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Right-Brain Advantages In The New Economy - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Right-Brain Advantages In New Economy

Jul 16, 2009

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, TXA 21 News

As the American economy continues to struggle, many of us are focused on performing at our maximum capacity in the workplace. The secret to your job security in the new economy may involve a new kind of thinking using your right brain.

What are the differences and advantages of each side of the brain?

What versus How: We know that the brain is divided into two hemispheres, left and right. People with dominant left sides are better at analytical analysis and processing and language skills. Right “brainers” are global holistic processors, which means that they are great at inventiveness, empathy and emotional intelligence. To oversimplify, the left hemisphere handles “what” is said while the right hemisphere focuses on “how” it is said. The non-verbal emotional cues delivered through intonation, facial expression and silences are the province of the right brain. They have never been more important.

Whole Brain is Better: The work place will no longer exclusively reward the analytical, numbers crunching individuals and will now recognize right brain problem solvers who use their innovation and emotional intelligence to achieve the best outcome. We are basically looking at a new worker who marries their right brain innovative thinking with their left-brain skill sets. The keys to the future belong to a person who can be creative and empathic, can recognize patterns in business and see the big picture quickly while analyzing and critically thinking.

You may be wondering how this applies to you.

The complexity of business problems we all face now calls for a new type of intelligence that is not based just on academic abilities and information processing. Our advances in technology are eradicating the need for rote performance and recitation and many of these jobs have been outsourced. People who use their right brain thinking to solve complex problems are more difficult to outsource since you cannot have the creative, innovative and emotionally intelligent workers on the other side of the world.

Here’s how right brain thinking looks in the work place:

  • Emotionally Engaging: They are exceptional at creating emotionally engaging products. They understand motivations and emotions well and use them to solve business problems.
  • Persuasive Narratives: Our workplace is rife with information and too many facts. Right brainers are brilliant at communicating persuasively and are compelling presenters.
  • Analysis Versus Synthesis: No longer are we chiefly charged with the analysis of a problem but we are also charged with creating a big picture out of disparate parts.
  • Empathy Matters: Emotional Intelligence helps you to not only understand and accurately perceive your own emotions in “real time,” it also gives you the empathy to understand co-workers and clients.
  • Playfulness: The mind requires rest to re-boot and restore it’s creative processes. Right “brainers” are clever, humorous people who know how to “downshift” into a lower gear. They go slower to go further.
  • Purpose and Spiritual Fulfillment: Creativity originates in a mind free to explore, wonder and admire. Right brainers make their greatest discoveries when they are given the freedom to “play” with solutions and immerse themselves in novelty. Brilliant insights come at such moments.

Whenever this comes up in my practice, people always ask me, “Can I learn to use my ‘right brain’ skills?”

Without a doubt, people can learn to use both sides of their brains to achieve the most success. Neuroscience now tells us that emotions, moods and states such as compassion can be trainable skills. With mental training in visualization, meditation and accurate, rational thinking, an individual can literally create positive, performance enhancing changes in the brain. With increased emotional control, we can restrict the negative, inaccurate thoughts that cloud our mind facilitating a lot more effective “brain power.” You become an “attentional athlete” which allows you to focus on solution rather than on confusion. Suddenly, precise resolution appears within complexity and a mindset of well-being becomes pervasive.

Sources for this story include the following:

Dr. Richard Davidson’s work in Neuroscience

"Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain," Sharon Begley

"A Whole New Brain" by Daniel H. Pink

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