Like dinosaurs of old, left-brain dominance is fading away. The left hemisphere of the brain is no longer making the final decisions about consumer spending and growing a business. We are shifting from a left-brain, information age to a right-brain, conceptual era where understanding and shaping trends and the big picture are vital.
Split-brain research is by now well-known. The left brain is rational, logical, verbal, intellectual and analytical, whereas the right brain is intuitive, holistic, integrative, nonverbal and creative. Both halves work together, but right-brain thinking has been shortchanged. Therefore, the majority of people and businesses are left-brain dominant.
Not long ago, a billboard in Silicon Valley read, “1,000,000 people can do your job. What makes you so special?” Right- brain thinking, that’s what. Left-brain skills are being utilized more economically through technology, outsourcing, off- shoring, and subcontracting. People and businesses need to adapt to a changing landscape.
Don’t get me wrong: Left-brained workers will always be needed, but creative workers will most likely occupy the director’s chair. Businesses and organizations that learn how to flex their right-brain muscles will have a clear advantage over those that do not.
A vital question companies need to ask is “How do we get the most out of our people and our business?” The answer is use the “whole” of each person, not just a half. Create a “whole” brain team made up of different brain preferences. Successful people and businesses know that two brains (left and right hemispheres) are better than one.
Most of us are inherently creative in one way or another. We have just let our right brains get a little soft over the years. As adults we use only about one-quarter of our capacity for creative work.
Here are some ways that you can strengthen your right-brain skills and become more mentally “whole.”
• Explore different perspectives. Make a conscious effort to seek out differing viewpoints, beliefs, assumptions or concepts and understand and connect with them.
• Mingle with right-brainers. Make a study of their desired characteristics. Observe, question, and then experiment with your discoveries.
• Challenge your natural tendencies. Get out of your comfort zone. Read and write backward (a Da Vinci favorite). Brush your teeth with your other hand. Practice relying on instinct, intuition and empathy.
• Participate in something creative. Sometimes using the mind in a different way (painting, drawing, singing, acting, etc.) is enough to flip on the creative switch.
• Engage your imagination. View yourself as a creative consultant seeking ways to improve the image, style, brand and function of what you see and use each day. What would you change? Why? How?
• Change your daily routines. This will stimulate your creative juices and ideas will follow. Your brain likes challenges and responds better to change than to routine.
• Ask “what if?” This is an easy but powerful way to get your imagination going.
• Flex your risk muscle. Everyone has one. You keep it in shape by trying new things. Make it a point to take at least one risk every week.
The future belongs to those who can master right-brain skills, such as creativity, problem-solving, resourcefulness, communication, leadership and relationship-building. Right-brain thinking is coming of age and is already in high demand.
The right brain can make a big difference in your quest for success.
Brad Larsen is a life coach and corporate consultant from Northern Utah. He can be reached at email@example.com.