Which Brain Do You Think With?

These Left/Right Cufflinks are actually available for sale at Geeky Gadgets.

Mattias Konradsson wrote a great article on left brain/right brain function and how to use it. In part…


Eggheads believe our two brain halves control different "modes" of thinking. This hypothesis was spearheaded by Roger Sperry, who won a Nobel Prize for his research in 1981. The "modes" are roughly divided like this:

Left Brain

  • Logical
  • Sequential
  • Rational
  • Analyzes
  • Objective
  • Parts

Right Brain

  • Random
  • Intuitive
  • Holistic
  • Synthesizes
  • Subjective
  • Wholes

The left brain (don’t get delusions of grandeur; you don’t have two brains) is concerned with logical thinking, analysis and accuracy, while the right focuses on aesthetics, feeling and creativity.

When you're in the idea business, this seems like the right half is our creative friend, while the left is plotting against us. New ideas come from breaking out of the norm, ignoring limits and facts, venturing where no one has gone before, to seek out new galaxies and civi…err, sorry.

The left brain, on the other hand, analyzes, sorts stuff, and dwells in details, generally sabotaging our creative thinking. This is bad news for all who weren’t blessed with left-handedness, since that means you don’t have a dominant right brain. That's right: left-handed = right-brained; right-handed = left-brained. Confusing, eh? But before you decide to start doing everything left-handed, try this.


Basically, we want to involve our right brain and numb the left one as much as possible. Remember, this is brainstorming, we’re not in production, so things don’t need to be perfectly logical at this point. We need to extract stuff from the brain and put it on some more tangible medium – to find the seed of the idea that will put a Ferrari in our garage. The trick is to teach yourself to ignore rules, conventions and "must-be" statements.

If you’re creating art, just doodle. If you’re writing, just scribble. If you’re a lawyer, change occupations. Even if you don’t have a clue what you’re doing, you can’t escape your unconscious. It moves in mysterious ways.

After a while, nice ideas will start to surface. This might not happen right away; often, you need to train your brain into this sort of thinking (especially if you’re right handed). So keep at it. If good ideas were cheap we’d all be filthy rich.

In time, you’ll have a bunch of ideas. Some might work, some would shred your reputation into tiny pieces.

It has been said that everyone is creative. If you haven’t challenged yourself with the exercise outlined above (and you don’t sell ideas for a living), give it a shot. This right brain/left brain approach to being creative does work. And, with a little practice, you might surprise yourself at how innovative you can be in bringing new solutions to bear on old approaches. Think good thoughts!

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Posted by Terry

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