Everything You Need to Know About EQ You Can Learn In “Inside Out”

Have you seen Pixar’s newest hit movie, “Inside Out?” Even if your kids are grown and out of the house, put this delightful movie on your “must see” list. You’ll not only be entertained, but you’ll learn a lot, too, because everything you need to know about self awareness and EQ you can learn in “Inside Out.”

The movie follows 5 core emotions of a little girl named Riley. Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) is the de facto head emotion who works really hard to keep the other four emotions in check:

  • Sadness (actress Phyllis Smith from The Office)
  • Anger (comedian Lewis Black)
  • Disgust (actress Mindy Kaling)
  • Fear (the very funny Bill Hader)

Casting is perfect, by the way. Each emotion can access the control board and thus guide Riley’s emotions. Here are the lessons they taught me during the movie:

Your world can come crashing down if you lose Joy

Though a series of unfortunate events, Joy and Sadness get sucked out of the control room and into the area that stores memories. With Joy gone, chaos erupts. Anger, Disgust, and Fear cannot hold down the fort, and as such, Riley’s world starts falling apart.

During difficult times, it can certainly feel like your world is falling apart, but it’s important to continue to cultivate joy and happiness. Your ability to navigate through life in a thoughtful, productive way depends on your emotional health.

Fear is a good planner

To prepare for Riley’s first day of school in a new city (San Francisco), Joy asks Fear to run some risk analysis. He comes back with a stack of research two feet tall containing multiple scenarios.

No matter how great your life is, it is also full of challenges. Fear might want to take over from Joy (who would see the opportunity in the challenge). Instead of getting sucked down a rabbit hole of worry, make plans for the worst case scenario so you are prepared no matter what.

Sadness can lead to Joy

Joy takes great pride in the fact that the majority of Riley’s memories are Joyful, so she tends to micro-manage Sadness in order to prevent too many sad memories from developing. However, Joy slowly realizes that many happy memories follow sad ones and vice versa, being sad for a while can help you feel better, and sad memories can actually be good ones.

Being sad is not bad, and I would even argue that sadness can even help us appreciate life that much more.

Sometimes, you can’t stop Anger

When Anger really gets going, fire shoots out of his head like a blowtorch and shoves whoever is standing at the control panel out of the way. The other emotions usually try to talk reason into him, but he’s already too far gone.

Sometimes, you just need to let those pent up emotions out, and that’s OK. It’s normal. Just be sure to do it constructively or privately so as not to hurt others (in Riley’s case, that would be her parents).

Disgust can be a powerful force for change

When Disgust gets involved during the movie, you know change is coming. She will not stand for mediocre! She wants Riley to be the best at everything, lending her quite the competitive streak.

Indeed, Disgust can be a powerful force for change in your life. Not happy with something? Use that feeling to start making positive changes that will benefit everyone.

If you have seen the movie, what else would you add to my list? If you haven’t seen it, go – and then come back and let me know what you think about this blog post. How can knowing more about your emotions help you in your leadership?

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