Emotions

Easy question for Pixar fans: can you name the five characters in this image?

Exactly, they’re the five emotions that appear in the movie Inside Out, which in Spain got translated as Del Revés: Fear, Disgust, Sadness, Joy and Anger.

What you may not know is that it´s not a coincidence that those five emotions were picked for the movie. They´re what experts call the universal emotions, that is, the ones that every human being possesses from birth, regardless of their origin or cultural environment. There are two additional emotions, surprise and contempt, that are considered universal by some experts but not by others; what´s clear is that they all agree on these five.

Cool, right? Even cooler is the fact that each of these emotions goes with a characteristic facial expression that´s also universal: we can all recognize them instinctively, and in fact we do it all the time, interpreting how others feel based on the expression on their face. Focus on the characters in the image for a moment, and you will clearly see the emotions they each represent.

We know all this because Paul Ekman, a psychologist specialized in emotions (and Pixar´s advisor for Inside Out) travelled in the 1960´s to one of the most remote and isolated civilizations on Earth, in Papua New Guinea, where modern advances like photography or television were unknown, to study how the locals managed to express their own emotions and recognize them in others.

Which goes to show that sometimes we may seem very different on the outside, but on the inside, deep down, we´re all made of the same stuff, even after us adding extra layers of personality, cultural references and learned behaviours that sometimes cause us not understand each other very well.

Personally, I think the movie is very funny and really interesting for all ages, worth watching if you haven´t done so yet. My favourite scene is a super cool example of empathy provided by Sadness, one of the main characters, but there are many, many other memorable moments.

If you´ve already watched it, do you have a favourite scene? What would you highlight from the movie?

And if you want to learn more about emotions, have a look at this atlas: http://atlasofemotions.org/

Version 5

Well, the time has come to add one more number to my version historyversion 5.

Here it goes:

  • V5.0 I develop an interest in coaching
    • 5.1 - I take a three-month-long online course in coaching fundamentals, to see if I like it. I love it.
    • 5.2 - I sign up for a master’s degree in coaching with emotional intelligence and neuro-linguistic programming.

Those of you who know me in person are probably aware that I´ve been interested in the topic of personal growth and development for years… Interestingly, I hadn´t bumped into coaching until last May. When I finally did, it resonated a lot with me, and this weekend I have started my master’s degree :-)

wooden coach lettering

But what is this coaching thing? It’s true that “coach” is a word that is used nowadays for a bunch of different things, which creates confusion, and there are also several definitions of “coaching”, each focusing on a different aspect of it. To simplify, we can say that coaching is a process of accompaniment, in which, through active listening, questions, and other resources, the coach makes it easier for the coachee (or client) to define their own goals, as well as to identify and manage the changes that are needed in order to achieve them.

Going forward, I´ll be sharing in this blog a few things related to the world of coaching, and also about the many tools and resources that it draws from. Regarding definitions, for the moment I´ll leave you with this one, food for thought:

A coach is someone who tells you what you don't want to hear, who has you see what you don't want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.

Tom Landry

Version history

The extraordinary circumstances we have lived in this past year have resulted in many of us thinking about reinventing ourselves, be it out of necessity, due to changes in our lives and our surroundings, or simply due to having more time for reflection, for taking an honest look at our life and evaluating the possibility of altering our course.

The word "reinvention" used to sound to me as very radical, and I have to say I was almost afraid of it. Until I remembered what my good friend Bea told me once: that along the way in our own history we are really living many lives; every time we turn a page, it´s a new life.

And I realized I had already reinvented myself, and more than once.

Life cycles of man and woman.

Coming as I am from the IT world, what came to my mind was comparing each of those reinventions with a "version change" in my life. Every significant change has meant some progress, some learning, which I´ve been able to incorporate to the next version of myself. Some of those life events I chose, others I didn´t. Some of them were bigger than others, the same way an operating system or application can get upgraded to a "major" or "minor" version (if I´ve lost you already, here´s more information about software versioning).

So I got to work and ended up building my own version history:

  • V0 (version zero) - I arrive in this world (more specifically in Cáceres, Spain) on March 10th 1978.
  • V1.0 I decide to study Computer Engineering - the first "real" decision of my life.
    • V1.1 - I get a boyfriend.
    • V1.2 - I finish college and move to Madrid, searching for a job.
    • V1.3 - I get my first job, in a consulting firm.
    • V1.4 - I change jobs, my assigned project gets cancelled and they let me go.
    • V1.5 - I find another job, in another consulting firm.
    • V1.6 - I get interested in translating, and take a course - university expert in translation Spanish-English
  • V2.0 - I get married and move to Dublin, Ireland
    • V2.1 - I find my first job in Ireland, as an analyst/programmer, in a great company (bye-bye consulting)
    • V2.2 - Mi daughter Irene is born - I become a mother.
    • V2.3 - I have a miscarriage with my second pregnancy.
    • V2.4 - My daughter Alicia is born.
    • V2.5 - I take a Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) course.
  • V3.0 I decide to take a career break, and spend more time with my daughters
    • V3.1 - I take a course in teaching Spanish as a second language.
    • V3.2 - My daughter Eva is born.
  • V4.0 I separate from my husband (later on I get divorced).
    • V4.1 - I start working in another great company, as a systems analyst.
    • V4.2 - I buy my own house to live in, with my daughters.
    • V4.3 - I transition from IT to a business role within the same company.
    • V4.4 - I adapt myself to working from home and changing the shared custody routine.

So there you go: at least three reinventions, three big changes, with their little gradual changes in between... Funnily enough, my first calculation ended up in version 4.3, now that I´m 43 years old :-)

I hope this example motivates you to reflect on your own experiences, on how you have upgraded versions so many times already, facing big and small challenges, and how you have succeeded and learned with all of them... that will give you confidence to face whatever comes next, continuing to evolve.

In the meantime, as it couldn´t be any other way, I´m already working on my fourth reinvention, preparing version 5.0.