5 New, Must-Have Skills for the Rough and Tumble 2010s

Speaking of makeovers, the definition of human capital is getting a much-needed refashioning by David Brooks, author of the just-published The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement.

He describes a “new humanism,” and breaks it down into 5 poetic-sounding terms: attunement, equipoise, metis, sympathy and limerence.  From his op-ed piece of March 8, 2011:

Attunement: the ability to enter other minds and learn what they have to offer.

Equipoise: the ability to serenely monitor the movements of one’s own mind and correct for biases and shortcomings.

Metis: the ability to see patterns in the world and derive a gist from complex situations.

Sympathy: the ability to fall into a rhythm with those around you and thrive in groups.

Limerence: This isn’t a talent as much as a motivation. The conscious mind hungers for money and success, but the unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence when the skull line falls away and we are lost in love for another, the challenge of a task or the love of God. Some people seem to experience this drive more powerfully than others.

Trip out, right? These sound like traits of godliness. They also sound somewhat similar to emotional intelligence and social intelligence. The question is, if you’re not the Dalai Lama, how might you develop these skills? Brooks refers to them as “deeper talents,” which suggests that some people have more of a natural ability in these areas than others.

The first step is to identify that these skills are something you wish to develop. Then, considering their complexity, you might benefit from working with a professional guidance counselor like an executive coach or psychologist.

Which is to say, talking about your self relative to acquiring more limerence, metis and equipoise is a helpful way to equip yourself to navigate the world of work in the 2010s, and beyond.

Do you identify as having any combination of these 5 skills? Which ones, and how?

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