Right Brain Thinking


To my left brain friends, I envy you.   To my right brain friends, I hear what you are thinking.

Left brain is all about the now and knowing the answer.  We get to that answer in very systematic ways that we are familiar with.  Proven ways that have been learned, confirmed and reaffirmed long before this moment in time (which in fact may be 1 hour, 1 day, 1 year…I think you get the picture).  The truth is, the path we are taking is set.  It is in our own mind as a set of rules, routines and procedures that we are comfortable with.  They may not be the best, or the one that will get us to the results we are looking for fastest; it is just the path that is most rational for our course of action for the goals that we have set for ourselves.

Think of it as if you are going on a vacation and need to drive to the airport and you may or may not be running late.  For years, you have taken the same route to the airport.  You know at any time of the day, how long it will take you to get from point A (your starting place) to point B (the parking garage at the airport).  Then one day, you decide to let your spouse drive and he or she decides to go a different route without clearing it with you first.  What starts to happen in your head?  Or worse, what do you start saying out loud?

Being very right brained, I tend to do things like this alot.  The people I am with, tend to panic and say things like…”What the hell are you doing,” and “Do you really think that this is faster?”  My response usually is something to the effect of “I don’t know, and it certainly couldn’t be any slower…”  I have allowed myself to to go “off the beaten path” and take a chance on something that is unknown…which completely describes the right brain thinker.

Right brain thinking and processing is all about the future, the possibilities and exploring the unknown.  The right brain self (as I like to call it) allows us to be curious and speculative with everyone and everything around us.  We look for changes to make based on the connections we find in our world.  It is with these connections that we allow ourselves to put off making the yes/no decision and go through an elongated decision making process which may include minor adjustments to the idea before we make that fateful yes/no choice.  We allow the ideas that are presented to grow and experiment with peices of the idea until it works for us.  It is certainly not linear, and it certainly is not as efficient (initially) as those who solely rely on their left brain.  It is this initial need to be efficient in our thinking processes and our analysis of situations that puts us in a mode of “that’s the way it has always been done…”   Just because that is true, doesn’t mean it is correct.  Just think, if we allow ourselves to experiment a little, we may create new efficiencies in our lives.  It’s a concept that takes Left Brainers a little more time to grasp.  Think of it this way…if a Right Brainer makes a suggestion to you and you are purely a left brain thinker, I bet you can alot of reasons why the suggestion wont work, and you will be 100% correct.  The hard part is finding why the suggestion will work and fitting into your mode of thinking.

Now the airport scenario may not be the best for this example, especially if we are time crunched.  That’s why I envy Left Brainers…they actually succeed with pressure.  They can process and analyze the quickest known paths (or routes) with little or no need to actually think about it.  As human beings, we are experts at linear processing.  In fact most of us get payed alot of money to keep things moving in a linear fashion.  To follow the existing rules and regulations of our jobs…think Sarbane’s Oxley…there is little or no Right Brain activity going on there (unless you are trying to figure out a way to circumvent it).

Let’s track this thinking stream back to Your Personal Board of Directors.  As my colleague (and great friend whom I trust), Craig said: 

But it is our belief that achievement comes with specific actions — actions that define where you want to go, how you’re going to get there, and how you’ll know when you’ve arrived.

As we look for ways to improve who we are, what we want to acheive and how to get there, we need to look for new ways to do it and keep on track.  Left Brainers are great at looking at the past and finding what works for them.  They can lay out a plan that is logical and rational.  They will make the decisions that work for them at that moment and will, most likely, achieve some of their goals in the short term.  After the last 15 years or so of working in the training and development and consulting space, what I have found is that once a derailer occurs, that moment in time where something throws off their personal mojo, everything else gets put aside and we start dealing with the urgencies of the day.  Then the urgencies pile up, whether it be personal or work related, it takes us off of any well-laid plan.  The reason that we get derailed with these urgencies is that at work we get pressures placed on us that are both urgent/important and urgent/not important that we don’t own and it takes us out of linear place and puts us in someone elses and we can not adjust.  These crises that we are faced with also show up in our personal life as well and each of these is personal.  A crisis to you may not be the same crisis to your spouse or loved one, and either way it takes us out of our well-laid path (or paths).  The key is, employing those who don’t see your crisis as a crisis and can give you honest direction to keep you on your path and help you acheive your goals. 

Personal goals contain a lifetime of continuous achievement…don’t go at it alone…build your own team of experts.  This is a new way of thinking about making changes in your life, personal or professional.  It is a new way to reach the goals that you set for yourself, big or small.  It is a new way to create the outcomes that you want, near and long term.  Our thesis is to surround yourself with those that you trust.  Surround yourself with those that you consider left and right brainers to give you the honest feedback and direction for you to acheive your goals.  With this team, this personal board of directors, you will have quarterly reviews of your progress and joint problem solving to help you grow and get the results that you have set your sights on.  This coupled with a coach and facilitator to help you set your path to reach your goals will help you streamline the direction…the path will no longer be an arc, covering many points; it will be a straightline to the end result that you envision.

As we embark on this journey, together and with a new team of experts, ask yourself: 
Is there anything in my personal or professional life that if I did every hour/day/week/month for the next year that would significantly impact who I am and what I want to achieve?

Let us know…we can help.


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