332: How leaders choose better

April 26, 2020 by Joshua
in Podcast

Leadership means choosing and deciding for yourself and for others. To lead effectively, it helps to know how you choose and what happens in your heart and mind when you choose—that is, how your intellect and emotions interact in the decision-making process.

This episode refines and adds an element to a model by a guest of this podcast, Jonathan Haidt, for how we decide. I describe his model—you may know it, about the rider on the elephant, which contrasts with a common model of a charioteer with horses. Then I describe how our world differs from the world where his model applies. His model still works as long as we’re in a benign environment.

My model adds a different part of our minds from emotion and intellect. We live in a world where other people try to motivate us to do what they want, not always to help us. People get us to associate sugar-water with happiness or jeans with sex. They actively do it. The elephant isn’t choosing among benign options as it did in our ancestors’ world, little constructed by humans.

I present a model where our emotions are like an ox with a ring through its nose with people around it tugging at the ring.

That’s the start of the model. I describe it more in the audio.

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