Society’s “tyranny of positivity” demands that cancer patients stay upbeat, that women never show anger and that boys never cry. This is a dangerous denial of the value and complexity of human emotion, says Harvard psychologist Susan David. Her TED Talk on emotional agility provides a roadmap to a more resilient, fulfilled future. getAbstract recommends this summary to HR professionals, individuals and business leaders.


When psychologist Susan David was 15, she dealt with her father’s death by becoming “the master of being OK.” However, a perceptive teacher handed her a blank notebook and urged her to write honestly about her feelings. The gift taught David to correspond with her emotions. People’s inner landscapes define how they “love, live, parent” and “lead.” Yet, a survey of more than 70,000 people found that one-third judged themselves for feeling so-called bad emotions, like anger or grief, or tried to deny those feelings. Despite life’s complexity, society classifies some emotions as legitimate and others as shameful. ...

About the Speaker

Susan David is a Harvard Medical School psychologist who studies emotional agility. 

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