Archive for July, 2010

Are You Right Brained and Left “But”ed?

July 6, 2010

Roger Sperry, a Nobel Prize Winner, initiated the study of the relationship between the brain’s right and left hemispheres. His findings showed that left brain thinking tends to function by processing information in an analytical, rational, logical, sequential way. Left brainers deal with situations by collecting data and making analyses to reach a logical conclusion. On the other hand (or shall I say the other hemisphere)….a right brained decision will more likely be reached by recognizing relationships and arriving at intuitive insights. While the left brainer is breaking info apart, the right brainer is relating to emotions and synthesizing a whole picture to achieve her insights. Hmmmm. I do believe I have two right sides to my brain. My math teachers never appreciated my solutions to word problems. I didn’t have the patience or apparently, the inclination to figure out how fast a train was going if it left the N.Y.station at 4:00, made a stop in Oakville and arrived in Pittsburg at 7:21. I was much more interested in imagining and writing about who was riding on the train and why they were going to Pittsburg in the first place….was it to meet a lover? Visit a long lost friend? Change their identity and start a new life? I had many stories about all of the situations presented in the math books…a condition that was not appreciated or admired by my left brained instructors. They were not amused. Neither were my parents when they got my report cards.

I soon realized that in order to be a functioning member of society….and if I didn’t want to be the only 45-year-old eighth grade graduate, I’d need to balance out my thinking. However, I also learned that one can over-analyze and be a tad too logical in some situations. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and take a leap of faith. How many opportunities are missed and experiences are overlooked in the name of “practical thinking?” When’s the last time you really really really wanted to try something new or just have fun for the heck of it but you let your big BUT get in the way? “I’d try something new BUT I’d probably look silly” or “I’d love to give that a shot BUT it really isn’t practical.” Or my favorite…”That looks like so much fun BUT what would people think???” I say, Who Cares what “people” think? Who are the “people” and why do you care so much about their opinions? I’m not talking about wearing moose antlers to a job interview or doing something dangerous to yourself or others….I mean just stepping out and trusting your instincts rather than treating life like a math problem and always having to be logical and “show your work.” That is only necessary if you live on the planet Vulcan.

Logic, order and discipline are absolutely essential….but adding a little spontaneity and emotional thinking to our lives isn’t a bad thing. It makes us well rounded and more appreciative of life’s unexpected opportunities. Everything doesn’t always have to make sense….sometimes just enjoying ourselves is the best part of being alive.