Right Brain Help Wanted — Left Brains Need Not Apply

July 15th, 2009

left-brain-right-brainMarco della Cava at USA Today wrote a great article about how to retrain your brain to succeed in the new economy. He makes the argument that right brain thinking (big picture, creative) is more valuable than left brain thinking (linear, logical) in new economy careers.

This is one of my areas of focus right now — helping job hunters and career changers become more entrepreneurial and creative (both of these qualities rely heavily on the right brain). Marco quoted me in the article, along with A Whole New Mind guru Daniel Pink and several career changers who recently made the leap from left-brain careers to right-brain careers. He also wrote an interesting¬† related article about how to train kids for a “right brain future.”

Obviously, no one is purely “right brain” or “left brain.” We all need both sides of that wrinkly grey organ in order to thrive. For entrepreneurs, that is particularly true. We rely on our right brain for vision, innovation, and big-picture synthesizing and strategy. At the same time, we must tap into that left brain for managing our employees, keeping our finances in order, and staying on top of our task lists. We have to be able to switch back and forth between our left-brain and right-brain personalities (or hire/partner with people who have the skills that we lack).

Right now, I’m working on developing seven new training programs for three different clients in three different but related topic areas (this is why my blog posts are kind of few and far-between these days). This has required frequent right brain/left brain switching — from researching to big-picture strategy to organizing to writing to PowerPoint formatting, etc.

The right-brain stuff always comes pretty naturally for me. I have had to train myself in the ways of left-brain thinking — and it can be learned. Twelve years in Corporate America certainly helped with my left-brain development. But ultimately, I had to escape from Corporate America because all left-brain and no right-brain made me a very dull (and unhappy) girl.

Some people say that you can’t learn right-brain thinking, but I strongly disagree. I have led many creativity workshops and watched left-brainers learn to tap into their inner creative genius. For those in career transition, I highly recommend starting a right-brain workout plan. It may very well help you find and/or qualify for a more rewarding career path in the new economy.

Buy The Book
Joanne Tombrakos

I could not agree more with this post! The overdose on left brain activity is what turned me on corporate life too. Brilliantly stated!

Brian Mayne

Great Article Pamela. We also promote a whole brain approach of logic and emotion, vision and strategy. The key, I believe, is to lead with the right and manage with the left. We teach this whether with one of our corporate clients such as Microsoft or children in school looking for a career. I think it is particularly important for people looking for work or going through career changes as the right brain looks forwards and is connected to the heart, while the left looks back and is driven by the head. Our advice is simple: find that thing that makes your heart sing.

Dr. Cris Green

I definitely agree that the right brain, creative and innovative part of our brains, have always been of value to us. Activities such as Brain-storming–putting out all your ideas without censorship–comes from the right brain. Entrepreneurs love and thrive on their right brains to think out of the box, and deliver new and innovative products to their customers. Steve Jobs was a genius at this.

comments are closed for this entry