A Whole New Mind
August 2, 2012
You’ve probably heard people described as either “left brain” or “right brain” thinkers. A person who is “left brained” is often said to be more logical, analytical and objective. Think attorneys, computer programmers, accountants. A person who is “right brained” is inclined to being intuitive, thoughtful, subjective; artists and musicians fall into this category.
This concept of left/right brain thinking developed from the late-1960s research of American psycho-biologist Roger W. Sperry, who actually won the Nobel Prize (1981) for this work. He discovered that the human brain has two very different ways of thinking. The left brain is verbal and processes information in an analytical and sequential way, looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole. The other (the right brain) is visual and processes information in an intuitive and simultaneous way, looking first at the whole picture then the details.
Traditionally, our information driven society has placed more value on “left brainers.” But Daniel H. Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the World, argues that America is moving into a “conceptual age” and that right-brain qualities – inventiveness, empathy, meaning – will be dominant attributes that have a better chance of overcoming the obstacles of this new era, while left-brain activities can be relegated to computers and outsourced to workers overseas.
Pink writes, ““…the defining skills of the previous era – the ‘left brain’ capabilities that powered the Information age – are necessary but no longer sufficient. And the capabilities we once disdained or thought frivolous – the ‘right-brain’ qualities of inventiveness, empathy, joyfulness, and meaning – increasingly will determine who flourishes and who flounders. For individuals, families, and organizations, professional success and personal fulfillment now require a whole new mind.”
What about you: Are you a left-brainer or right brainer? Has success in your organization traditionally been due to high left-brain function…and can you make the shift to the “Conceptual Age” and its call for right brain competencies???
posted by Suzy