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August 2019

An introduction to our emotions

An introduction to our emotions 3408 2381 Manolis Stratakis

Basic Emotions

In this article we make an attempt to understand the basics of our emotions, the very essence of our psyche.

The following eight emotions are considered the basic ones, from which all others are produced:

  • Joy
  • Trust
  • Fear
  • Surprise
  • Sadness
  • Disgust
  • Anger
  • Anticipation

As specific basic emotions mix together, new secondary and tertiary emotions emerge!



The Wheel of Emotions

Robert Plutchik with his excellent work on emotions, has produced this great depiction, showing the interrelationships among them:

Spend some time to study this diagram and try to understand how they interact and interrelate. This will increase dramatically your emotional vocabulary and give you lots of self-awareness!

See also our article on: Learn about how.. you learn!


Ikigai: The real reason you exist!

Ikigai: The real reason you exist! 2124 1855 Manolis Stratakis

Ikigai is a Japanese concept, meaning the reason for being. It’s a great tool to provide us with the desired clarity in order to understand what we want to do in life, what exactly is our right place in the society. It takes a while, but it surely works!

How do I find my own ikigai? Start by making four lists with what:

  1. you love to do
  2. you are good at
  3. can bring you money
  4. people need

Now check all the intersections.

1+2 is what you love doing and you are good at it. That’s your passion.

2+3 is what you are good at and it can bring you money. This can be your profession.

3+4 is what can bring you money and people need it. This can be a vocation.

4+1 is what people need and you love to do it. That’s your mission.


Let’s now look at it in a little more depth:

1+2+3: You are good at it, you love it, it brings money but the world doesn’t really need it. You receive a lot of satisfaction but you also get a feeling of uselessness.

2+3+4: You are good at it, it brings money, people need it, but you don’t really love it. You are comfortable doing it, but you get a feeling of emptiness.

3+4+1: It brings money, people need it, you love it, but your skills are not yet developed at an adequate level, so you are not good at it. You feel excitement and complacency but you also feel some uncertainty.

4+1+2: The world needs what you are doing, you are good at it and you love it, but it doesn’t bring enough money. You feel delight and fullness but there is no wealth.

1+2+3+4: Ikigai. Here is your sweet spot. Even if you have only one thing common in all your 4 lists, then that’s your ikigai, your reason for being. That’s your ideal place in life!

If you have not found your ikigai, do not worry! There is still hope. You just need to do a little more work:

  1. Locate where you stand right now
  2. What is missing?
  3. Which direction do you need to move?
  4. What do you need to do in order to get there?
  5. What obstacles stand in your way?
  6. How can you overcome them?

By answering the questions above, you will probably get enough clarity in order to be able to move towards the center of the diagram soon and identify your ideal place in life. If you fail the first time, don’t quit. Just try it for a few more times until you succeed!


See also our article on: Learn about how.. you learn!

Cantril Ladder: improve the Quality of your Life!

Cantril Ladder: improve the Quality of your Life! 1614 1125 Manolis Stratakis

Cantril Ladder: A first step towards improving drastically your Quality of Life…

The quality of our life and therefore our happiness level, can actually be measured! One simple and easy way for this is using the Cantril Ladder.

Imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder do you feel you stand right now? Check the respective colored disk on the left column on the diagram (Present).

It is important to understand that our life is dynamic, it is always changing. It may change faster or slower, but it is changing. The question is: which direction will it take next? Will it change to better or to worse? Here, our active commitment comes into play!

Believing in change is the first prerequisite to trigger actual change. The second is setting up a goal. A right goal should be specific, meaningful and feasible.

So, let’s try to place a realistic life-changing goal for the near future.

On which step do you want to stand in five years from now? (Please take into account how feasible is your choice). Check the respective colored disk on the right column on the diagram (In 5 years).

Congratulations! You have just made a good step towards realizing you present situation and set up a realistic goal for improving it. Just by placing your goal in the radar, you increase the odds for achieving it. Hold on to your seat while you are getting there!


The characteristics for each group (as set by the Gallup Organization, with some modifications by us) are described below:

Thriving (9-6) — wellbeing that is strong, consistent, and progressing. Respondents have positive views of their present life situation and have positive views of the next five years. They report significantly fewer health problems, fewer sick days, less worry, stress, sadness, anger, and more happiness, enjoyment, interest, and respect.

Struggling (5-3) — wellbeing that is moderate or inconsistent. These respondents have moderate views of their present life situation OR moderate OR negative views of their future. They are either struggling in the present, or expect to struggle in the future. They report more daily stress and worry about money than the “thriving” respondents, and more than double the amount of sick days. They are more likely to smoke, and are less likely to eat healthy.

Suffering (2-0) — wellbeing that is at high risk. These respondents have poor ratings of their current life situation AND negative views of the next five years. They are more likely to report lacking the basics of food and shelter, more likely to have physical pain, a lot of stress, worry, sadness, and anger. They have less access to health insurance and care, and more than double the disease burden, in comparison to “thriving” respondents.

These characteristics are only useful to give you an idea and help you see if you have made a good guess. Sharpening our awareness is critical in understanding where we stand and where we want to go!

Wheel of Life: The big picture of your life

Wheel of Life: The big picture of your life 3408 2381 Manolis Stratakis

Wheel of Life: The big picture of your life

The “Wheel of Life” is a powerful coaching tool that offers an effective way to see the big picture of our life and visualize how our energy and time are spread among some of its most important areas. We often focus disproportionally in one area while overlooking some of the others. But in order to be happy, it is important to have a satisfactory overall performance.

Below is the Life Wheel, a pizza-shaped graph, with each of its eight segments representing one major area of life:

  • Career
  • Finance
  • Health
  • Family/friends
  • Romance
  • Personal development
  • Free time and interests
  • Social contribution

All you have to do is take some time to think and evaluate how well you do in each different area. Mark them from 1 to 10. Don’t try to give an accurate answer, just provide the answer that first comes to your mind.

When you are done with your evaluation and marking, take another moment to think how important each of these areas are to you at present. Mark their importance from 1-10.

That’s it! You finished. Now, prepare a drink, sit in a relaxed posture and do some introspection which will give you important awareness about what these results actually mean to you.

See also our article: Cantril Ladder: improve the Quality of your Life!

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