Creativity, Thinking, and Problem Solving:  different strokes for different folks

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them – Albert Einstein

Left Brain & Right Brain

You’ve all heard of the “left brain, right brain” thing, no doubt.  Left-brain folks are said to be those task-focused, logical & analytical types, while the right-brainers are the subjective, emotional and intuitive ones.  While research sheds more light on the concept (it’s not really as clear cut as it sounds; it may not even be true),  many of us still categorize our thinking in this manner.

What side are you on?

  • Images, expression, creativity = right brain
  • Language, reasoning, critical thinking = left brain

Even if that isn’t quite the case scientifically, each of us does approach planning and problem solving differently.

Personally, I'm more of the left-brain type (if that was indeed a type, which it appears it isn’t) – my nature is with gathering facts, dealing with reports, setting structure.  Organizing.  I see the value in that, of course – stuff just doesn’t get done without an organized plan – but I do at times marvel at the ease the more right-brain types have with ingenuity, creativity and flexibility. 

Use both to be effective

The most effective people bring all elements into play when thinking through issues, plans, and problems.  They can keep things on track, review budgets, and organize systems AND they can deal with the unpredictable, spontaneous behaviour of fellow teammates, visualize the razzle dazzle, and appeal to the hearts (as well as the minds) of those around them.

Sounds like a challenge for the left-brained?  Perhaps, but there are ways to spark imagination and creativity. 

right brain training FOR THE LEFTIES

And my favourite: 

  • Move.  The method I most prefer to jog my left-brain into right-brain territory is to get up, get out, and take a walk. I know this isn’t anything you haven’t heard before, because we’ve all read about the benefits of walking as it relates to thinking (if you haven’t, check out Why Steve Jobs Took Long Walks ) but it does indeed work! And franky, even if it didn’t work, it would be worth it for the movement alone – have you heard how bad it is to sit all day?

Learn from each other

Some of us may be blessed with a mind for structured plans, some of us may be blessed with a mind for innovative imagination, and a few of us may be really blessed with a natural capacity for both.  But all of us can certainly learn from each other, and approach our thinking from all angles.

Let's learn from each other! Drop me a line and let's talk about what you're thinking about.