For all the “odd” and “misfit” alien right brainers out there (writers, artists, designers, philosophers, caretakers, counselors, inventors). Good news has been leaking into the press slowly but surely. The left brainer’s rule of the kingdom in the career world is slowly changing. (For all the right brainers, I have included extra videos and pictures in my post today.)

If you haven’t encountered the books or videos by Daniel Pink, then you should check out his book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. It was published in 2006, but I am continually encountering people in workshops that are not aware of his research. I find him very inspiring and encouraging. He is a bright light in the career development field and to the right brainers out there who feel like they have been undervalued in the educational and career worlds. Daniel Pink states that “left brain abilities are necessary, but no longer sufficient” in the current marketplace. And, he states,

Lawyers. Accountants. Computer programmers. That’s what our parents encouraged us to become when we grew up. But Mom and Dad were wrong. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of “left brain” dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which “right brain” qualities-inventiveness, empathy, meaning-predominate.


It’s More Than Just a Career Choice – It’s a War in Our Brains

The left brain abilities that we were trained to accept as the “preferred” way of functioning have far-reaching effects in our lives beyond our career choice and how we function in the work world. The emphasis on using left brain abilities impacts our relationships and emotional health. In Left Brain Right Brain, by Dan Eden, he discusses the implications of the War of the Brains:

The two brains not only see the world in vastly different ways but, in our current society, the left side just “doesn’t get” what the right side is all about. It tends to dismiss anything significant coming into consciousness from its “flaky” cranial twin. Sometimes two sides can actually disagree, resulting in our perception of emotional turmoil from the expressive protests of right brain.

Our conscious mind can only focus on data from one brain at a time. We can switch from one side to the other very quickly (with our corpus collosum intact) but that’s not always the most efficient way to act and eventually ultimate authority to enter consciousness is delegated to one brain or the other. In our modern world, this battle is almost always won by the left brain.

It appears that most people will never reach their maximum potential because of compromises that have been made between these two governing bodies. Sometimes skills which the right brain can perform better are routinely handled, with less skill, by the left brain. Ideally, both brains work together in people with optimum mental ability. This coordinating ability may be the key to superior intellectual abilities. In most people, however, the left brain takes control, choosing logic, reasoning and details over imagination, holistic thinking and artistic talent.

Could Left Brain Training Be A Major Cause of Writer’s Block?

Just think of the implications for the development of talent in our society when our educational system primarily teaches kids to use their left brain abilities. Our media and culture have been brainwashing us since childhood to use our left brain abilities to do most everything in our daily lives. Our heavy left brain training can actually be responsible for much of our “writer’s block.” Most writers have to retrain their right brain to come out and play. Last week I talked about Right Brain Exercises, which are vital to prevent this scenario, described by Dan Eden:

Methods have been devised to “shut off” the left brain, allowing the right side to have its say. Creative writing courses often use this method to combat “writer’s block.” The logical left side is easily bored by lack of input and tends to “doze off” during such activities as meditation (repeating a mantra or word over and over) or in sensory deprivation environments. The right brain is then able to “sneak” into our consciousness, filling our minds with emotional and visual vignettes and freely associated images. All too quickly, though, the left brain will assert itself and dispense with these irrational images, asserting its Spock-like logical dominance and the right brain will have to be content to find expression in dreams.

Fun Play
Do you know if you are left brain or right brain dominant? Here is fun optical illusion that can give you an indication of your dominance.

It is fun, check out this dancer – do you see her turning clockwise or counter-clockwise?

If clockwise – then you are right brain dominant
If counter-clockwise – then left brain dominant
Some people can see it going both directions if they concentrate.
Here is the solution. There are white lines that show you how to view it both ways.

In reality, we are always using both sides of our brain to accomplish tasks.  As we get older, we can develop stronger skills from both sides of our brain if we work on it. So, whether you are left brain or right brain dominant, it is always a good idea to exercise your right brain skills so they don’t get flabby. In Left Brain Right Brain, by Dan Eden, describes the functions of each side of the brain:

LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
knowing
acknowledges
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies
practical
safe

RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS

uses feeling
“big picture” oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
believes
appreciates
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
impetuous
risk taking


Hello #writerlbsOff! I will only be posting two more times for our group. Beginning in May, I will stop using #writerlbsOff on Twitter, and use #Writers_Life. I hope you will continue to follow along in this fun little community we have created. And, I will continue to have parties!! Speaking of parties, get ready for our final #writerlbsOff blast on April 30th, which conveniently is on a Friday.

How have you been doing? Do you feel that your life in moving in a more healthy and creative direction since January 1st?

Are you left brain or right brain dominant? How has that affected your writing – good and bad? Could you see the dancer only one way? Or could you see it both ways?