With the U.S. presidential primaries just around the corner, it becomes essential for each of us to consider what mindsight skills the candidates exhibit for the benefit of not only those in the United States, but for those around the world. Mindsight is the ability to perceive the mind, and this includes three facets: insight, empathy and integration.
Insight is the capacity to sense the sea inside, to link past-present-and- future, and to have both self-awareness and self-regulation. This is how we make a representation, or “mindsight map” of me.
Empathy is the capacity to make a “mindsight map” of you. It is how we take on others’ perspectives to see through their eyes, to sense another’s emotion, to resonate with them, and to consider that the other’s point of view may have a validity of its own – even if itdiffers from our own point of view.
Integration is the linkage of differentiated parts of a system. In the brain, this means that differentiated parts are connected to each other. It turns out that integration is the best predictor of well-being across a range of measures, as recently revealed by the international collaboration known as the Human Connectome Project. Similarly, in a relationship, integration is how we honor differences and promote linkages within ourselves and within others. It is how we both respect others for having different backgrounds and at the same time come together and compassionately connect with others.
Mindsight is a skill that can be learned. However, we come to live our lives recursively, meaning that we bring to the world what we carry – or don’t carry – already inside of us. And so, the question for us to ask ourselves becomes: what mindsight skills do our leaders – or potential leaders – already have in their toolkit? As I listen to the candidates, this is one of the key questions that I am asking, because a world filled with mindsight would be a world more likely to become filled with kindness and compassion.
If you’re interested in learning more about the intersection of mindsight and politics, please take a look at the Mindsight Institute’s Mindsight in Action: 10 Practical Applications lecture series offering, which features 10 separate two-hour lectures on topics including Mindsight in Politics, Mindsight at Work, Mindsight in the Media and Thriving with Uncertainty in Life, among others. If you’re interested in learning more, please click here.