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Are You Left-Brained or Right-Brained?

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"Imagination is more important than knowledge." ~ Albert Einstein

For at least the last 100 years – and particularly in the last 50 years – the world has ignored half of the talents of the entire population of the planet. Confused? Read on!

Your brain is divided into two halves or hemispheres – Left and Right. The Right side is the source of all your big ideas, your imagination, your creativity, your intuition, and your emotions. The right side is great at seeing the big picture. The Left side is quite different. It’s more logical, analytical, and linear. It prefers the facts, and it sweats the details.

The rise of computer technology, and in particular the focus on data and analytics as the gold rush of our time, has led to a high value being placed on our predominantly left-brain STEM talents and traits, with the right-side all but ignored and forgotten.

That left-brain emphasis remains as we progress through the education system and into the workplace. And for most of us, that seems to work ok for a while in the early stages of our careers when we’re predominantly task-oriented data processors (no offence!). During this stage of our careers, the focus is on our knowledge, skills, and abilities – essentially ‘What we know.’ We need to execute effectively and achieve results: left-brain turf.

However, as our career progresses, it’s often accompanied by a dramatic shift to the right. Success in more senior roles, which typically require at least the ability to influence others (if not lead them directly) is more about inspiration and engagement. We’re told to ‘get creative’, ‘be innovative’, ‘build trust’, ‘show empathy’, and ‘follow our passions’. The problem is, we’ve forgotten how, because these are all right-brain dominant activities.

We hit a wall: That ‘wall’ is the division between the left and right sides of our brain.

Hence our opening assertion that we’re ignoring half of our talents – the right half! That’s why we’ve developed the Whole-Mind Manager model. We’re helping managers smash through that wall and draw on the amazing power of both the left and right side of their brains. Believe us when we tell you that, as a manager, and as a human being in the 21st century, your career depends on it.

This week’s inquiry…

How might more 'right-brain' thinking change the way you approach your biggest challenge this week?

Dive Deeper…

Dan Pink, perhaps most famous for his work on motivation in the groundbreaking “Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us”, explored the left-brain dominance of our modern culture in “A Whole New Mind”. In this short video, Dan explains why he thinks a more balanced use of our brain’s natural abilities, both left and right, will be crucial in the coming decades.

The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers-creative and holistic “right-brain” thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t.

Drawing on research from around the world, Pink outlines the six fundamentally human abilities that are absolute essentials for professional success and personal fulfillment – and reveals how to master them.

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