full transcript

From the Ted Talk by TED Business: Should we cry at work?

Unscramble the Blue Letters

I cried in a group meeting with four of my colleagues a few months ago, most of them I've known worked with and taught with for the past seven years. I know these people really, really well, but it was the first time I actually cired in a meeting with them. And I'm not saying crying is the gold standard something we should or shouldn't do in organizations, but it was really inniestrteg to me that I'd finally let my guard down. So let me tell you the situation. I was shianrg some feedback on things we could do better in the classroom. And heolsnty, in sharing that feedback, I was very nuoervs because often in my research and in other research, it's very clear that feedcabk is often met with defensiveness and what happened when I gave the feedback defensiveness. So quite frankly, I was angry and I was frustrated. I literally could feel my jaws clenching up, my hadns growing sweaty in my heart, starting to palpitate, because I really wanted to say, hey, you're being defensive, stop being defensive, just lesitn to what I have to say. But I didn't say anything. And the conversation continued and it continued. And the teenensss in my body grew grew even tighter. And I tuohhgt to myself, wait a minute, I'm angry and frustrated. These emotions matter. I need to see something. I need to say something right now. And so I did. And as I was saying it, the tears started flowing. tplailcyy, I would beat myself up about not having emotional control or expressing my emotions inappropriately by crying, but this time I didn't do either of these things, you might ask, should I have what is the right way to engage with our emotions at work? Welcome to Ted Business. I'm Redub alnikoa, professor at cubomlia Business School. In today's talk, we'll hear from Susan David, who's a psychologist at Harvard Medical soohcl and author of the book Emotional Agility in 2017. She gave a talk at TED Women that seemed to touch a lot of people very deeply. And I think it's because she talks about something a lot of us need to hear that we should accept the full range of our emotions. This is hard enough to do in life and can be even more complicated in a workplace. So stick around after the talk and I'll dissect those tears I experienced and erxploe how we can pay attention to our emotions at work in a way that makes our work better. Hello, everyone, so Abana in South Africa, where I come from, so Bonner is the Zulu word for hello. There's a baeftiuul and powerful itontenin behind the word because subunit means I see you. And by seeing you, I bring you into being. So beautiful, imagine being greeted like that. But what does it take in the way we see ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions and our seotris that help us to thvrie in an iinlrceansgy cploemx and fraught world? This crucial question has been at the center of my life's work, because how we deal with our inner world drives everything, every aspect of how we love, how we live, how we parent, and how we lead. The conventional view of emotions as good or bad, positive or negative is riigd and rigidity in the face of complexity is toxic. We need greater lleves of emotional agility for true rcleiesine and thriving. My journey with his calling began not in the hwlleaod halls of a university, but in the messy, tender bsiseuns of life, I grew up in the white suburbs of apartheid South Africa, a country and community ctmomteid to not seeing, to denial, its denial that makes 50 years of racist legislation possible while people convince themselves that they are doing nothing wrong. And yet I first learned of the destructive power of denial at a personal level before I uetrodnsod what it was doing to the country of my btirh. My father died on a Friday. He was 42 years old and I was 15, my mother whispered to me to go and say goodbye to my father before I went to school. So I put my backpack down and walked the pagsase that ran through to where the heart of our home. My father lay dying of cancer. His eyes were closed, but he knew I was there in his presence. I had always felt safe in. I told him I loved him, said goodbye and headed off for my day. At school, I dtrfied from sinecce to miehacttams to history to bloogiy as my fehtar slipped from the world from May to July to September to November. I went about with my usual silme. I didn't drop a single grade. When asked how he's doing, I would shrug and say, OK, I was praised for being strong, I was the master of being OK. But back home, we struggled. My father hadn't been able to keep his small business going during his illness, and my mother alone was grneivig the love of her life, trying to raise three children. And the corditers were knocking, we felt as a family, financially and emotionally ravaged. And I began to spiral down, isolated fast. I stteard to use food to numb my pain, bingeing and purging, refusing to accept the full wehgit of my gerif. No one knew. And in a culture that values rsnetelels positivity, I thought that no one wanted to know. But one person did not buy into my story of triumph over grief, my eighth grade English teacher fixed me with burning blue eyes as she handed out blank notebooks. She said, Write what you're feeling. Tell the truth. Right, like nobody's reading. And just like that, I was invited to show up authentically to my grief and pain. It was a simple act, but nothing sroht of a revolution for me. It was the revolution that started in this blank notebook 30 years ago that shaped my life's work, the secret, silent cendeopncrrose with myself like a gymnast. I started to move beyond the rigidity of denial into what I have now come to call emotional agility. Life's beauty is inseparable from its fragility. We are young until we are not. We walk down the street sexy until one day we realize that we are unseen. We nag our children and one day realize that there is silence with a child once was now making his or her way in the world. We are hhtaley until a diagnosis brings us to our knees. The only ctetrniay is uarticntney, and yet we are not ningvataig this frailty successfully or saatisnulby. The World Health Organization tlles us that depression is now the siglne leading cause of disability globally and at a time of greater cipoxmelty, unprecedented technological, polaiictl and economic change, we are seeing how people's tendency is more and more to lock down into rigid responses to their emotions. On the one hand, we might osliseebvsy brood on our feelings. Getting stuck inside our hades, hooked on being right or victimized by our news feed. On the other, we might blotte our emotions, pushing them aside and permitting only those emotions deemed legitimate. In a survey I recently conducted with over 70000 people, I found that a third of us, a third, either judge ourselves for having so-called bad emotions like sadness, anger or even grief. Or aclteviy try to push aside these feelings. We do this not only to ourselves, but also to people we love, like our children, we may inadvertently shame them out of emotion, seen as negative, jumped jump to solution and fail to help them to see these emotions as inherently valuable. Normal natural emotions are now seen as good or bad. And being positive has become a new form of mraol correctness. People with cacenr are alcoutaiatmly told to just stay positive. Woman to stop being so arngy. And the list goes on. It's attorney. It's a tyranny of positivity. And it's cruel. And kind. And ineffective. And we do it ourselves. And we do it to others. If there's one common fauerte of brooding bottling of positivity, it's this. They are all rigid responses. And if there's a single lesson we can learn from the ilaetbvine fall of apartheid, it is that rigid denial doesn't work. It's unsustainable. For iilvidnadus, for families, for seeoicits, and as we watch the ice caps melt. It is unsustainable for our planet. Research on emotional suppression swhos that when emotions are psehud aside or ignored, they get stronger. Psychologists call this alicftoapiimn like that diucoelis chocolate cake in the refrigerator. The more you try to ignore it. The greater its hold on you, you might think you're in control of unwanted emotions when you iongre them, but in fact they control you. Internal pain always comes out always and who pays the price we do our children. Our colleagues. Our commeuintis. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not anti happiness. I like being happy. I'm a pretty happy person. But when we push aside normal emotions to embrace flase positivity, we lose our capacity to develop slliks to deal with the world as it is. Not as we wish it to be. I've had hundreds of people tell me what they don't want to feel. They say things like, I don't want to try because I don't want to feel disappointed. Or I just want this feeling to go away. I understand I said to them, but you have dead people's goals. Only dead people never get unwanted or inconvenienced by their flegines, only dead people never get setrsesd, never get broken hearts, never experience the disappointment that comes with firalue. Tough emotions are part of our contract with life. You don't get to have a meaningful career or raise a family or leave the world a better place without stsers and discomfort. Discomfort is the picre of amsiisodn to a meaningful life. So how do we begin to dmnltisae rigidtiy and erbmcae emotional agility? As that young schoolgirl when I leaned into those blank pages. I started to do away with feelings of what I should be experiencing and instead started to open my heart to what I did feel pain and grief. And loss and reregt. Research now shows that the radical acceptance of all of our emotions, even the messy, difficult ones, is the coserrontne to resilience, thriving and true atinehutc happiness. But . Emotional atiilgy is more than just an atccapcene of emotions, we also know that accuracy matters. In my own rsreceah, I found that wrods are essential. We often use quick and easy labels to describe our feelings. I'm stressed as the most common one, I hear. But there's a world of difference between stress and disappointment or stress, and that knowing dread of I'm in the wrong career, when we label our emotions accurately, we are more able to discern the precise cause of our feelings and what sttcesiins call the readiness. Potential in our barin is activated, allowing us to take cnrotece steps, but not just any steps, the right steps for us, because our emotions are data. Our emotions contain flashing lights to things that we care about. We tend not to feel strong emotion. To stuff that doesn't mean anything in our world. If you feel rage when you read the news that rage is a signpost, perhaps, that you value equity and fairness and an otpirpuonty to take active steps to shape your life in that direction. When we are open to the difficult eoiomnts, we are able to gnrteaee responses that are vaules aligned. But there's an important caveat, emotions are data, they are not directives, we can show up, turn our emotions for their values without needing to listen to them, just like I can show up to my son in his frustration with his baby sister. But not endorse his idea that he gets to give her away to the first stranger he sees in a spphinog mall. We own our emotions. They don't own us. When we ianlrtiznee the difference between how I feel and all my wisdom and what I do in a values aligned action. We generate the paatwhy to our best selves via our emotions. So what does this look like in practice? When you feel a strong, tough emotion, don't raise for the emotional exits. laren its contours, show up to the Journal of Your Heart's. What is the emootin telling you? And try not to say I am, as in I am angry or I am sad when you say I am, it makes you sound as if you are the emotion, whereas you are you and the emotion is datasource. Instead, try to ntocie the fneleig for what it is. I'm nniiotcg that I'm feeling sad or I'm noticing that I'm feeling angry. These are essential skills for us, our feaimils, our communities, they are also critical to the workplace. In my research, when I looked at what helps people to bring the best of themselves to work, I found a powerful, key contributor, individualized consideration when people are allowed to feel their emotional truth. Engagement, creativity and innovation flourish in the organization. Diversity isn't just pepole, it's also what's inside people, including diversity of emotion. The most agile, resilient individuals, teams, organizations, families, communities are built on an osenpnes to the normal haumn emotions. It's this that allows us to say, what is my emotion? Telling me which action will birng me towards my values, which will take me away from my values. Emotional agility is the ability to be with your emotions, with curiosity, compassion, and especially the courage to take values, ctenoecnd steps. When I was little, I would wake up at night terrified by the idea of death, my father would comfort me with soft pets and kisess, but he would never lie. We all die, Susie, he would say. It's normal to be saercd. He didn't try to invent a buffer between me and raitely. It took me a while to understand the power of how he guedid me through those nights. What he showed me is that courage is not an absence of fear. Courage is fear walking. Neither of us knew that in 10 short years he would be gone. And the time for each of us is all too precious and all too brief. But when our moment comes. To face our fragility in that ultimate time, it will ask us, are you agile? Are you agile? Let the moment be an usrenvered yes. A yes, born of a lifelong correspondence with your own haret. And in seeing yourself. Because in seeing yourself, you are also able to see others to. The only sustainable way forward. In a fragile, beautiful world. So, Warner and thank you, thank. Susan Davids talk is so comforting. I feel I can breathe again after listening to it. It helps validate the fact that we all hold in so much we brewed bottle up and carry around the heavy weight that comes with needing to be poisivte, even though there's so many situations around us that are sometimes sad or difficult, dire or even tragic. Many of Susan's examples focused on how this response can weigh us down in our personal lives. But I want to focus on what it can look like in our work lives where emotional agility can be even more complicated to start. I want to identify two systems of thinking outlined by behavioral eocsnimot Daniel kaheamnn. smlpiy enough, they're called System one and System two. System one is a mode of thinking that is qcuik, icitntsnive and emotional. It tells us that we want to eat the chocolate cake in the fridge, that we should sell stock when its value plummets, that we're angry when someone has given us negative feedback, in contrast setsym to a soewlr, more logical and more deliberative. It tells us we should wait until after dinner to eat the chocolate cake to be patient. The stock market can be volatile. That negative feedback is warranted. Since you did make a few mistakes. The advice in business cxtentos is often that we should learn to disregard and ignore the emontaoil, fast acting system. One Instead, we should be lciagol, steady. The ultimate professional is supposed to be stioc, but like Susan said, emotions are their own form of data. And when we ignore our emotions, we're missing important data points. So how then should we bring our emotions to work, the reality is we need both systems one and two and we need to engage them. When your emotions are going haywire, you can use your logical system to to choose to slow down, to pay attention and to uadtrnesnd what that emotion is trying to tell you, rather than following your instinct and pushing the difficult emotions away. Engage both systems so that you can make thoughtful decisions with your emotions in mind. Remember when I said I hadn't cried in a meeting with work colleagues I've taelkd with for over seven yaers? That's because most of my life I've suppressed my emotions at work and often not at work. I've felt like that cartoon character, the one with the steam coming out of their ears because they're so frustrated. Now, imagine that steam just building up inside of you. Why? Because I'm often the only woman in mostly male environments, the only black preson in all white environments. And when you're in these situations, it's so easy to stay qiuet because you don't want to say something that makes you even more of an outlier. Should I say this? Will they get it? Is this perspective unique to my gender, race or something else? You're so fcesuod on making sure you fit in that everyone around you is OK and hppay and cool. You're so tuned in to everyone else's emotions that eventually you end up losing touch with yourself and often with your own emotions completely. And that's what happened to me, which means I've missed a lot of signals in my life staying in a job logner than I should have doing work. I wasn't passionate about making life decisions based on other people's needs, not my own. Then an acupuncturist gave me the exact same advice as Susan gave us here. Identify my feelings with precision and practice, just sitting with them. So I've developed a process that's my own form of Susan's blank notebook, a process for stntiig with my emotions and being present with them on a dialy basis and just noticing them, using them as data, telling me whether I need to act in some way or another. And seven years later, the signal I got in that group mieentg is that I was sad, angry and upset. And being aware of this helped me decide that the right thing to do at that moment was to share these emotions with my ceeogualls. In the past, I would have kept the steam inside building up, fearing I might offend if I spoke up. But this time I spoke up through tears, which allowed us to push through a very difficult coneaviotrsn. It also showed us that when we're in touch with our emotions at work and when we're thoughtful about how we engage them, this provides data your team can use to collectively problem solve. Thanks for lsinntieg. This show is produced by Kim Netafim, prtaiezk Dandala is our mixer and special thanks to Colin hmels, Michelle qiunt, Angela chnag, Currahee, Jim and Anna Feeling. I'll talk to you again next week.

Open Cloze

I cried in a group meeting with four of my colleagues a few months ago, most of them I've known worked with and taught with for the past seven years. I know these people really, really well, but it was the first time I actually _____ in a meeting with them. And I'm not saying crying is the gold standard something we should or shouldn't do in organizations, but it was really ___________ to me that I'd finally let my guard down. So let me tell you the situation. I was _______ some feedback on things we could do better in the classroom. And ________, in sharing that feedback, I was very _______ because often in my research and in other research, it's very clear that ________ is often met with defensiveness and what happened when I gave the feedback defensiveness. So quite frankly, I was angry and I was frustrated. I literally could feel my jaws clenching up, my _____ growing sweaty in my heart, starting to palpitate, because I really wanted to say, hey, you're being defensive, stop being defensive, just ______ to what I have to say. But I didn't say anything. And the conversation continued and it continued. And the _________ in my body grew grew even tighter. And I _______ to myself, wait a minute, I'm angry and frustrated. These emotions matter. I need to see something. I need to say something right now. And so I did. And as I was saying it, the tears started flowing. _________, I would beat myself up about not having emotional control or expressing my emotions inappropriately by crying, but this time I didn't do either of these things, you might ask, should I have what is the right way to engage with our emotions at work? Welcome to Ted Business. I'm Redub _______, professor at ________ Business School. In today's talk, we'll hear from Susan David, who's a psychologist at Harvard Medical ______ and author of the book Emotional Agility in 2017. She gave a talk at TED Women that seemed to touch a lot of people very deeply. And I think it's because she talks about something a lot of us need to hear that we should accept the full range of our emotions. This is hard enough to do in life and can be even more complicated in a workplace. So stick around after the talk and I'll dissect those tears I experienced and _______ how we can pay attention to our emotions at work in a way that makes our work better. Hello, everyone, so Abana in South Africa, where I come from, so Bonner is the Zulu word for hello. There's a _________ and powerful _________ behind the word because subunit means I see you. And by seeing you, I bring you into being. So beautiful, imagine being greeted like that. But what does it take in the way we see ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions and our _______ that help us to ______ in an ____________ _______ and fraught world? This crucial question has been at the center of my life's work, because how we deal with our inner world drives everything, every aspect of how we love, how we live, how we parent, and how we lead. The conventional view of emotions as good or bad, positive or negative is _____ and rigidity in the face of complexity is toxic. We need greater ______ of emotional agility for true __________ and thriving. My journey with his calling began not in the ________ halls of a university, but in the messy, tender ________ of life, I grew up in the white suburbs of apartheid South Africa, a country and community _________ to not seeing, to denial, its denial that makes 50 years of racist legislation possible while people convince themselves that they are doing nothing wrong. And yet I first learned of the destructive power of denial at a personal level before I __________ what it was doing to the country of my _____. My father died on a Friday. He was 42 years old and I was 15, my mother whispered to me to go and say goodbye to my father before I went to school. So I put my backpack down and walked the _______ that ran through to where the heart of our home. My father lay dying of cancer. His eyes were closed, but he knew I was there in his presence. I had always felt safe in. I told him I loved him, said goodbye and headed off for my day. At school, I _______ from _______ to ___________ to history to _______ as my ______ slipped from the world from May to July to September to November. I went about with my usual _____. I didn't drop a single grade. When asked how he's doing, I would shrug and say, OK, I was praised for being strong, I was the master of being OK. But back home, we struggled. My father hadn't been able to keep his small business going during his illness, and my mother alone was ________ the love of her life, trying to raise three children. And the _________ were knocking, we felt as a family, financially and emotionally ravaged. And I began to spiral down, isolated fast. I _______ to use food to numb my pain, bingeing and purging, refusing to accept the full ______ of my _____. No one knew. And in a culture that values __________ positivity, I thought that no one wanted to know. But one person did not buy into my story of triumph over grief, my eighth grade English teacher fixed me with burning blue eyes as she handed out blank notebooks. She said, Write what you're feeling. Tell the truth. Right, like nobody's reading. And just like that, I was invited to show up authentically to my grief and pain. It was a simple act, but nothing _____ of a revolution for me. It was the revolution that started in this blank notebook 30 years ago that shaped my life's work, the secret, silent ______________ with myself like a gymnast. I started to move beyond the rigidity of denial into what I have now come to call emotional agility. Life's beauty is inseparable from its fragility. We are young until we are not. We walk down the street sexy until one day we realize that we are unseen. We nag our children and one day realize that there is silence with a child once was now making his or her way in the world. We are _______ until a diagnosis brings us to our knees. The only _________ is ___________, and yet we are not __________ this frailty successfully or ___________. The World Health Organization _____ us that depression is now the ______ leading cause of disability globally and at a time of greater __________, unprecedented technological, _________ and economic change, we are seeing how people's tendency is more and more to lock down into rigid responses to their emotions. On the one hand, we might ___________ brood on our feelings. Getting stuck inside our _____, hooked on being right or victimized by our news feed. On the other, we might ______ our emotions, pushing them aside and permitting only those emotions deemed legitimate. In a survey I recently conducted with over 70000 people, I found that a third of us, a third, either judge ourselves for having so-called bad emotions like sadness, anger or even grief. Or ________ try to push aside these feelings. We do this not only to ourselves, but also to people we love, like our children, we may inadvertently shame them out of emotion, seen as negative, jumped jump to solution and fail to help them to see these emotions as inherently valuable. Normal natural emotions are now seen as good or bad. And being positive has become a new form of _____ correctness. People with ______ are _____________ told to just stay positive. Woman to stop being so _____. And the list goes on. It's attorney. It's a tyranny of positivity. And it's cruel. And kind. And ineffective. And we do it ourselves. And we do it to others. If there's one common _______ of brooding bottling of positivity, it's this. They are all rigid responses. And if there's a single lesson we can learn from the __________ fall of apartheid, it is that rigid denial doesn't work. It's unsustainable. For ___________, for families, for _________, and as we watch the ice caps melt. It is unsustainable for our planet. Research on emotional suppression _____ that when emotions are ______ aside or ignored, they get stronger. Psychologists call this _____________ like that _________ chocolate cake in the refrigerator. The more you try to ignore it. The greater its hold on you, you might think you're in control of unwanted emotions when you ______ them, but in fact they control you. Internal pain always comes out always and who pays the price we do our children. Our colleagues. Our ___________. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not anti happiness. I like being happy. I'm a pretty happy person. But when we push aside normal emotions to embrace _____ positivity, we lose our capacity to develop ______ to deal with the world as it is. Not as we wish it to be. I've had hundreds of people tell me what they don't want to feel. They say things like, I don't want to try because I don't want to feel disappointed. Or I just want this feeling to go away. I understand I said to them, but you have dead people's goals. Only dead people never get unwanted or inconvenienced by their ________, only dead people never get ________, never get broken hearts, never experience the disappointment that comes with _______. Tough emotions are part of our contract with life. You don't get to have a meaningful career or raise a family or leave the world a better place without ______ and discomfort. Discomfort is the _____ of _________ to a meaningful life. So how do we begin to _________ ________ and _______ emotional agility? As that young schoolgirl when I leaned into those blank pages. I started to do away with feelings of what I should be experiencing and instead started to open my heart to what I did feel pain and grief. And loss and ______. Research now shows that the radical acceptance of all of our emotions, even the messy, difficult ones, is the ___________ to resilience, thriving and true _________ happiness. But . Emotional _______ is more than just an __________ of emotions, we also know that accuracy matters. In my own ________, I found that _____ are essential. We often use quick and easy labels to describe our feelings. I'm stressed as the most common one, I hear. But there's a world of difference between stress and disappointment or stress, and that knowing dread of I'm in the wrong career, when we label our emotions accurately, we are more able to discern the precise cause of our feelings and what __________ call the readiness. Potential in our _____ is activated, allowing us to take ________ steps, but not just any steps, the right steps for us, because our emotions are data. Our emotions contain flashing lights to things that we care about. We tend not to feel strong emotion. To stuff that doesn't mean anything in our world. If you feel rage when you read the news that rage is a signpost, perhaps, that you value equity and fairness and an ___________ to take active steps to shape your life in that direction. When we are open to the difficult ________, we are able to ________ responses that are ______ aligned. But there's an important caveat, emotions are data, they are not directives, we can show up, turn our emotions for their values without needing to listen to them, just like I can show up to my son in his frustration with his baby sister. But not endorse his idea that he gets to give her away to the first stranger he sees in a ________ mall. We own our emotions. They don't own us. When we ___________ the difference between how I feel and all my wisdom and what I do in a values aligned action. We generate the _______ to our best selves via our emotions. So what does this look like in practice? When you feel a strong, tough emotion, don't raise for the emotional exits. _____ its contours, show up to the Journal of Your Heart's. What is the _______ telling you? And try not to say I am, as in I am angry or I am sad when you say I am, it makes you sound as if you are the emotion, whereas you are you and the emotion is datasource. Instead, try to ______ the _______ for what it is. I'm ________ that I'm feeling sad or I'm noticing that I'm feeling angry. These are essential skills for us, our ________, our communities, they are also critical to the workplace. In my research, when I looked at what helps people to bring the best of themselves to work, I found a powerful, key contributor, individualized consideration when people are allowed to feel their emotional truth. Engagement, creativity and innovation flourish in the organization. Diversity isn't just ______, it's also what's inside people, including diversity of emotion. The most agile, resilient individuals, teams, organizations, families, communities are built on an ________ to the normal _____ emotions. It's this that allows us to say, what is my emotion? Telling me which action will _____ me towards my values, which will take me away from my values. Emotional agility is the ability to be with your emotions, with curiosity, compassion, and especially the courage to take values, _________ steps. When I was little, I would wake up at night terrified by the idea of death, my father would comfort me with soft pets and ______, but he would never lie. We all die, Susie, he would say. It's normal to be ______. He didn't try to invent a buffer between me and _______. It took me a while to understand the power of how he ______ me through those nights. What he showed me is that courage is not an absence of fear. Courage is fear walking. Neither of us knew that in 10 short years he would be gone. And the time for each of us is all too precious and all too brief. But when our moment comes. To face our fragility in that ultimate time, it will ask us, are you agile? Are you agile? Let the moment be an __________ yes. A yes, born of a lifelong correspondence with your own _____. And in seeing yourself. Because in seeing yourself, you are also able to see others to. The only sustainable way forward. In a fragile, beautiful world. So, Warner and thank you, thank. Susan Davids talk is so comforting. I feel I can breathe again after listening to it. It helps validate the fact that we all hold in so much we brewed bottle up and carry around the heavy weight that comes with needing to be ________, even though there's so many situations around us that are sometimes sad or difficult, dire or even tragic. Many of Susan's examples focused on how this response can weigh us down in our personal lives. But I want to focus on what it can look like in our work lives where emotional agility can be even more complicated to start. I want to identify two systems of thinking outlined by behavioral _________ Daniel ________. ______ enough, they're called System one and System two. System one is a mode of thinking that is _____, ___________ and emotional. It tells us that we want to eat the chocolate cake in the fridge, that we should sell stock when its value plummets, that we're angry when someone has given us negative feedback, in contrast ______ to a ______, more logical and more deliberative. It tells us we should wait until after dinner to eat the chocolate cake to be patient. The stock market can be volatile. That negative feedback is warranted. Since you did make a few mistakes. The advice in business ________ is often that we should learn to disregard and ignore the _________, fast acting system. One Instead, we should be _______, steady. The ultimate professional is supposed to be _____, but like Susan said, emotions are their own form of data. And when we ignore our emotions, we're missing important data points. So how then should we bring our emotions to work, the reality is we need both systems one and two and we need to engage them. When your emotions are going haywire, you can use your logical system to to choose to slow down, to pay attention and to __________ what that emotion is trying to tell you, rather than following your instinct and pushing the difficult emotions away. Engage both systems so that you can make thoughtful decisions with your emotions in mind. Remember when I said I hadn't cried in a meeting with work colleagues I've ______ with for over seven _____? That's because most of my life I've suppressed my emotions at work and often not at work. I've felt like that cartoon character, the one with the steam coming out of their ears because they're so frustrated. Now, imagine that steam just building up inside of you. Why? Because I'm often the only woman in mostly male environments, the only black ______ in all white environments. And when you're in these situations, it's so easy to stay _____ because you don't want to say something that makes you even more of an outlier. Should I say this? Will they get it? Is this perspective unique to my gender, race or something else? You're so _______ on making sure you fit in that everyone around you is OK and _____ and cool. You're so tuned in to everyone else's emotions that eventually you end up losing touch with yourself and often with your own emotions completely. And that's what happened to me, which means I've missed a lot of signals in my life staying in a job ______ than I should have doing work. I wasn't passionate about making life decisions based on other people's needs, not my own. Then an acupuncturist gave me the exact same advice as Susan gave us here. Identify my feelings with precision and practice, just sitting with them. So I've developed a process that's my own form of Susan's blank notebook, a process for _______ with my emotions and being present with them on a _____ basis and just noticing them, using them as data, telling me whether I need to act in some way or another. And seven years later, the signal I got in that group _______ is that I was sad, angry and upset. And being aware of this helped me decide that the right thing to do at that moment was to share these emotions with my __________. In the past, I would have kept the steam inside building up, fearing I might offend if I spoke up. But this time I spoke up through tears, which allowed us to push through a very difficult ____________. It also showed us that when we're in touch with our emotions at work and when we're thoughtful about how we engage them, this provides data your team can use to collectively problem solve. Thanks for _________. This show is produced by Kim Netafim, ________ Dandala is our mixer and special thanks to Colin _____, Michelle _____, Angela _____, Currahee, Jim and Anna Feeling. I'll talk to you again next week.

Solution

  1. heart
  2. quint
  3. human
  4. authentic
  5. angry
  6. complex
  7. business
  8. cried
  9. emotional
  10. certainty
  11. emotions
  12. internalize
  13. slower
  14. feature
  15. drifted
  16. years
  17. rigidity
  18. quiet
  19. bottle
  20. committed
  21. tenseness
  22. words
  23. mathematics
  24. individuals
  25. sitting
  26. resilience
  27. helms
  28. stressed
  29. families
  30. economist
  31. shows
  32. connected
  33. learn
  34. societies
  35. inevitable
  36. openness
  37. grief
  38. increasingly
  39. sustainably
  40. moral
  41. correspondence
  42. relentless
  43. bring
  44. rigid
  45. meeting
  46. people
  47. obsessively
  48. price
  49. values
  50. stoic
  51. school
  52. embrace
  53. grieving
  54. ignore
  55. acceptance
  56. science
  57. birth
  58. typically
  59. biology
  60. positive
  61. weight
  62. honestly
  63. feeling
  64. pietrzak
  65. person
  66. short
  67. complexity
  68. dismantle
  69. kahneman
  70. quick
  71. single
  72. stories
  73. logical
  74. false
  75. hands
  76. scientists
  77. agility
  78. happy
  79. regret
  80. shopping
  81. uncertainty
  82. actively
  83. brain
  84. instinctive
  85. generate
  86. notice
  87. chang
  88. pushed
  89. unreserved
  90. daily
  91. cancer
  92. columbia
  93. smile
  94. noticing
  95. stress
  96. thought
  97. automatically
  98. scared
  99. skills
  100. hallowed
  101. tells
  102. opportunity
  103. levels
  104. akinola
  105. failure
  106. explore
  107. feedback
  108. talked
  109. communities
  110. admission
  111. passage
  112. father
  113. focused
  114. conversation
  115. feelings
  116. system
  117. listening
  118. simply
  119. beautiful
  120. contexts
  121. sharing
  122. cornerstone
  123. healthy
  124. intention
  125. interesting
  126. longer
  127. thrive
  128. kisses
  129. listen
  130. understand
  131. navigating
  132. creditors
  133. reality
  134. emotion
  135. colleagues
  136. nervous
  137. heads
  138. understood
  139. research
  140. started
  141. pathway
  142. concrete
  143. political
  144. delicious
  145. amplification
  146. guided

Original Text

I cried in a group meeting with four of my colleagues a few months ago, most of them I've known worked with and taught with for the past seven years. I know these people really, really well, but it was the first time I actually cried in a meeting with them. And I'm not saying crying is the gold standard something we should or shouldn't do in organizations, but it was really interesting to me that I'd finally let my guard down. So let me tell you the situation. I was sharing some feedback on things we could do better in the classroom. And honestly, in sharing that feedback, I was very nervous because often in my research and in other research, it's very clear that feedback is often met with defensiveness and what happened when I gave the feedback defensiveness. So quite frankly, I was angry and I was frustrated. I literally could feel my jaws clenching up, my hands growing sweaty in my heart, starting to palpitate, because I really wanted to say, hey, you're being defensive, stop being defensive, just listen to what I have to say. But I didn't say anything. And the conversation continued and it continued. And the tenseness in my body grew grew even tighter. And I thought to myself, wait a minute, I'm angry and frustrated. These emotions matter. I need to see something. I need to say something right now. And so I did. And as I was saying it, the tears started flowing. Typically, I would beat myself up about not having emotional control or expressing my emotions inappropriately by crying, but this time I didn't do either of these things, you might ask, should I have what is the right way to engage with our emotions at work? Welcome to Ted Business. I'm Redub Akinola, professor at Columbia Business School. In today's talk, we'll hear from Susan David, who's a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of the book Emotional Agility in 2017. She gave a talk at TED Women that seemed to touch a lot of people very deeply. And I think it's because she talks about something a lot of us need to hear that we should accept the full range of our emotions. This is hard enough to do in life and can be even more complicated in a workplace. So stick around after the talk and I'll dissect those tears I experienced and explore how we can pay attention to our emotions at work in a way that makes our work better. Hello, everyone, so Abana in South Africa, where I come from, so Bonner is the Zulu word for hello. There's a beautiful and powerful intention behind the word because subunit means I see you. And by seeing you, I bring you into being. So beautiful, imagine being greeted like that. But what does it take in the way we see ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions and our stories that help us to thrive in an increasingly complex and fraught world? This crucial question has been at the center of my life's work, because how we deal with our inner world drives everything, every aspect of how we love, how we live, how we parent, and how we lead. The conventional view of emotions as good or bad, positive or negative is rigid and rigidity in the face of complexity is toxic. We need greater levels of emotional agility for true resilience and thriving. My journey with his calling began not in the hallowed halls of a university, but in the messy, tender business of life, I grew up in the white suburbs of apartheid South Africa, a country and community committed to not seeing, to denial, its denial that makes 50 years of racist legislation possible while people convince themselves that they are doing nothing wrong. And yet I first learned of the destructive power of denial at a personal level before I understood what it was doing to the country of my birth. My father died on a Friday. He was 42 years old and I was 15, my mother whispered to me to go and say goodbye to my father before I went to school. So I put my backpack down and walked the passage that ran through to where the heart of our home. My father lay dying of cancer. His eyes were closed, but he knew I was there in his presence. I had always felt safe in. I told him I loved him, said goodbye and headed off for my day. At school, I drifted from science to mathematics to history to biology as my father slipped from the world from May to July to September to November. I went about with my usual smile. I didn't drop a single grade. When asked how he's doing, I would shrug and say, OK, I was praised for being strong, I was the master of being OK. But back home, we struggled. My father hadn't been able to keep his small business going during his illness, and my mother alone was grieving the love of her life, trying to raise three children. And the creditors were knocking, we felt as a family, financially and emotionally ravaged. And I began to spiral down, isolated fast. I started to use food to numb my pain, bingeing and purging, refusing to accept the full weight of my grief. No one knew. And in a culture that values relentless positivity, I thought that no one wanted to know. But one person did not buy into my story of triumph over grief, my eighth grade English teacher fixed me with burning blue eyes as she handed out blank notebooks. She said, Write what you're feeling. Tell the truth. Right, like nobody's reading. And just like that, I was invited to show up authentically to my grief and pain. It was a simple act, but nothing short of a revolution for me. It was the revolution that started in this blank notebook 30 years ago that shaped my life's work, the secret, silent correspondence with myself like a gymnast. I started to move beyond the rigidity of denial into what I have now come to call emotional agility. Life's beauty is inseparable from its fragility. We are young until we are not. We walk down the street sexy until one day we realize that we are unseen. We nag our children and one day realize that there is silence with a child once was now making his or her way in the world. We are healthy until a diagnosis brings us to our knees. The only certainty is uncertainty, and yet we are not navigating this frailty successfully or sustainably. The World Health Organization tells us that depression is now the single leading cause of disability globally and at a time of greater complexity, unprecedented technological, political and economic change, we are seeing how people's tendency is more and more to lock down into rigid responses to their emotions. On the one hand, we might obsessively brood on our feelings. Getting stuck inside our heads, hooked on being right or victimized by our news feed. On the other, we might bottle our emotions, pushing them aside and permitting only those emotions deemed legitimate. In a survey I recently conducted with over 70000 people, I found that a third of us, a third, either judge ourselves for having so-called bad emotions like sadness, anger or even grief. Or actively try to push aside these feelings. We do this not only to ourselves, but also to people we love, like our children, we may inadvertently shame them out of emotion, seen as negative, jumped jump to solution and fail to help them to see these emotions as inherently valuable. Normal natural emotions are now seen as good or bad. And being positive has become a new form of moral correctness. People with cancer are automatically told to just stay positive. Woman to stop being so angry. And the list goes on. It's attorney. It's a tyranny of positivity. And it's cruel. And kind. And ineffective. And we do it ourselves. And we do it to others. If there's one common feature of brooding bottling of positivity, it's this. They are all rigid responses. And if there's a single lesson we can learn from the inevitable fall of apartheid, it is that rigid denial doesn't work. It's unsustainable. For individuals, for families, for societies, and as we watch the ice caps melt. It is unsustainable for our planet. Research on emotional suppression shows that when emotions are pushed aside or ignored, they get stronger. Psychologists call this amplification like that delicious chocolate cake in the refrigerator. The more you try to ignore it. The greater its hold on you, you might think you're in control of unwanted emotions when you ignore them, but in fact they control you. Internal pain always comes out always and who pays the price we do our children. Our colleagues. Our communities. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not anti happiness. I like being happy. I'm a pretty happy person. But when we push aside normal emotions to embrace false positivity, we lose our capacity to develop skills to deal with the world as it is. Not as we wish it to be. I've had hundreds of people tell me what they don't want to feel. They say things like, I don't want to try because I don't want to feel disappointed. Or I just want this feeling to go away. I understand I said to them, but you have dead people's goals. Only dead people never get unwanted or inconvenienced by their feelings, only dead people never get stressed, never get broken hearts, never experience the disappointment that comes with failure. Tough emotions are part of our contract with life. You don't get to have a meaningful career or raise a family or leave the world a better place without stress and discomfort. Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life. So how do we begin to dismantle rigidity and embrace emotional agility? As that young schoolgirl when I leaned into those blank pages. I started to do away with feelings of what I should be experiencing and instead started to open my heart to what I did feel pain and grief. And loss and regret. Research now shows that the radical acceptance of all of our emotions, even the messy, difficult ones, is the cornerstone to resilience, thriving and true authentic happiness. But . Emotional agility is more than just an acceptance of emotions, we also know that accuracy matters. In my own research, I found that words are essential. We often use quick and easy labels to describe our feelings. I'm stressed as the most common one, I hear. But there's a world of difference between stress and disappointment or stress, and that knowing dread of I'm in the wrong career, when we label our emotions accurately, we are more able to discern the precise cause of our feelings and what scientists call the readiness. Potential in our brain is activated, allowing us to take concrete steps, but not just any steps, the right steps for us, because our emotions are data. Our emotions contain flashing lights to things that we care about. We tend not to feel strong emotion. To stuff that doesn't mean anything in our world. If you feel rage when you read the news that rage is a signpost, perhaps, that you value equity and fairness and an opportunity to take active steps to shape your life in that direction. When we are open to the difficult emotions, we are able to generate responses that are values aligned. But there's an important caveat, emotions are data, they are not directives, we can show up, turn our emotions for their values without needing to listen to them, just like I can show up to my son in his frustration with his baby sister. But not endorse his idea that he gets to give her away to the first stranger he sees in a shopping mall. We own our emotions. They don't own us. When we internalize the difference between how I feel and all my wisdom and what I do in a values aligned action. We generate the pathway to our best selves via our emotions. So what does this look like in practice? When you feel a strong, tough emotion, don't raise for the emotional exits. Learn its contours, show up to the Journal of Your Heart's. What is the emotion telling you? And try not to say I am, as in I am angry or I am sad when you say I am, it makes you sound as if you are the emotion, whereas you are you and the emotion is datasource. Instead, try to notice the feeling for what it is. I'm noticing that I'm feeling sad or I'm noticing that I'm feeling angry. These are essential skills for us, our families, our communities, they are also critical to the workplace. In my research, when I looked at what helps people to bring the best of themselves to work, I found a powerful, key contributor, individualized consideration when people are allowed to feel their emotional truth. Engagement, creativity and innovation flourish in the organization. Diversity isn't just people, it's also what's inside people, including diversity of emotion. The most agile, resilient individuals, teams, organizations, families, communities are built on an openness to the normal human emotions. It's this that allows us to say, what is my emotion? Telling me which action will bring me towards my values, which will take me away from my values. Emotional agility is the ability to be with your emotions, with curiosity, compassion, and especially the courage to take values, connected steps. When I was little, I would wake up at night terrified by the idea of death, my father would comfort me with soft pets and kisses, but he would never lie. We all die, Susie, he would say. It's normal to be scared. He didn't try to invent a buffer between me and reality. It took me a while to understand the power of how he guided me through those nights. What he showed me is that courage is not an absence of fear. Courage is fear walking. Neither of us knew that in 10 short years he would be gone. And the time for each of us is all too precious and all too brief. But when our moment comes. To face our fragility in that ultimate time, it will ask us, are you agile? Are you agile? Let the moment be an unreserved yes. A yes, born of a lifelong correspondence with your own heart. And in seeing yourself. Because in seeing yourself, you are also able to see others to. The only sustainable way forward. In a fragile, beautiful world. So, Warner and thank you, thank. Susan Davids talk is so comforting. I feel I can breathe again after listening to it. It helps validate the fact that we all hold in so much we brewed bottle up and carry around the heavy weight that comes with needing to be positive, even though there's so many situations around us that are sometimes sad or difficult, dire or even tragic. Many of Susan's examples focused on how this response can weigh us down in our personal lives. But I want to focus on what it can look like in our work lives where emotional agility can be even more complicated to start. I want to identify two systems of thinking outlined by behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman. Simply enough, they're called System one and System two. System one is a mode of thinking that is quick, instinctive and emotional. It tells us that we want to eat the chocolate cake in the fridge, that we should sell stock when its value plummets, that we're angry when someone has given us negative feedback, in contrast system to a slower, more logical and more deliberative. It tells us we should wait until after dinner to eat the chocolate cake to be patient. The stock market can be volatile. That negative feedback is warranted. Since you did make a few mistakes. The advice in business contexts is often that we should learn to disregard and ignore the emotional, fast acting system. One Instead, we should be logical, steady. The ultimate professional is supposed to be stoic, but like Susan said, emotions are their own form of data. And when we ignore our emotions, we're missing important data points. So how then should we bring our emotions to work, the reality is we need both systems one and two and we need to engage them. When your emotions are going haywire, you can use your logical system to to choose to slow down, to pay attention and to understand what that emotion is trying to tell you, rather than following your instinct and pushing the difficult emotions away. Engage both systems so that you can make thoughtful decisions with your emotions in mind. Remember when I said I hadn't cried in a meeting with work colleagues I've talked with for over seven years? That's because most of my life I've suppressed my emotions at work and often not at work. I've felt like that cartoon character, the one with the steam coming out of their ears because they're so frustrated. Now, imagine that steam just building up inside of you. Why? Because I'm often the only woman in mostly male environments, the only black person in all white environments. And when you're in these situations, it's so easy to stay quiet because you don't want to say something that makes you even more of an outlier. Should I say this? Will they get it? Is this perspective unique to my gender, race or something else? You're so focused on making sure you fit in that everyone around you is OK and happy and cool. You're so tuned in to everyone else's emotions that eventually you end up losing touch with yourself and often with your own emotions completely. And that's what happened to me, which means I've missed a lot of signals in my life staying in a job longer than I should have doing work. I wasn't passionate about making life decisions based on other people's needs, not my own. Then an acupuncturist gave me the exact same advice as Susan gave us here. Identify my feelings with precision and practice, just sitting with them. So I've developed a process that's my own form of Susan's blank notebook, a process for sitting with my emotions and being present with them on a daily basis and just noticing them, using them as data, telling me whether I need to act in some way or another. And seven years later, the signal I got in that group meeting is that I was sad, angry and upset. And being aware of this helped me decide that the right thing to do at that moment was to share these emotions with my colleagues. In the past, I would have kept the steam inside building up, fearing I might offend if I spoke up. But this time I spoke up through tears, which allowed us to push through a very difficult conversation. It also showed us that when we're in touch with our emotions at work and when we're thoughtful about how we engage them, this provides data your team can use to collectively problem solve. Thanks for listening. This show is produced by Kim Netafim, Pietrzak Dandala is our mixer and special thanks to Colin Helms, Michelle Quint, Angela Chang, Currahee, Jim and Anna Feeling. I'll talk to you again next week.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
emotional agility 6
chocolate cake 3
group meeting 2
pay attention 2
rigid responses 2
dead people 2
values aligned 2

Important Words

  1. abana
  2. ability
  3. absence
  4. accept
  5. acceptance
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  7. accurately
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  10. action
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  12. active
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  14. acupuncturist
  15. admission
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  20. akinola
  21. aligned
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  24. amplification
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  27. angry
  28. anna
  29. anti
  30. apartheid
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  36. authentically
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  41. backpack
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  48. began
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  51. biology
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  60. bottle
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  95. chocolate
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  120. consideration
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  132. cornerstone
  133. correctness
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  136. courage
  137. creativity
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  404. medical
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  407. messy
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  410. mind
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  415. mixer
  416. mode
  417. moment
  418. months
  419. moral
  420. mother
  421. move
  422. nag
  423. natural
  424. navigating
  425. needing
  426. negative
  427. nervous
  428. netafim
  429. news
  430. night
  431. nights
  432. normal
  433. notebook
  434. notebooks
  435. notice
  436. noticing
  437. november
  438. numb
  439. obsessively
  440. offend
  441. open
  442. openness
  443. opportunity
  444. organization
  445. organizations
  446. outlier
  447. outlined
  448. pages
  449. pain
  450. palpitate
  451. parent
  452. part
  453. passage
  454. passionate
  455. pathway
  456. patient
  457. pay
  458. pays
  459. people
  460. permitting
  461. person
  462. personal
  463. perspective
  464. pets
  465. pietrzak
  466. place
  467. planet
  468. plummets
  469. points
  470. political
  471. positive
  472. positivity
  473. potential
  474. power
  475. powerful
  476. practice
  477. praised
  478. precious
  479. precise
  480. precision
  481. presence
  482. present
  483. pretty
  484. price
  485. problem
  486. process
  487. produced
  488. professional
  489. professor
  490. psychologist
  491. psychologists
  492. purging
  493. push
  494. pushed
  495. pushing
  496. put
  497. question
  498. quick
  499. quiet
  500. quint
  501. race
  502. racist
  503. radical
  504. rage
  505. raise
  506. ran
  507. range
  508. ravaged
  509. read
  510. readiness
  511. reading
  512. reality
  513. realize
  514. redub
  515. refrigerator
  516. refusing
  517. regret
  518. relentless
  519. remember
  520. research
  521. resilience
  522. resilient
  523. response
  524. responses
  525. revolution
  526. rigid
  527. rigidity
  528. sad
  529. sadness
  530. safe
  531. scared
  532. school
  533. schoolgirl
  534. science
  535. scientists
  536. secret
  537. sees
  538. sell
  539. september
  540. sexy
  541. shame
  542. shape
  543. shaped
  544. share
  545. sharing
  546. shopping
  547. short
  548. show
  549. showed
  550. shows
  551. shrug
  552. signal
  553. signals
  554. signpost
  555. silence
  556. silent
  557. simple
  558. simply
  559. single
  560. sister
  561. sitting
  562. situation
  563. situations
  564. skills
  565. slipped
  566. slow
  567. slower
  568. small
  569. smile
  570. societies
  571. soft
  572. solution
  573. solve
  574. son
  575. sound
  576. south
  577. special
  578. spiral
  579. spoke
  580. standard
  581. start
  582. started
  583. starting
  584. stay
  585. staying
  586. steady
  587. steam
  588. steps
  589. stick
  590. stock
  591. stoic
  592. stop
  593. stories
  594. story
  595. stranger
  596. street
  597. stress
  598. stressed
  599. strong
  600. stronger
  601. struggled
  602. stuck
  603. stuff
  604. subunit
  605. suburbs
  606. successfully
  607. supposed
  608. suppressed
  609. suppression
  610. survey
  611. susan
  612. susie
  613. sustainable
  614. sustainably
  615. sweaty
  616. system
  617. systems
  618. talk
  619. talked
  620. talks
  621. taught
  622. teacher
  623. team
  624. teams
  625. tears
  626. technological
  627. ted
  628. telling
  629. tells
  630. tend
  631. tendency
  632. tender
  633. tenseness
  634. terrified
  635. thinking
  636. thought
  637. thoughtful
  638. thoughts
  639. thrive
  640. thriving
  641. tighter
  642. time
  643. told
  644. touch
  645. tough
  646. toxic
  647. tragic
  648. triumph
  649. true
  650. truth
  651. tuned
  652. turn
  653. typically
  654. tyranny
  655. ultimate
  656. uncertainty
  657. understand
  658. understood
  659. unique
  660. university
  661. unprecedented
  662. unreserved
  663. unseen
  664. unsustainable
  665. unwanted
  666. upset
  667. usual
  668. validate
  669. valuable
  670. values
  671. victimized
  672. view
  673. volatile
  674. wait
  675. wake
  676. walk
  677. walked
  678. walking
  679. wanted
  680. warner
  681. warranted
  682. watch
  683. week
  684. weigh
  685. weight
  686. whispered
  687. white
  688. wisdom
  689. woman
  690. women
  691. word
  692. words
  693. work
  694. worked
  695. workplace
  696. world
  697. write
  698. wrong
  699. years
  700. young
  701. zulu