Take a look at this video and tell me what you see. (Why Buffalo Soldier is being played in the background is beyond me) I was recently show this at the Think Big Kansas City conference by Dr. Moira Mulhern. Dr. Mulhern lead a discussion about creativity and how fostering our creativity can lead to greater productivity, better solutions, and ultimately greater success.
So, what do you see? I saw (and still see predominantly) a spinning girl who is moving in the clockwise direction. Others in the room saw her going in a counter-clockwise direction (seriously – are those people crazy?) and still others saw her switching directions periodically (now, I know those people have lost their minds) I couldn’t figure out how she could go in any other direction than clockwise. What does this all mean?
Dr. Mulhern explained that if you see her turning in a clockwise direction, you are operating from a right brain perspective. If you see her moving in a counter-clockwise direction or you see her switching directions, you are using your left brain. The right and left brain focus on different tasks. Both are essential, but many of us have a dominant side.
Right brainers tend to: focus on images, patterns. Are intuitive, led by feelings. Process ideas simultaneously. Use “mind photos” or illustrations to help remember things. See the whole first and then the details. Lack organization. Like to know why you are doing something or why a rule exists. Has a harder time keeping track of time. May have trouble finding words to express themselves. Enjoys sensory input (touching). May start a project without reading the manual. Listens to “how” something is being said rather than “what” is said. Talk with their hands.
Left brainers tend to: Focus on words, symbols and numbers. Are led by logic. Process ideas sequentially, step by step. Use words to remember things and tend to remember names rather than faces. Work up to the whole focusing on details. Make lists and plan ahead. Likely to follow rules without questioning them. Keep track of time. Spelling and math easy for them. Will read the instruction manual before starting a project. Rarely gesture when talking. Listen to what is being said, now necessarily how.
Are you surprised at what you are? Finding that I am more creative slightly shocked me since I usually get places on time and like math and lists. But Dr. Mulhern explained that while we may favor a side, we can easily develop skills to help us manage and survive. Both sides of our brains can be “exercised” to help strengthen them. Our culture tends to teach and value left brain qualities (logic and reason), but more companies are seeing how fostering creativity increases productivity. This is especially true in a time when technology is moving so fast and being on the cutting edge is critical to company survival. Maybe thats why Google has a “Play Room” with a ping pong and pool tables!
But, what if you don’t work? What if you are looking for a job or a “life purpose?” Unlocking your creativity can help you find your passion. Stay tuned for some tips on strengthening your creative muscles!