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A Preview of The Upside of Your Dark Side with Todd Kashdan

The Upside of Your Dark Side

A summary of things you should know about The Upside of Your Dark Side according to Todd Kashdan


In this episode Todd Kashdan takes a deep dive into his book, The Upside of Your Dark Side where he reveals over 15 years of research on the science of happiness, love, creativity, and relationships.

In his book Kashdan provides the simple tools that will help you get through the negative emotions and launch you to the highest peak in your life. The goal of the book show you how you can truly maximize your potential in any situation.

This book is perfect for entrepreneurs who need help turning simple negative emotions such as anger, guilt, and self-doubt into powerful actions that improve your effectiveness.

The Book’s Unique Quality (4:22)

There are very few books out there on this topic. It’s couched in scientific research for how to get the best of your personality in the difficult and pleasurable situations.

The Best Way To Engage (5:30)

It’s a very breezy read. I think the best way is to read from beginning to end but it’s sectioned in a way that you can pick your way through.

The Reader’s Takeaway (35:43)

That while we all want to have a high frequency of moments it’s important to know that negative emotions and the tools that help us get through are the springboards to the highest peaks in our life.

A Deep Dive Into The Book (6:52)

One of the most important premises of the book is if you ask people what the fundamental objective in life is 80% to 90% of people will say it’s to be happy. The best strategy to live a life well lived is to have an attitude where you’re present with an attitude of curiosity and you’re constantly plugging away doing what matters.

For the first part of our book we talk about the benefits towards negative emotions. Instead of trying to categorize and label our emotions we must think of what’s useful and not useful for the exact situation that you are in. We need to focus on not being more positive or happy but being emotionally agile.

The next part of the book we move to social agility. Part of making a contribution to the world is to recognize the value of the sides of your personality that deviate from generosity and kindness. The entrepreneur that does not have a big vision of why they want to make a change in the world, what that change is going to be and why they think they are the perfect catalyst for that, is not going to get angle investor funding. A striving for supremacy, which is one of the components of narcissism, is fundamental to making tracking towards big aspirational goals and we walk your through exactly what those steps are. In this type of environment where we hire consultants and experts to come on to our team for short periods of time, narcissism works extremely well to get traction, get allies and form a strong confident tribe in the face of adversity and difficulty.

Another characteristic we talk about is psychopathy which we use Teddy Roosevelt as the example. One of the elements of psychopathy is fearless dominance; the willingness to be bold with your decisions knowing that 20% to 30% of people will disagree with you. We walk through the parts of your personality that might not be socially attractive to talk about but actually are exactly what you need every once and awhile.

In the third part of the book we talk about mental agility. In our society there is an obsession with mindfulness being the panacea for everything. There are incredible benefits of mindlessness and being present with your negative emotions.
When we prematurely discard aspects of our personality because they are not comfortable we dismiss psychological strengths that are at our win and we give them away for nothing. And those people that are comfortable in being whole which means whatever part of their personality that arises for the situation to help that they are willing to use those tools effectively to get the best possible outcome. These are the people who are going to accomplish more than the ones who are only going to be have human focusing only on positivity and kindness.

Notable Quotes From The Book (37:43)

“The great epochs of our life are the occasions when we gain the courage to re-baptize our evil qualities as our best qualities.” – Nietzsche

The Credibility/Inspiration Of The Author (0:37)

I am a psychology professor at George Mason University, a Senior Scientist at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being and an author of four different books. The four books are Curious?, Designing Positive Psychology, Mindfulness, Acceptance and Positive Psychology, and The Upside of Your Dark Side.

My Co-author and I have been studying the science of happiness, love, creativity and relationships for about 15 years. Both of us have read numbers of books that our colleagues have written about how to integrate this in the workplace and we have always been dissatisfied with it. We wrote this book to rectify what you need to do to flourish and function optimally in a world where we are overwhelmed. This is 15-20 years of science pulled together in one book.

Other Books Recommended By The Author (42:46)

Spent by Geoffrey Miller

More Information About This Book and The Author

Buy The Upside of Your Dark Side by Todd Kashdan on Amazon today

Visit ToddKashdan.com to learn more about Todd and his book

Follow Todd Kashdan on Twitter

More Information About This Episode

Download the full transcript here (Coming Soon)

Listen on iTunes, Stitcher , and SoundCloud

Related books: How to Be a Positive Leader by Jane E Dutton | Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life by Todd B. Kashdan | Happiness by Design by Paul Dolan

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Wade is a 4-time serial entrepreneur and is the Founder/Host of The Entrepreneurs Library. With a long time passion for reading books, Wade created an online resource and podcast for entrepreneurs who love to read personal and business development books. His long-term goal in life is to start an entrepreneurial home schooling program for children of business-minded families.