Published June 2018 on YouTube

60: Todd Kashdan | The Bright Truth about Your Dark Side

1. Introduction

Todd discusses how negative emotions can be beneficial and why Americans are addicted to avoiding discomfort. Jordan adds that functional anger and discontent can be more useful than constant positivity. The episode offers insights on how to be comfortable with negative emotions while also controlling them for success and fulfillment.+

2. Embracing Negative Emotions

The Power of Emotions:Todd explains the concept of wholeness, which means accessing all psychological resources for different situations, including uncomfortable emotions like anger and embarrassment. He also emphasizes the importance of distress tolerance, which is the ability to deal with distress, instead of just focusing on positive emotions.+
Embracing Negative Emotions:Todd explains the importance of distress tolerance and psychological flexibility in achieving higher performance, creativity, happiness, and meaningful relationships. He emphasizes the need to recognize emotional experiences as signals for particular behaviors and move towards goals aligned with one's values and interests. Jordan breaks down the idea of embracing negative emotions and using them as useful tools instead of covering them up with happiness.+

3. Harnessing Anxiety

Harnessing Anxiety:Todd discusses how anxiety can be a useful tool when harnessed properly. He shares his personal experience of buying concert tickets and how his anxiety motivated him to find the best strategy to buy them. By having the belief that anxiety is useful, it can be a neglected resource that can be added to our psychological arsenal.+
Building Emotional Capacity:Todd explains that just like physical exercise, we can train ourselves to be uncomfortable and improve our relationship with negative emotions. By exposing ourselves to difficult situations and gradually building our capacity for discomfort, we can become more functional in challenging scenarios and handle negative emotions better.Show transcript +
Performance vs Outcome:Todd emphasizes the importance of focusing on performance rather than outcome, especially when dealing with anxiety or fear. He suggests exposing oneself to uncomfortable situations and carefully evaluating one's improvement. Unrealistic expectations often lead to surprises in how strong one can be in withstanding physical and emotional discomfort.+

4. Managing Uncomfortable Emotions

Overcoming Uncomfortable Situations:Todd explains how we can overcome uncomfortable situations by assessing how we think we'll behave, observing our actual behavior, and then checking our predictions later. He emphasizes the importance of practicing skills to handle ambiguous situations and developing self-awareness.+
Managing Emotions:Todd Kashdan explains how changing beliefs about emotions can help manage them. He emphasizes the importance of believing that emotions are useful and manageable, and that they can be controlled to match the situation at hand. Jordan Harbinger and Todd also discuss the consequences of believing that certain emotions have no function.+
Anger as a tool:Todd explains how anger can be a useful tool in certain situations, such as motivating a team's performance or generating creative ideas. However, it should be used with great discernment and not by people who are chronically angry.+

5. Sponsors

Jordan and Jason talk about MeUndies, a sustainable underwear brand that offers risk-free underwear with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Listeners can get 15% off their first pair and free shipping by visiting

6. Emotional Agility Strategies

Handling Negative Emotions:Todd explains the discomfort caveat, a communication technique where you explicitly tell others that you're experiencing negative emotions before expressing them. This helps bring down their defenses and allows for better communication. Jordan and Todd discuss how this technique can be used to handle anxiety, guilt, anger, or sadness when interacting with others.+
Emotional Agility Strategies:Todd Kashdan discusses the importance of acknowledging and sitting with negative emotions in order to gain emotional agility and achieve optimal outcomes in situations. He also touches upon the use of persuasion and neglected psychological tools to achieve these outcomes.+

7. Balancing Criticism and Praise

Balancing Criticism and Praise:Todd explains how successful comedians and entrepreneurs balance criticism and praise. They need to be discerning in selecting allies who will give them candid feedback regularly. They should be able to waiver between praise and extreme harsh criticism to achieve success.+
Embracing Discomfort:Todd explains how our culture is addicted to comfort and how this has made us weaker. He argues that negative emotions are necessary for success and that avoiding discomfort only leads to mental weakness. He also discusses how envy can be a valuable emotion that helps us recognize strengths in others that we may not possess ourselves.+

8. Envy's Value

Todd Kashdan shares how envy can be a strength recognition device, allowing individuals to recognize strengths they don't believe they possess and add them to their own toolkit. He also discusses how it doesn't matter whether the envy is highlighting one's own insecurity or someone else's strength, as there is always an opportunity to expand and level up in skills and resources.+

9. Sponsors

Jordan and Jason talk about the all-new Double Dare game show sponsored by Nickelodeon. Hosted by Liza Koshy and Double Dare legend Marc Summers, the show promises to be the messiest game show on TV.+

10. Networking Hacks

Jordan shares his mini course on networking and relationship development, where he provides hacks, drills, and exercises to build and maintain relationships with influencers and guests. He emphasizes the importance of having these skills and wishes he had known them earlier in his career.+

11. Sponsors

Todd shares how curiosity can be a powerful tool to improve our mindset and relationships. He emphasizes the importance of asking questions and being open to new experiences in order to cultivate a curious mindset.+

12. Guilt vs Shame

Guilt vs Shame:Todd explains the difference between guilt and shame, and how shame can be detrimental to our well-being. Guilt is focused on a behavior, while shame is focused on the belief that there is something wrong with us as a person. Understanding this distinction can help us manage our emotions and avoid negative consequences.+
The Power of Guilt:Todd explains how guilt is a useful emotion that helps repair and restore relationships. It shapes behavior that's good for us and society, and people who show the greatest level of guilt drink the least amount of alcohol or use the least amount of drugs. On the other hand, shame makes us dislike ourselves and can increase the behavior we're trying to stamp out, leading to isolation and other negative effects.+
The Power of Shame:Todd explains how guilt can prevent recidivism, while shame can lead to more criminal behavior. He also discusses the importance of focusing on behavior rather than labeling individuals as "bad people" and using shaming as a punishment tactic.+

13. Pursuing Happiness Problem

The Problem with Pursuing Happiness:Todd explains why pursuing happiness all the time can be problematic. People tend to mistake feeling good for performing well and being creative, leading to suboptimal solutions.+
The Power of Mild Discontent:Todd explains why mild discontent is more effective than happiness when it comes to success. Being mildly discontent motivates us to search for better solutions and collect more information, while happiness can make us complacent and less persuasive. Todd argues that mild discontent leads to better decision-making and group dynamics, and is essential for success in business.+

14. Unhappiness and Narcissism

Unhappiness and Unique Information:Todd explains how a little unhappiness in a group can lead to more consideration of alternative outcomes and a focus on unique information rather than shared information. Happy groups tend to focus on what makes them good as a group, while unhappy groups are more likely to consider individual perspectives.+
Narcissism and Success:Todd Kashdan explains the two types of narcissism and how the admiration element can lead to success. He uses examples of successful individuals such as Kobe Bryant and Teddy Roosevelt to illustrate how their belief in their own greatness and hard work contributed to their achievements.+
Creative Narcissism:Todd explains how having a few narcissists in a group can increase creativity by challenging the status quo and breaking down rigid rules. He suggests focusing on behaviors such as self-promotion and persuading others through confidence and belief in alternative views.+

15. Defensive Pessimism

Todd Kashdan recommends being a defensive pessimist by mentally simulating all the things that can go wrong as a premortem ahead of time. This negative visualization prepares you for all possible bad outcomes and allows you to have more appreciation and joy for safety, security, and goodness when bad things don't happen.+

16. Outro

Todd explains how our dark side can be beneficial in certain situations and how we can use it to our advantage. Jordan encourages listeners to apply what they learn from the show to improve their lives.+