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Emma Sue Prince



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A Whole New Mind in a Left Brain World


In my recent blog post on right brain living, I said that if you can strengthen your innate ability to use your right brain, you can indeed rule the world because you’ll be strengthening those interpersonal skills linked to empathy. Crucial for success! Daniel Pink argues in his new book ‘A Whole New Mind’ that empathy is one of six areas vital to success today. Today I want to help you to develop right-brain thinking, both in yourself and in the people you train. Understanding the key functions of the brain hemispheres can help tremendously when it comes to training people as well as in personal self development and everyday communication.

When we talk about people being right brained or left brained, it is never “either/or”, as we all function in both hemispheres. Of course, there are people who do use both right and left brain functons more or less equally, and some who are right brain dominant. Generally though,  many of the people we meet, say, in the work place, or in business, and those in positions such as managers and other key personnel, are left brain dominant.

How left-brainers see the world:

Left-brainers are efficient logical, and analytical. They can clearly look at facts and pride themselves on making unemotional decisions. They’re smooth talkers communicating precisely what is required. They can answer any question in an orderly, sequential manner. Left-brainers are practical souls wanting to lead in the ‘right way’ and they find it easy to tell others what to do and how to do it.

All these characteristics are typical of people who are predominatly left brained. They are goal driven and results driven and this is important for analytical and operational intelligence.

Certainly, our education and background has supported the left brain world. But, now in a world full of so much uncertainty and insecurity, it’s time to embrace right brain thinking far more. Einstein said ‘The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.” We have created a society that honours the servant but has forgotten the gift.

How right-brainers see the world:

The right brain hemisphere is linked to imagination feeling and relationahip, and connected to creativity, innovation and vision which are some of the core competencies that top companies want to develop to accelerate business growth. People who are predominantly right-brained will see the bigger picture, ignoring the details of how to get there. They will look at a problem from all angles; and will want to try out new ways of doing things. They don’t like rigid routines as this interferes with their ‘free spirit’ and they are vision driven and people driven. Hugely important for creative and relational intelligence.

How to develop right-brain thinking

Want to know which you are? Why not take this fun quiz to see whether you are predominantly left or right brained.

Here are some simple ways to practice the right brained approach:

1.  Pay more attention to how you say things vs. what you say. Right-brained people are more influenced by the tone, pitch, and rhythm in the sound of your voice when you are telling them something.
2.  Try to feel how the other person is responding to you. Right brained people are more emotionally expressive and intuitive. The right brain tells you when something “feels” right.
3.  Look more at the big picture, the possibilities, the broad vision with as much sensual information as possible. The right brain wants to see, feel and experience what is being said.

This site has some great ideas to help left brainers tap into the best of their creativity.

Left brainers like tangible results so if your trainees want their staff to be more motivated here’s a great little story you can tell them on active listening which they’ll be able to relate to.

Here are also some great tips and info, which could be adapted to create some simple active listening exercises for practising and improving active listening.

And a great resource on mindfulness/meditation which has had positive results for many top companies with benefits such as mental clarity, improved decision making, increased focus as well as a reduction in stress.

Because left brain people like to know the hard facts, starting off with this kind of information can help bypass resistance when it comes to introducing new experiences and ideas.

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Emma Sue Prince


Read more from Emma Sue Prince

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