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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

      Photo credit: Source

      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 March 21, 2019

      11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

      11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

      Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

      You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

      But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

      To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

      It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

      “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

      The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

      In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

      Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

      1. Start Small

      The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

      Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

      Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

      Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

      Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

      Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

      It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

      Do less today to do more in a year.

      2. Stay Small

      There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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      But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

      If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

      When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

      I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

      Why?

      Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

      The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

      Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

      3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

      No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

      There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

      What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

      Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

      This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

      This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

      4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

      When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

      There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

      Peter Drucker said,

      “What you track is what you do.”

      So track it to do it — it really helps.

      But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

      5. Measure Once, Do Twice

      Peter Drucker also said,

      “What you measure is what you improve.”

      So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

      For reading, it’s 20 pages.
      For writing, it’s 500 words.
      For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
      For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

      Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

      6. All Days Make a Difference

      Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

      Will two? They won’t.

      Will three? They won’t.

      Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

      What happened? Which one made you fit?

      The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

      No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

      7. They Are Never Fully Automated

      Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

      But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

      What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

      It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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      The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

      It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

      It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

      8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

      Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

      Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

      When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

      The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

      Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

      9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

      The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

      Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

      You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

      But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

      So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

      If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

      This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

      The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

      Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

      10. Punish Yourself

      Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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      I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

      It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

      You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

      No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

      The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

      But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

      11. Reward Yourself

      When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

      Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

      The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

      After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

      If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

      Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

      If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

      In the End, It Matters

      What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

      When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

      And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

      “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

      Keep going.

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      More Resources to Help You Build Habits

      Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
      [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
      [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
      [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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