When you work in the training and development space, as I do with Excel, it’s pretty common to have ‘off the wall’ conversations with people about human nature and behaviour.
Particularly when you deliver programmes which help people improve their personal impact.
I guess this is a natural human trait; if I am in this box, does it make me ‘do’ things in a certain way?
Well sometimes……. and this shouldn’t be perceived in a negative way. Difference is good.
So, a conversation I had a few weeks ago with a manager on one of our programmes surprised me.
We got into a conversation on right brain versus left brain and ‘should’ the individual in question develop a team with a bias towards, in his case, the right brain…..
…… as you can imagine it wasn’t my recommendation!
So, today I want to explore left versus right brain as this question does come up a lot.
Maybe it’s because here at Excel we work with many scientific organisations where there is a perception of left-brain bias and also with a huge number of creative teams too; where everyone is assumed to be right brained.
So, let’s get into it.
Hi there everyone, this is Rachel from the Learn Grow Succeed Podcast.
Today our topic is left versus right brain skills and attributes and what should we be doing when it comes to building our teams.
I’ll explain more in a moment……
First though, if you are new here… hello and welcome 😊!
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So, let’s talk about the many gifts of being left or right brained.
Let’s start with being left brained…
Left brained people are often described as mathematical and organised. A lover of spreadsheets, planning and most definitely not chaos.
As we live in a technology–driven world, you think being left brained is where it’s at?
After all the left side of our brain controls all the functions and thinking related to logic, analytics, system, and process. Also, the development of our left brain helps us feel separate and to a large degree gives us a time and space reference too.
All much-needed facets of our life, which help us reach the end of our working week intact!
However, if this is all there is… how we experience our lives would be pretty dull; wouldn’t it?
No stunning works of art in The National Gallery or Guggenheim Museum to lift our spirits. No Mother Theresa to show us how to ‘be’ compassionate.
Luckily we have the right brain too, which gives us balance.
Let’s refresh our memory on what the right brain is all about.
The right brain is the area, on a cellular level, where we are more compassionate, more intuitive, more inclusive, and as you might expect more creative.
It’s also where we experience generalities.
Here is the thing though, as we continue to become more advanced as human beings…. and….. as we tweak and manipulate our physical world, we are in much greater need of developing our inner world too.
So, what if we respected the gifts our right brain can add to our experience too?
What if we developed our right brain alongside our left brain – would this give us access to a better experience? I think so.
Let me clarify what I am saying here…
We aren’t all left or right brain. We are all at various positions or points along a spectrum.
The big challenge for many people is that they work in a predominantly ‘left brain’ environment.
Yet here is the thing…. when we truly tap into our creativity we can deliver a colossal amount of work in a short space of time and suddenly that ‘right brained’ employee…. This might be you…. is powering through more work than you ever thought possible!
In all walks of life, we see this right-brained work demon portrayed in the cinema and TV.
Robert Downey Junior in Sherlock Holmes and Benedict Cumberbatch in the TV series, then, of course, there was “Doc” Brown in ‘Back to the Future’, the mad professor who ends up sending Marty McFly back in time to have a date with his mother!
Then, of course, there is Albert Einstein, a classic left brain chap whose major breakthroughs happened when he tapped into his right brain creative abilities.
All examples of those right brain geniuses.
Over the years, I can recognise these traits in many of the participants who have taken part in our programmes at Excel.
So how do we develop our right brain and all it’s wonderful gifts?
Developing our intuition is one activity, though this isn’t going to happen overnight!
However, here are a few tips to get you started in the here and now.
Let’s start with meditation.
When researchers at Harvard decided to test what happened to the brain during intense moments of meditation and prayer, across a broad interfaith study group, they were amazed to see actual changes in brain activity among the participants.
No surprise then that the ‘chatter’ of the left brain decreased as the test subjects relaxed and moved into their happy place.
Over on the Excel blog, one of our most popular posts is on using mindfulness consistently to improve your performance.
Setting aside even five minutes a day to a mindfulness technique can strengthen your feelings of compassion and intuition and can do wonders for clarity in terms of decisions that need to be made at work.
Other techniques to stimulate creative brain activity: Take hot baths (advice from the original mad man himself, creative guru David Ogilvy), read from varied and unusual sources otherwise unrelated to your field of work.
Change the routine.
Challenging though it might be getting off the computer and smartphone for two hours a day and find something to focus on that is just for the sheer joy of it, helps.
Might be a stretch, but sing, draw, and dance.
And most importantly have fun… then watch the connections happen.
A different topic today which I hope you’ll find useful.
So, this is Rachel saying bye for now.
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