolved part of the brain moderate's an older part of the brain, such as when the cortex moderates the amygdala, fear response.
Evolutionary psychologists consider human emotions to be the best adapted to the life our ancestors led in nomadic foraging bands.
You know, we were in Glamis in the sand dunes there, and I was sitting at the fire and it just crossed my mind that for a lot of the time that hominids were here. But not Homo sapiens, but early hominids like australopithecines, they didn't have fire yet. So we're sitting there around the fire. And I said to him, how excruciating was the experience on planet Earth with this much computing power? Mind you, they didn't have as much as us, but still very, very smart, smarter than any other animal.
Yeah. And nothing to occupy that brain with. Not even fire. I know. Was it maddening? Were you just sitting in the grass going, what the fuck are we doing? Well, I guess all about but you have nothing to compare it to. So I don't think it's either one or the other either. They were so serene and peaceful and we're super fucked up because we're not supposed to live like this or it was maddeningly boring and useless because I think with our intelligence, you start asking what the reason for doing anything is.
Yeah, yeah. And if you couldn't even make anything or build anything or cook anything, you don't know that.
You can't, you know, like you don't know that it's a thing where you could scratch a picture on a rock. Right.
But you don't know like oh my God, there's like spaghetti. And I don't I don't have the ability to make it or eat it or like it's none of that exists yet for sure. But there's also like there's not even salt yet, right? There's not there's yeah, and you can't cook me. So if you're eating meat, it's raw, which is disgusting. Yeah. And if you're just eating it for the protein and then you're eating, you know, some leaves you gathered up, but no dressing or anything.
There's no way the meal was delicious. So there is nothing was pleasurable at all. They must have just fucked and had kids.
Yeah. But I mean I think again, it's relative pleasure is relative. So maybe one piece of the meat tasted better than another piece of them. That's like a good that's an exciting.
Oh yeah. That's a good. I like that. Don't you feel like you'd go mad.
Well I, I myself now would of course. Yeah.
Not me as an old lady. We're just looking around. We got no clothes, no pockets. Can't own anything. You can't put it anywhere. You've got to carry whatever you own that. Oh boy. I got real scared. It's one thing about it. You guys just sitting in the sack going back. Don't worry, just picture like the sun goes down, you're sitting in the sand and that's that. Yeah.
Yeah. Oh man. Can't be up at night. Uh, there's no light. OK, well it's kind of ding ding, ding. You said Buddhists say life isn't suffering. Suffering is wanting to be in another state then you're in. So I did look just a quick pull up of Buddhists and suffering.
I think this was on PBS or National Geographic. I forget more simply put, suffering exists. It has a cause, it has an end, and it has a cause to bring about its end. In Buddhism, desire and ignorance lie at the root of suffering by desire. Buddhists refer to craving pleasure, material goods and immortality crave all of which are wants that can never be satisfied.
Yeah. Yep. And Duvall's book, he he used the word craving a lot I could so relate to that. Yeah, craving different mental states. Well, you're you're even doing it in regards to the old people. Oh, I am.
I would have been so there have been so much suffering. They wouldn't have they won't have cravings, though, because they don't know what they would crave to be warm.
Maybe like if they don't know what warmth is, would you crave it? I don't think they would know it from when the weather was nice.
Oh, this is the weather. Nice ever. Yes, absolutely. Think about the perfect spring day in Georgia. They had those days, but then the rains came and it got cold as hell and they didn't have cortex.
Let's cortex, you know, water resistant clothing. Oh, it's called cortex. That's a brand of of a water resistant material vortex.
OK, she said that around the age of five or six children become aware of their mortality. Children begin to grasp at death's finality around age four. In one typical study, researchers found that 10 percent of three year olds understand irreversibility, compared with 50 percent of four year olds. The other two aspects of death are learned a bit later. Usually between age five and seven.
Mm. Yeah, I feel like that moment I describe with Lincoln when she was three or four. Yeah.
Hmm. Uh huh.
Um, maybe that's what they did. Entertainment. Well they probably sang. Oh yeah. I mean music. Yeah.
Wow that's sweet. Ooga bunga bunga. Bunga bunga bunga. Do you think that's what their song was. Because then all the came movies they got Ooga Booga.
I think that's a stereotype we put on them.
You're probably right, they didn't legacy box any of that footage and it's all along. That's why you got elected to do it. You got it.
So she talks a lot about honesty with your kids, which I think was good. And I just wanted to commend you because you're very honest with your kids. Oh, that's so funny, you bring that up, because this weekend I know I wrote it down. So, yes, speaking of, Lincoln is with us in the sand dunes and it's like a bunch of adults and her and we somehow get on the subject of Michael Jackson and we keep talking about him like saying all this stuff.
And she keeps interjecting, saying what, what, what, what do you do? We molested children. What does that mean again? Well, he played with their private parts and he showed them his private parts and so on and so forth.
It was inappropriate. It was. And it was very inappropriate.
And she was just like, OK. And then then she said, Can I see a picture of him? Yes. What did he look like? Right. And then it became all about that. He used to be black and then he was white. And he used to he used to be super cute, which he was. And then he had that triangle nose and was white and his chin was humongous. She was like, I mean, I think that was the first time she's ever seen a person that's transformed.
Sure. In a in pictures like that.
And then you were talking about Neverland and you were telling a story from the Divine that have been there.
Yes. And how Michael Jackson was laughing at the kid, like giggling like, why is he like this? Like, oh, she had heard so many stories up until that point. Her brain was like racking, trying to figure out this person.
How could this person be like this? Yes. And she wasn't saying it in a judgment. She was asking like, why is he like this? Yes, she needed an explanation. Yes.
I laughed so hard and I kept thinking about it because it was pretty poignant, like, yeah.
And then my explanation was, I mean, it's so incomplete. I'm like, well, he was very famous as a as a young boy. He had an abusive father is the real trauma and not ever having a childhood. And God knows what sexual abuse he experienced. Blah, blah, blah. Why is he like this? He's a tricky topic nowadays. Of course, if you're going to have Michael Jackson on your kid, you better buckle up for like a real long, awkward conversation.
Yeah, a lot of questions that you'll have to think of the perfect wording.
Yeah, but you were honest about it, which I thought was good. And I thought I think most people would have just been like nothing, you know, just brushed it off.
Certain tempted to I was certainly tempted to change the subject. You couldn't. Well, I thought. Oh, thank you. I would love to hear. I wish I could overhear her now. Maybe explain to one of her peers.
I would love to hear what we heard, what she retained, how she makes sense of it, and how she would relay it to appear.
Yes, I'm really curious. Yeah, I just realized something. What? It's Thanksgiving.
Oh, my gosh. Happy Thanksgiving. We're going to be together then too.
Yeah. Today. Today we're together. Yes. Yes. Do you want to say three things you're thankful for? Oh yeah.
I would. I would like to do more than three but yeah. OK, we have to kind of dwindle it down to three.
How come. Oh just for the length of the podcast.
Oh or you can. This is the first time we've been concerned about this. OK, ok. Well I want to see the health of my family.
No one. Yeah. That I'm sober today. Yeah. That I have an impossibly great friendship circle that gives my life so much meaning and joy. Those are nice, what are yours? My goodness, obviously, I had my own health, too. OK. Yeah, I'm thankful for.
Having employment in this tough year, we to. I'm thankful for I don't want to repeat yours, even though yours, some of yours are also some of the friendship circle and the family health of my family.
Oh, and that you're sober. Thank you.
I'm thankful that that's not nice. I shouldn't say that. Oh, I want to hear it. So thankful that I don't live in Alaska because of seasonal affective disorder. But I'm not going to say that.
OK, you can say you're thankful you live in a sunny climate. I know.
But more specifically, you're thankful you don't live in Alaska. Yeah, well, I'll just be honest.
I'm thankful that people really showed up in November.
At election time and that hopefully progress is on the horizon and I'm thankful that even though I'm going to be away from my family for the holidays this year, which is going to be hard, that I have a surrogate family.
Yeah. And even I want to extend an offer to you. OK, feel free to storm up the stairs and get into the guest bedroom and then put your ear to the door and see if you can hear us talking about you.
Oh, really? Yeah. Just like I do it home. Yeah. OK, I want you to have the full experience. OK, I'm also I'm really thankful that there's a vaccine that's ninety four.
Ninety five percent effective. I can't wait to get that thing and fuckin go places everywhere and eat out every fucking day.
I want to go to the movies, I want to fly all over the place. I want to touch everyone and kiss every one of the man handloom get sued. Oh yeah. By the Queen.
Do you think there's been a reduction in Antinous. Yes. Wow.
I do have one unintended benefit, I guess. Exactly. Unless you desire ham handedness and you didn't get it.
Well, that is what is happening to lots of loneliness.
Mhm. Yeah. Mm. Happy Thanksgiving. OK, bye bye, love everyone, happy Thanksgiving.
So thankful for everyone that listens to the oh my God, I can't believe that we didn't start with that. Well, the employment, we both think we're thankful for our employment and that's them. That's everyone that listens. Yeah, right.
But we should say it more specifically.
You guys have given me my favorite job I've ever had in my life. Yeah, me too. Yeah.
Thank you. Thank you.