Chapter 2. Personal Foresight - Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Emotional & Social Intelligence – Primal Challenges

Emotional intelligence is commonly defined as the ability to monitor, value, and acknowledge one’s own and other people’s emotions, and to appropriately use and manage emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. We can call System 1, and the emotional dimensions of our social intelligence (System 3) our “primal challenges” because these are our oldest evolutionary systems of intelligence. They are also primal because they can easily short-circuit our cognitive intelligence.

Psychologist Daniel Goleman coined the concept of amygdala hijacking, where extreme emotions like fear can short-circuit, or “hijack” our ability to think rationally about an issue. But speaking more generally, we know that any strong emotion, including fear, depression, or mania can easily overwhelm our thinking and put us into a far more primal and primitive way of doing both foresight and action. To be adaptive in the modern world, we need to use all our intelligences on our problems, and keep each of them, even the most primitive and powerful ones, in service to our goals. Many researchers, including Goleman, characterize emotional intelligence as four things:

Four Components of EI and SI

Four Components of EI and SI

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

The first two of these are System 1, emotional intelligence (EI) and the second two are System 3 (social intelligence (SI). It is easy to make the case that these are functionally separate (many distinct as well as some shared neural circuits and functions) yet complementary systems of intelligences.

Unfortunately the field of social intelligence hasn’t yet matured enough for this split to occur, so current assessment tools typically lump EI and SI together and call all four “emotional intelligence.” This is a convenient start, but it isn’t where the field needs to end up. We also need to recognize that the temptations to misuse our emotional and social intelligence grows the stronger our EI and SI become.

We must also remember that having high intelligence alone, of any kind, is not necessarily adaptive. Our intelligence is just one of the Five (I4S) Goals (behaviors, purposes, challenges) of complex systems, as we discuss in the global and universal foresight section of this Guide. Our individual intelligence needs to be balanced by the other four goals that appear to be key contributors to adaptiveness: innovation (creativity, diversity), interdependence (ethics, collective intelligence), immunity (security, empathy, defensive intelligence), and sustainability (evidence-seeking, health), as we have discussed. See Janae Ernst’s post (2017) for more on the underappreciated potential for misuse of high emotional intelligence, and be on the lookout for misuse in yourself.

In the Eight Skills model, Relating well to others (also called relationship building by Gallup), is the skill that is most dependent on good emotional intelligence, and Influencing is the skill most dependent on social intelligence. The other six skills can be considered primarily cognitive intelligence. Practitioners with good emotional and social skills can go very far in their foresight work and careers. Those without such skills very often sabotage themselves, and may not even know why.

Goleman’s EIA

Goleman’s EIA

There are three popular models for and measures for EQ, a traits model, a skills model and a leadership-focused mixed traits-skills model. The latter model is developed by Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, 2005, Working with Emotional Intelligence (2000), and Primal Leadership (2013). Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence Appraisal (EIA) is a good in-depth test of EQ and SQ. The EIA can be self-reported or taken as a 360-degree assessment for peer feedback. By taking both the self-reported and the peer-reported form and comparing them, you can discover if you presently have good self-awareness of your own emotional and social intelligence in various contexts. The Society for Human Resource Management offers a $50 consultant version of the EIA at their website.

Inputs to our Abilities

Inputs to our Abilities

A helpful online self-assessment of EI and SI is offered by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, 2009. This inexpensive and fast test gives you a very rough idea of your EQ and SQ, and which is higher, and their book offer several dozen EI- and SI-building strategies for those who self-rate as particularly low in any of the four categories of EI and SI. Simple free online tests of EQ/SQ can also be found at The Guardian and Psychology Today. There are many criticisms of today’s early EQ/SQ models, including attribute definition issues, measurement problems, lack of attribute correlation, and poor predictive value. But we must start somewhere, and I find these tools valuable, even with their current drawbacks.

low vs high EI

low vs high EI

Bradberry and Greaves TalentSmart consultancy proposes that a three factor model, our EI (emotional and social intelligence) our CI (cognitive intelligence), and our personality traits combine together to determine our abilities (picture above). They make the interesting case that our EI is the major determinant of how our personality traits are perceived by others (picture right). They also claim that EQ predicts “58% of job performance,” and that “only 36% of people are able to accurately identify (self-monitor) their emotions as they happen”. Whether these numbers are replicable or not, they clearly are on to something of real value. Our and others emotional states are very often going to be the most important factor we need to assess, and try to manage, to get anywhere in life.

One foundation for emotional intelligence is our ability to control (a more accurate word than delay) our gratification. When System 2 is working well, it determines when and to what degree System 1 gets its emotional reward for various behaviors. In this approach to EI and CI, which I particulary like, we are emotionally and cognitively intelligent when we are able to choose our pleasures and rewards based on our recent behaviors and our reasonable expectations of future reward. We may delay some gratifications now in return for bigger ones later, but only if the delay is reasonable and the payoff is worth the wait. The idea of self-control of gratification is a classic in the self-help literature. Napoleon Hill, author of the classic Think and Grow Rich, 1937, talks about allowing ourselves small rewards whenever we’ve made an impressive recent effort or have had a recent success. Harnessing our emotional rewards to our cognitive recognition of either our controllable behavior or our marginal growth is the ideal.

Some fascinating evidence for these ideas are found in the famous Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. In the 1960s, psychologist Walter Mischel designed a self-control and expectations test for four year olds. They were told by an experimenter that if they did not eat a marshmallow that was placed their desks for 15 minutes, they would receive a second marshmallow at the end of the 15 minute period. Roughly a third of four year olds were able to wait the full 15 minutes for the future reward, with no one else in the room during that time. When they were reexamined as teens, those able to wait the full period for a future reward had vastly better Scholastic Aptitude Test scores (200+ points higher), better academic achievement, social skills, planning ability, and stress management abilities. Reexamined again in their thirties, those who could wait had measurably greater life success, significantly less obesity (lower BMIs), fewer addictive behaviors and lower divorce rates.

Mischel (2015)

Mischel (2015)

Every minute of self-control in this test was correlated with significant improvements in these and other effort and social performance variables later in life. Mischel summarizes his findings in The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control, 2015. The late Joachim de Posada later replicated this experiment with four to six year olds in Mexico, with similar results. See his TED talk, Don’t Eat the Marshmallow!, 2009. If one finds one’s child (or one’s self) unable to pass this test, take a look at John Gottman’s Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, 1998, and similar works. Adopt a growth mindset with your child, and realize that your EQ, like your IQ, can be raised with effort and foresight, or lowered with trauma and neglect.

Goleman (2007)

Goleman (2007)

Daniel Goleman’s Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, 2007, is an excellent introduction to the emerging research and useful action items for improving System 3. I highly recommend this book. It is a great survey of the literature to that point, and makes the case that social intelligence is a separate system in its own right. One of the many dimensions of social intelligence is making better choices of who you have in your intentional “culture”, so you spend more work and social time with people who deeply support your aspirational traits and goals. Christakis and Fowler’s Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives (2011), is a flawed but useful source for more on that.

There’s a big social intelligence payoff to raising your personal EQ. The better you get at diagnosing, monitoring and managing emotional and social issues in your own life, the better you become at helping teams deal with them as well. For building emotional intelligence on teams, Hughes and Terrell’s The Emotionally Intelligent Team, 2007, and their test of Team Emotional and Social intelligence (TESI) are useful starts.

Pat Lencioni’s engaging fictional business narrative, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, 2002, and his workbook, Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions, 2005, while not yet very evidence-based, is a persuasive model for growing emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Five Team Dysfunctions, Lencioni (2005)

Five Team Dysfunctions, Lencioni (2005)

Lencioni’s five team dysfunctions listed from most fundamental (#1) to least fundamental (#5), are:

  1. Absence of trust
  2. Fear of conflict
  3. Lack of commitment
  4. Avoidance of accountability
  5. Inattention to results

The foundational dysfunction is absence of trust. Insufficient trust results in people being “invulnerable” in their relationships. They don’t share their problems, so they don’t help each other to manage them. The second great dysfunction is fear of conflict, which leads people to only talk about the positive, or nothing of importance, ignoring the difficult issues, and setting the team up for missed targets, rising hidden problems, and failure. Note that the first two of Lencioni’s dysfunctions, reading from the bottom up, have emotion right at their core. The last three have a lack of sufficient emotional energy with respect to the group (not the individual), at their core. When the team isn’t providing emotional support, people check out, and attend to their own issues, from their own private perspectives.

For more help in addressing the first dysfunction, Stephen Covey’s The Speed of Trust (2008) is a great primer. For the second, Gallup’s Breaking The Fear Barrier (2011), offers simple diagnostics to find out if your client’s teams have any emotional or social blocks and challenges. Very often fear (of change, of looking foolish, of failing, etc.), is the “elephant in the room”, paralyzing the team and keeping them focused on nonstrategic issues, rather than confronting uncomfortable truths. For the third dysfunction, Nathanial Branden’s Taking Responsibility, 1997 and John Izzo’s Stepping Up, 2012, are both solid starts. For the last two dysfunctions, turn to our detailed discussion of the Eight Skills in Chapter 5. Leaders and teams using the Eight Skills can reestablish powerful team commitment via the Influence and Relating skills, and they can stop inattention to results via the Reviewing and Learning skills. But they can only do that if the more foundational personal issues of trust and fear of conflict have been addressed.

If you want to use your intelligences for trait-change work, this usually begins with recognizing the parts of your personality you admire, seeing clearly the parts you don’t like, and learning how to regularly measure both, via the judgment of trusted others, for example, via 360 degree feedback.

See Barry Duncan’s What’s Right With You (2005), and Peterson and Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues (2004) for more on understanding your positive traits, and envisioning a more ideal self, someone you can realistically aspire to be.

To do this great personal work, you must admit that you really do have power to change your traits over time, even though that change will be slow, will require willpower, and the help of others (System 3). You’ll need better control of System 1 (emotion), via better thinking and strategy from System 2 (cognition), especially cognitive behavioral therapy, as self-therapy, professional therapy, or via your group (discussed in the next subsection). You’ll also need good strategies from System 4 (technology) and System 5 (environment), making important changes in your physical and technological environment. Let’s briefly overview Systems 2, 4, and 5 now.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 2. Personal Foresight – Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 2: Personal Foresight

Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 4. Models – Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 4: Models

Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 7. Acceleration – Guiding Our Extraordinary Future

Chapter 7: Acceleration

Guiding Our Extraordinary Future (In Process)

II. Global Progress: 5 Goals, 10 Values, Many Trends

Innovation: Our Abundant Future
Intelligence: Our Augmented Future
Interdependence: Our Civil Future
Immunity: Our Protected Future
Sustainability: Our Rebalanced Future

III. Universal Accelerating Change

Great Race to Inner Space: Our Surprising Future
Entropy&Information: We’re Running Down & Up
The Puzzle of Meaning: We Have No Einstein Yet
Trees, Funnels & Landscapes: Intro to Evo Devo
Big Picture Change: Five Scales of Accelerating ED
Transcension Hypothesis: Where Acceleratn Ends?
IDABDAK: Social Response to Accel & Developmnt
We’re On a Runaway Train: Being Accelaware

IV. Evo Devo and Exponential Foresight

Seeing It All: Accel., Diverg, Adapt, Convrg, Decel.
Natural (I4S) Innovation: The Evolutionary Drive
Natural (I4S) Intelligence: The Human-AI Partnership
Natural (I4S) Morality: Why Empathy and Ethics Rule
Natural (I4S) Security: Strength from Disruption
Natural (I4S) Sustainability: The Developmental Drive
S-Curves: Managing the Four Constituencies
Pain to Gain: Traversing the Three Kuznets Phases
Hype to Reality: Beyond Hype Cycles to Reality Checks
Exponentials Database: Measuring Accelerations
TINA Trends: Societal Evolutionary Development
Managing Change: STEEPCOP Events, Probs, Ideas
A Great Shift: A Survival to a Sentient Economy

V. Evo Devo and Exponential Activism

Building Protopias: Five Goals of Social Progress
Normative Foresight: Ten Values of Society
Top & STEEPCOP Acceleratns: Positive & Negative
Dystopias, Risks, and Failure States
Three Levels of Activism: People, Tech & Universe
A Great Opportunity: Exponential Empowerment


Chapter 8. Your Digital Self – The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

Chapter 8: Your Digital Self

The Human Face of the Coming Singularity (In Process)

I. Your Personal AI (PAI): Your Digital Self

Digital Society: Data, Mediation, and Agents
Personal AIs: Advancing the Five Goals
PAI Innovation: Abundance and Diversity
PAI Intelligence: Bio-Inspired AI
PAI Morality: Selection and Groupnets
PAI Security: Safe Learning Agents
PAI Sustainability: Science and Balance
The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

II. PAI Protopias & Dystopias in 8 Domains

1. Personal Agents: News, Ent., Education
2. Social Agents: Relat. and Social Justice
3. Political Agents :  Activism & Represent.
4. Economic Agents:  Retail, Finance, Entrep
5. Builder Agents :  Work, Innov. & Science
6. Environ. Agents : Pop. and Sustainability
7. Health Agents :  Health, Wellness, Death
8. Security Agents :  Def., Crime, Corrections

III. PAI Activism & Exponential Empowerment

Next Government: PAIs, Groupnets, Democ.
Next Economy: Creat. Destr. & Basic Income
Next Society: PAI Ent., Mortality & Uploading
What Will Your PAI Contribution Be?

Chapter 10. Startup Ideas – Great Product & Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs

Chapter 10: Startup Ideas

Great Product and Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs (In Process)

I. 4U’s Idea Hub: Building Better Futures

Air Deliveries and Air Taxis: Finally Solving Urban Gridlock
Ballistic Shields and Gun Control: Protecting Us All from Lone Shooters
Bioinspiration Wiki: Biomimetics and Bio-Inspired Design
Brain Preservation Services: Memory and Mortality Redefined
Carcams: Document Thieves, Bad Driving, and Bad Behavior
Competition in Govt Services: Less Corruption, More Innovation
Computer Adaptive Education (CAE): Better Learning and Training
Conversational Deep Learning Devsuites: Millions of AI Coders
Digital Tables: Telepresence, Games, Entertainment & Education
Dynaships: Sustainable Low-Speed Cargo Shipping
Electromagnetic Suspension: Nausea-Free Working & Reading in Cars
Epigenetic Health Tests: Cellular Aging, Bad Diet, Body Abuse Feedback
Fireline Explosives and Ember Drones: Next-Gen Fire Control
Global English: Empowering the Next Generation of Global Youth
Greenbots: Drone Seeders and Robotic Waterers for Mass Regreening
High-Density Housing and Zoning: Making Our Cities Affordable Again
Highway Enclosures and Trail Networks: Green and Quiet Urban Space
Inflatable Packaging: Faster and Greener Shipping and Returns
Internet of Families: Connecting People Over Things
Kidcams: Next-Gen Security for Child Safety and Empowerment
Kidpods: Indoor & Outdoor Parent-Assistive Toyboxes
Microdesalination: Democratizing Sustainable Fresh Water Production
Noise Monitors: Documenting and Reducing Noise Pollution
Oceanside Baths: Sustainable Year Round Beach Enjoyment
Open Blood Scanners: DIY Citizen Health Care Sensor Tech
Open Streaming Radio: User-Centered Audio Creation and Rating
Open Streaming Video: User-Centered Video Creation and Rating
Open Values Filters: Social Rankers, Arg. Mappers, and Consensus Finders
Personal AIs: Your Private Advisor, Activist, and Interface to the World
Pet Empowerment: Next-Gen Rights and Abilities for Our Domestic Animals
Safe Closets: Fire-, Earthquake-, and Intruder-Proof Retreat Spaces
Safe Cars: Reducing Our Insane 1.3M Annual Auto Deaths Today
Safe Motorcycles: Lane Splitting in Gridlock Without Risk of Death
Shared Value Insurance: User-Centered Risk Reduction Services
Sleeperbuses and Microhotels: Demonetized Intercity Travel
Space-Based Solar Power: Stratellite Powering and Weather Management
Stratellites: Next-Gen Urban Broadband, Transparency, and Security
Touch DNA: Next-Gen Home Security and Crime Deterrence
View Towers: Improving Urban Walkability, Inspiration, and Community

Chapter 11. Evo Devo Foresight – Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Chapter 11: Evo Devo Foresight

Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Appendix 1. Peer Advice – Building a Successful Foresight Practice