How To Stop Your Left


Brain From Inhibiting




Do you experience a momentary feeling of panic when faced with a new application just loaded on your Computer? Or, maybe it’s not exactly panic ~ but let’s be honest ~ you’re not exactly excited at the prospect of learning all those new gizmos. In fact, if you could listen to your brain talking, it would be saying something like:

no way, Jose, this is waaaay too much to ask me to take in right now. Why do things have to be sooo complicated?  And why change, change, change?? Nope ~  can’t do this. Let’s do something else!”

Ok, so maybe we can’t hear the brain speak. But it communicates loud and clear, no mistake.  Usually by forcing a reaction.    So, you have to complete your tax returns. You look at the forms, see it looks all different from previous year ~ and end up doing something else.  And feeling guilty.

With me on this? Let’s recap ~ if you find yourself avoiding learning tasks, or “procrastinating” ~ often as not it’s your left brain taking over.

If we could imagine the brain as a set of twins, the left brain is the one associated with absolutes: logic, correctness, right and wrong, all prim and proper. In fact, the left brain is incorrigibly bossy. It likes to take over the show.  Whereas the right brain is the free spirit ~ intuitive, free-thinking,  fun-loving.  When they dress up, the left brain chooses sober business suits, with sensible shoes. While the right brain wants to wear psychedelic T shirts, clown outfits, or dress like a movie star going to the Oscars. The left brain thinks, reasons, and acts accordingly. And it’s very concerned about what others think. In fact, the left brain is always talking. It’s that internal “voice” talking in your head ~ do this, don’t do that, you should have, you shouldn’t have, why did you . . . get the picture? When faced with a problem, the left brain only looks at the obvious solutions. And, when it can’t see an immediate solution, the left brains says “Stop! This can’t be done.”

On the other hand, the right brain talks through sounds ~ music, humming, whistling, and pictures ~ dreams, doodles, sketches, insights, flashes of inspiration, out-of-the blue moments of insight. When faced with a problem, the right brain can come up with solutions that are stunningly successful. And the right brain never says “can’t” ~ in fact, it thrives on challenge.

The brain at work

As mentioned, the left brain just has to be right ~ all the time.  It’s no accident that left-brain dominated people make great accountants.  1+2+3+4+5 =  15,  yes?  Always. Nothing else is acceptable.

However, when you’re working with music, or art, or writing, or working with people (AND THIS INCLUDES MARKETING and MANAGING) ~ there is no absolute ‘right’ versus ‘wrong’. In fact, success at these things often defies logic ~ left brain logic, that is.

Because it turns out that there are actually two kinds of ‘logic’ ~ the mathematical 2+2 = 4 type,  black versus white, right versus wrong type; and EMOTIONAL logic ~ which often seems to break the rules that the mathematical type loves to impose.

Now, the proverbial $64,000 question:  which kind of logic usually controls people when they make a buying decision?

  1. Logical, or b) emotional?
  2. Rational, based on facts, or b) seemingly irrational, based on feelings?

If you answered a) ~ your sales and marketing is talking to the wrong side of the brain.  And it’s likely reflected in the return you’re getting. People don’t just want “facts” ~ they want to “feel good”. Which is why large companies are saying, in their advertising: “join our team, share our success.” Hence the advertising bling.

Because, to put it plainly, the left brain, so logical, factual and prissy right … is also BLAH. Yes, blah, boring.  You can see this during sales conferences. When the presenter hauls out all the facts and figures, the charts, the reasons why . . . you can actually see the attendees eyes glaze over. They switch off.  And that’s why we need to engage the RIGHT brain ~ we want people to feel interested, excited, positive.

You see, your product may be the greatest thing since sliced bread. It may be the brand leader in terms of quality, price, features, service.

But, in the words of Duke Ellington back in 1931: “it don’t mean a thing, (if it ain’t got that swing)”. In other words ~ if we want customers to be interested in our products ~

WE have to be interested. We have to have enthusiasm, to believe.

And, while we’re taking about Left brain versus Right brain functions ~ forgot to mention ~ the left brain is also associated with depression.  Are we surprised?  It’s all that seriousness. The burden of being right all the time. Skeptical?

Well, let's look at the other side of the coin. Most folk know the phrase “laughter is the best medicine.”  But have you ever thought ~ what makes something funny? What causes laughter?  And why is it so contagious? How is it that a few words, a fleeting situation, can have a whole room of people roaring with helpless laughter? No-one has a full explanation (yet) ~ but there’s a very powerful right brain connection. We laugh when we are presented with something zany, illogical, or ridiculous. We laugh when the right brain makes a lightning fast connection ~ a moment of insane inspiration.

Laughter is very often a group activity. Put people together, and they love to laugh together. It’s no aberration that “funny” and/or “witty” people are so popular at social events.  More than that, laughter bonds people.  The family that can laugh together, stays together. Same is true of business relationships.  Shared humor helps people de-stress, take stock, get perspective, over-come difficulties, resolve disagreements, and it inspires both creativity, and productivity.  Happy people are pro-active and constructive ~ and one of the best ways to ‘get happy’ is to share a positive vibe, plus a good laugh.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that we should throw off all restraint, and go around hooting like owls or laughing at the moon like crazy hyenas.  The left brain may be blah and boring ~ but it knows how to do maths. And how to weigh alternatives. And how to spot potential problems.  Just don’t let it run the show, all the time.  Get both sides of the brain working, each at what it’s best at ~ and the results can be stunning.  There may be a lot more in you of the Mozart, or the Michael Angelo, than you realize.

P.S. Give your brain a break ~ literally.   Every hour or so, get up (if you’re chair-bound), stretch, take a brief walk, drink some water.  Just a few minutes works wonders.

© HF Hudson Bridge Business Solutions, 1999 - 2014