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An Underdeveloped Right Brain Is the Greatest Barrier to Creativity

An Underdeveloped Right Brain Is the Greatest Barrier to Creativity

Most of the works in the society are driven by the left-brain, which does best with linear and logical thought processes. Think about the academic settings, everything from class content to assessments of languages, maths and sciences are designed to work in a logical manner. When it comes to work, most jobs involve tasks that are procedural work and most forms of fact-checking. The performance of all these tasks executed by the left-brain are easily quantified. This has set the left-brain for better training than the right-brain.

The power of the right-brain, which rests in creativity and problem solving, is often ignored or dismissed because it is harder to understand and its performance is more difficult to be quantified.

But complex problems require the creativity of the right-brain. New solutions can’t be implemented without a logical left-brain. Before anyone could manufacture the first Model A Ford, the car had to be designed from scratch. Henry Ford needed imagination to invent the car before he could ever hope to put one together.

The Right Brain Is Not Limited by Logic

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    The left-brain is excellent at solving math problems or working out a science experiment using linear processes rooted in facts and empirical evidence. Some problems don’t require linear solutions, however. The right-brain, which uses intuition to solve a problem, may come up with a greater number of solutions or approaches to a situation.

    To create something entirely new, it’s important to envision things that have never been done before. The right-brain embraces the unknown unknowns best at the forefront of innovation.

    Society’s need for a safe alternative to the gaslight led Thomas Edison to invent the incandescent light bulb.[1] It’s hard to envision a world without light bulbs, but before they existed, they had to be imagined. Wilbur and Orville Wright’s obsession with becoming airborne flew in the face of scientific facts. The airplane they invented changed the course of human history, but that could not have happened if the Wright brothers’ thinking was rooted in logic.

    The Brain Works Best When Creativity Align to Logicality

    Things need to make sense, but ideas which rely solely on left-brained modes of operating tend to lack relatability. It is the right-brained person’s ability to balance logic and emotion that leads to innovation that people can rally around. Logical ideas may be based in fact, but it often takes an appeal to emotion, a right-brained talent, to make people want to invest time or energy into the idea.

    It may seem like left and right brained tendencies are polar opposites, but the brain produces the best work when it connects creativity and logicality. Imagine that you have to write a speech. You need the logical disposition of the left-brain to organize your thoughts so that your purpose is clear. You also need to be able to create an emotional connection to your listeners to bring your points to life, or else the speech will sound like an instruction manual to the audience.

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    Writers experience this same need to combine their creative and logical forces. No, writers don’t read minds, but they must possess the logical ability to string words together and the emotional capacity to forge a connection to another person’s mind where one does not exist.

    Train the Right-Brain Without a Hitch

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      In school, we train left-brain qualities through repeated math drills, scientific experiments, and language studies. The right-brain is often relegated to elective courses such as art, home economics, or the wood shop. The dominant pattern in society suggests that tasks which involve are creativity are just extras that we tack onto the day after reading, writing, and arithmetic.

      But just because the world is left-brain dominant doesn’t mean that our right-brain tendencies should decline from lack of use. There are ways that you can use your right-brain every day — using your imagination.

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      1. Flip your perspective.

      One way that you can do this is through imagining the world from another person’s perspective.

      Video game aficionados do this with certain types of role-playing games, but you can also accomplish this by putting yourself into a hypothetical scenario. You might say, “If I were Steven Spielberg, I would ____,” or “If I were Tesla, I would____.”

      2. Do a 10-minute creativity exercise every day.

      Creativity exercises are another great way to stretch your imagination. The 10-minute exercise, The Journey of a Man and a Dog, is an example of how you can use creativity to expound on relationships we might see in our everyday lives.

      You essentially create a story about any two people, animals or objects that you see together, whether it’s a man and his dog or a rich person and a homeless person.

      3. Take up a creative hobby.

      If thinking your way into increased creativity isn’t your speed, take up hobbies to improve your right-brain processing. Drawing, painting, woodworking, making crafts, playing music, dancing, and folding origami are a few examples of right-brain dominant activities.

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      You don’t have to be incredibly talented at a hobby to benefit from it. Performing these tasks keeps your right-brain active. The value is in the journey, and not in the destination.

      The Right-Brain Deserves as Much Attention as the Left-Brain

      Society places an emphasis on left-brained activities associated with knowledge and information, but right-brained pursuits remain on the periphery. Think about how much time you’ve spent training your left-brain since you were a child. Unless you also dedicated many hours of your day to creativity from a young age, there’s a chance that your right-brain competencies have not had the attention they need to reach their full potential.

      Just like we never stop performing left-brain dominant tasks in our day to day lives, right-brain training is a continuous practice. The more you practice, the more you will improve.

      Featured photo credit: Ad of the World via adsoftheworld.com

      Reference

      [1] History: Thomas Edison

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      Brian Lee

      Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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      Last Updated on October 22, 2020

      2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

      2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

      Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

      Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

      Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

      Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

      Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

      By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

      The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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      1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

      Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

      Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

      Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

      When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

      The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

      Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

      To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

      Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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      We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

      It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

      After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

      Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

      Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

      To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

      Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

      Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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      When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

      Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

      We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

      When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

      Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

      2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

      If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

      The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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      To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

      With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

      So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

      • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
      • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
      • Say no to all else.
      • Say no again.
      • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
      • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
      • Meditate.
      • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
      • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
      • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
      • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
      • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
      • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

      Final Thoughts

      These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

      Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

      More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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