The Secret to Love & Leadership Is Kindness

Why don’t we learn marriage counseling topics until it’s too late? Scientists have studied relationships for decades, putting couples in a lab and predicting their potential for divorce with over 90% accuracy. For such a monumental decision, I’m personally offended they didn’t teach me this at 18!

Whether in love or leadership, choose kindness.

Relationship science is also rarely taught in workplaces. Yet, it has immense relevance. It simply happens that you can’t put two colleagues into a room and pay a therapist $300/hour to hash out their problems. Yet, professionals spend more waking hours speaking with colleagues than with friends and family. If there’s research that can help people who spend two days a week together, why don’t we share it with those with whom we spend five?

In online couples counseling app LIFE Intelligence, we discuss choosing your partner, supporting them, and resolving conflicts. Here is how that applies to both work and LIFE.

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Choose Kindness in Leadership

Would you rather work with a competent jerk or a lovable fool? Amazingly, researchers took all the traits we use to describe personality, and discovered a universal dimension of social cognition: that all these traits can be defined on a scale of warmth vs. competence.


Most would agree that jobs require a certain level of competence. So, these findings are situation-dependent. However, in general, research shows that warmth is judged more quickly, contributes more significantly to evaluations, and is perceived as more enduring and accurate. Warmth is weighted more heavily when assessing others, whereas competence is weighted more heavily when assessing ourselves. How many people are losing jobs because they focus on being competent, not realizing they come off as dominating, when they could be gaining more popularity by coming across as modest?


Let’s look at HR statistics to demonstrate the impact. According to a Leadership IQ study done over 3 years involving 5,247 hiring managers, when new hires don’t work out, 89% of those failures are due to a lack of soft skills, not hard skills. The top 5 ways in which people failed?

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26% because they can’t accept feedback

23% because they’re unable to understand and manage emotions

17% because they lack the necessary motivation to excel

15% because they have the wrong temperament for the job

Lack of technical skills came in at #5, affecting only 11% of failures


So, when hiring or interviewing, choose (and exhibit) kindness.


What does this have to do with marriage counseling?

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Choose Kindness in Love:

Researcher Ty Tashiro, author of The Science of Happily Ever After, has an entertaining and informative TED talk on the traits that predict a happy marriage. It may seem depressing that even the happiest marriages decline in satisfaction over time. But, there is one thing that can mediate the decline: choosing the right traits in a partner from the get-go.

Tashiro polled people on the top three traits they wanted in a significant other. While most respondents said they wanted someone kind (obvious, right?), in practice they prioritized… you guessed it, looks and money. He followed these couples to determine a “return on investment” in the relationship. If we were to say each relationship starts with $1 million, by year 13, poor-choice couples have lost ~$800K. On the contrary, those couples that chose traits like kindness and emotional stability only lost 10% of relationship satisfaction, setting themselves up for a long and lasting love.

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The beauty is that even a trait like kindness can be learned. Yes, it entails more than common sense! In fact, it’s surprisingly much more nuanced and tactical, and relationship science breaks it down for us in a way that leadership courses don't. By using apps for relationship building such as LIFE Intelligence, people of all cultures and demographics can learn a universal language of love. Download as a more affordable, private alternative to online couples counseling. Learn to communicate, resolve conflict, and have meaningful conversations on the things that matter for lasting love.

July 5, 2020

Take it from a former investor: you are your best investment. Jasmine Chen is the creator of the LIFE Intelligence app, a science-backed DIY therapist, career coach, and relationship counselor in one. So you can manage stress and anxiety, improve work productivity, and build lasting relationships. After Princeton, Harvard Business School, and years of investing, Jasmine was disappointed to find herself and many high-achieving peers still dealing ineffectively with personal or professional problems, thus wasting a lot of productive mindspace. So, she left a hedge fund to write the comprehensive program she hopes can change the way entire companies and generations communicate and develop future leaders. Because both mental health and great managers start with self-management.

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