Susan David

Harvard Psychologist Shows You How to Make Your Negative Thoughts Serve You

We live in a culture that tells us that some emotions are bad. Unfortunately, these same “bad” emotions are unavoidable for anyone aiming to live a meaningful life. As a result, many of us spend much of our lives in conflict with our own emotions, stuck in self-narratives that no longer serve us. Thankfully, on this episode of Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu, Harvard Psychologist Susan David shows us a way out of this self-destructive internal conflict. She explains how to use your “negative” emotions to connect with your core values (which you can learn more about by taking this quiz here: ). She also discusses the dangers of focusing on being right, the power of self-compassion and importance of emotional agility.

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Emotions are data but they are not directives [1:33]

How we approach our thoughts, emotions and stories determines our quality of life [3:48]

What do you do when you realize the stories you tell yourself no longer serve you? [6:26]

Our culture tells us some emotions are bad, so we get in conflict with our emotions [11:50]

Only dead people never feel stress, anger, agitation or fear [14:15]

How do you uncover what your emotions are really trying to tell you? [17:35]

Technology has outstripped our ability to thrive [20:32]

Susan explains how to understand your emotions in a more specific way [22:53]

Our minds can convince us that we are right, even if it destroys our relationships [28:04]

Susan describes the process of recognizing our emotions and stories for what they are [31:39]

Even if the gods tell you that you’re right, you still have to decide who you want to be [33:46]

Being seen and belonging are core human needs [36:35]

Tom and Susan discuss the “tyranny of positivity” [38:30]

Success is living a life concordant with your values [41:43]

Susan shares the impact she wants to have on the world [47:08]


“Some of our stories were written on mental chalkboards at age 3.” [5:53]

“Our thoughts, our emotions and our stories aren’t good or bad. They just are.” [10:53]

“Discomfort is the price of ambition to a meaningful life.” [14:43]






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