Have you known about the prevalent left mind/right cerebrum identity, intrigue and ability hypothesis? It essentially expresses that the left and right sides of the equator of your mind lead polarizing capacities inside your identity. The side that is more grounded will figure out whether you have a greater amount of an expository or inventive identity; Most individuals have a tendency to be prevalently left-brained or right-brained.
Roger W. Sperry, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology /Medicine in 1981, was the first person to recognize that the brain’s hemispheres demonstrate separate functions as he studied epileptic seizures. His discovery became a bit of an urban legend, and grew in common knowledge and belief.
The left side of the brain is said to control logic and analysis, while the right side controls creativity and intuition (among other things).
Some say this generalization of right/ left-brain function is over simplified and not true. That, both sides of the brain are required in order to perform functions like math and language.
Even so, haven’t you noticed that most people do tend to act in manner congruent with the split brain? We’re all familiar with the struggling artist archetype who forgets to pay their bills on time and seems to live in a perpetual state of being one late payment away from homelessness (right-brained). Or the color-blind financial analyst who asks his wife if turquoise is blue or green (left-brained). Turquoise is, by the way, a combination of both green and blue.
My Right Brain/ Left Brain Dilemma
I’ve spent most my life as a right-brained creative. However, I’ve had training developing both sides of my brain. I used my left-brain as an economics major and then to my right to earn a fashion design degree. My dream was to become a designer- but I knew I had to understand numbers and business in order to run one. I didn’t want to depend on someone else to maintain that function while I focused solely on the creative side.
It was difficult for me to learn to use my left brain. I had to take calculus four times in college and even high school algebra was a monster for me to pick up. And when I was a pre-teen I remember being taught to write a check and balance a check book. I clearly remember the feeling that being an adult must be the closest thing to torture if I had to do things like that.
But once I (finally) learned those traditionally left-brain concepts, I got top grades in my math classes, sometimes scoring highest in the class: 103% on math economics tests. I just had to learn to flex that muscle. Once of my friends who is a financial analyst at American Express often walks past me when I’m designing fashion and says things like “Oh creatives… I love to watch you work, I’m so not creative”.
I want to tell him it’s not true, he just has to work and get stronger in that area of his life. He, like many people, tells himself and the world that he’s “not creative” (left-siders), or “not good with numbers” (right-siders).
I learned to use both my right and left brain in equal measure. I think I can actually feel which side of my brain is working when I switch between the roles of Creative Director and Chief Financial Officer for my company.
Gaining comfort with both sides can offer left-brainers comfort in thinking outside the box and more creatively in your problem solving, marketing and team management efforts. And as a right-sider, developing your left-side can give you confidence in negotiating business terms, crunching numbers, raising capital and building projections.
When I’m operating from my Right Brain, I’m:
- Color Sensitive
- Music-Loving (Can’t Function Without It)
- Up All Night Creating
- Make A Lot Of Spelling Errors
- Forget To Reply To Emails
- Would Forget To Pay Bills If I didn’t Have An Alarm Set To Remind Me
- All Over The Place (Mentally, Physically & Emotionally)
- Warm & Gregarious
- Sensitive & Emotional
- My Physical Space is A Mess
- Just As Likely To Take The Day Off And Watch YouTube All Day
I’ve also noticed that my creative team (branding, designers) respond better when I’m operating from this playful tone.
When I’m operating from my Left Brain, I’m:
- Love Crunching Numbers
- Can Only Listen To Classical Music, Everything Else Is Too Distracting
- I’m Always Intuitive But In This State I Try To Shit It Off
- Early To Bed And Early To Rise
- Read Copy Five Times For Spelling Errors
- On Top Of My Bills and Emails
- Planning Ahead
- Stern & Cold
- My Physical Space Is Organized
- Analytical, Preferring Intellect over Emotions
- My Work-a-holic Tendencies Are On 100
I’ve also noticed that my my analysis teams (legal, investors, accounting) respond better to me when I operate from this serious tone.
If you want to become more balanced in your approach to life-by becoming more creative/expressive/musical or becoming more analytical/disciplined/ numerical, here are some tips to build muscle on the other side of your brain.
Creatives, To Develop Your Left-Brian
Get Up Earlier- Left brainers are notoriously early risers and right brainers stay up late working or waiting for their creative juices to wind down. Get up at 6am. Drink a coffee/tea, go do yoga/ workout, and get things done. Go to bed by 10pm. Then do it again, for a week. Then build that into your routine once a month.
Learn Excel / Take A Quick Books Class- Nothing will get you more comfortable with numbers then getting over your fear of mathematical software. Be patient with learning it, but tackle it. It will give you a major boost in left-brained confidence!
Work With Lawyers- Having to read, comprehend and discuss 24 page legal documents will switch you over to the left-brain really quickly. A lot of artists get cheated out of money because they don’t fully comprehend or even read the contracts they sign. Flex your left brain!
Create A Daily To-Do List And Get Everything On It Done- My to-do list is massive but keeps me completely sane. Create one for the day and week, prioritize what is most important to execute first, and commit to getting it all done. And while you’re at it, create alarms in your phone to remind you to pay your bills ahead of time. Or put all your bills on auto-pay. Pay more than the minimum payment.
Analyzers, To Develop Your Right Brian
Take A Creative Class- Learning creativity (writing, cooking, painting, drawing) will help open up the colorful pathways in your brain. You can also do this by coloring/ painting/ cooking with your kids.
Put On Really Bad Top 40’s Pop Music- And sing really loud to it. Because I know you know the words. Stop acting like you don’t! Break out of conformity and rigidity and get comfortable belting out music… off key. Let yourself go. And here’s the hard part… let your neighbors/ family hear you. I feel that few things switch me over to my right brain like fun music.
Sleep In- No better yet- stay in bed all day. Get your Netflix password ready, grab take out menus of your favorite delivery spots, put on your favorite pajamas and grab your pillows and comforters. Then do nothing but sleep, eat, and watch your smart TV all day. Take it on as an assignment if that makes you feel better about doing nothing.
Forget Your To Do List- Wake up one weekend with zero plans. Go wherever the wind takes you. If there is a neighborhood in your city you have always wanted to explore go there. Eat alone at a restaurant you have always wanted to go to. Visit the botanical garden, take a nap in the park. Flex your right brain muscle and go wherever it takes you.
Buy A Really Colorful Outfit, Shirt Or Tie- Then wear it to work. Smile when everyone does a double take.