It is easy to exalt the very overt forms of creative expression such as art while we neglect the more “background achievements”. How many unsung heroes are there who have, for example, enhanced a company’s books or internal systems?
Let us hope that in time the world will become more aware of these souls and their invaluable contributions to making the world tick. I sincerely hope that by the end of this blog it will be clear that creativity is a far more involved concept than we realize.
Creative Miracles on Both Sides of the Brain
What is now proved was once only imagined -William Blake
OK, before we get to the substance of this blog, let’s get a few things out of the way so that we can enjoy our discussion:
- Human Brain = Separated into left and right hemisphere
- Left Hemisphere = controls right half of the body and is responsible for thinking that is: structured, linear, factual, analytical, etc.
- Right Hemisphere = controls left half of the body and responsible for thinking that is: emotional, seeking connections with others, out of the box, unorthodox, etc.
Many people have a picture in their mind of the creative person as someone who is either very artistic or has a flair for the exotic, possibly even way-out or eccentric. A lot of people also think that in order to be creative you must be highly energetic. When you think of the most innovative scientists of the 20th Century, like Albert Einstein, does the mental image that comes to mind involve an Einstein “bouncing off the walls”? I am guessing that your answer is no.
If these are their expectations, then no wonder many people see themselves as uncreative! Because, did you know that an “unconventional” person can also have a severe lack of creativity? Consider for a moment that there must have been that “first eccentric” who tried something new and became a trend-setter. Following in his/her wake would be people who can relate to the statement being made by the source of the trend. We see many viral trends popping up these days, and while the spark of that trend may have been a blossoming of creativity, why do we assume that those following the footsteps of the trend-setter are also creative? Being different from the norm does not indicate creativity…boldness, yes, but you can also be a bold copy-cat!
While we at the Kobus Neethling Institute do maintain that everyone is a creative gem waiting to shine, I make this above point only to show that being associated with something that was born from creativity does not reflect on your own creativity. That is in this case: you do not have to be a right-brained thinker to be creative.
Likewise, “eccentric”, “challenging the status-quo” behavior is only half of the picture because these are behaviors only associated with right-brained thinking. I think it is safe to assume that we all have at some point in time thought that you can only be creative when you can wield a paintbrush with deftness or get an audience to sway to the smooth melodies of your guitar. But do we realize that these are skills that take years to master? They are processes of constructive improvement to establish the correct technique that would largely have involved processes of the left brain.
Essentially, artistic creativity is more likely to occur in the right brain because of the spatial skills found here. Because some right-brainers prefer to be more risk-taking, open to change and unstructured in their ways of doing, they are often more open to the challenges of the creative process.
To add to our swelling definition, creativity is ‘looking at the world with fresh eyes’ and those eyes can look out from any of the two, or both, brain hemispheres.
When last have you had an ‘aha’ moment while sitting at your desk or while doing an otherwise mundane task? Did your revelation include the color palette for your next masterpiece or the chord progression of a potential big single? No? This does not mean that it was any less creative. Was the idea a new way to do the filing in your office, or a light-bulb moment of how to use the left-over wood of a previous DIY project?
Maybe you have found a new way of:
- Budgeting better every month and setting targets (= Left-brained creativity)
- Changing a system or process (= Left-brained creativity)
- finding a better route to work (= Left-brained creativity)
- Improving a relationship by trying new approaches (= Right-brained creativity)
- Another way of motivating people (= Right-brained creativity)
These ideas are creativity-proclaiming music to my ears!
Perhaps you are someone who would be better suited for one of those utopian countries we hear of where people only go to work at 10am, but you might not be in one of those countries and it is a daily battle to get out of bed at 5am. The usual way is to set an alarm, but you have become way too advanced for that system because you can find the snooze button with your eyes closed. Now you have to find an out-of-the-box (right-brained) way to get yourself going in the mornings that can enable you to be ready at a specific time on a daily basis without fail (left-brained routine). Whatever you come up with, do you see that the creative process here has involved both hemispheres of the brain?
…It is the same as the accomplished musician and artist: a magnificent idea must be backed by a highly organized sustained effort over years to become good enough to implement that idea. Talent is one thing, established skill and mastery is on another level.
The common ground between all these scenarios is that the people within them have found a unique way to enhance something in their environment. They have brought forward a workable solution to a problem. Such an achievement is not solely dependent on one of the two hemispheres, as in essence it comes down to the way the problem has been dealt with.
If I have not convinced you yet that you are a creative master waiting to be unleashed, here is another string of practical ways in which the two hemispheres can express creativity. The L’s are for the left hemisphere, and the R’s are not.
Creative endeavors associated with the different halves of the brain include:
L1 CREATIVITY: Technical breakthroughs/ design; ways to save money/ budget; scientific discoveries; finding new components, elements, and ingredients through analysis.
L2 CREATIVITY: Designing and implementing new systems/ processes; reorganizing for effectiveness; solving problems in a practical way; creating new patterns, recipes, “how to’s’”; administrative breakthroughs; new safety procedures.
R1 CREATIVITY: Designing future visions; strategizing; experimenting with new things; instigating change; designing new environments; artistic creations.
R2 CREATIVITY: Creating warm, friendly environments; solving relationship problems intuitively; creating stories and interesting ways to share information; creating ways to work together/ in teams; coming up with romantic ideas; creating ways to communicate, interact, express feelings; creating ways to assist, help and care for others.
Although it may seem silly to have broken each list in two, our model at the Kobus Neethling Institute separates the brain into 4 quadrants, allowing for a much more involved view of a person’s thinking preferences across the brain. Our model takes it one step further and takes insights of the brain to a point where a person’s thinking preferences can be accurately measured across 8-dimensions. The 1’s and 2’s above are the four quadrants of the brain, and we have other descriptions on our website where you can get an in-depth explanation of where the 8-dimensions fit in.
Suffice it to say for now: knowing your dominance between the two hemispheres will only take you so far. The finer the details, the more accurate the decision. Spending some time getting to know your inner workings will no doubt give you heaps of material to work with to perfect the creativity machine you are building. That machine is you…
What is truly wonderful about the knowledge gained in your thinking profile is that it is an indicator of your preferred thinking, outside of which you can always still choose how you think. That is to say that you may prefer left-brained thinking (very structured, to-the-point, no-nonsense, it’s all about the process), but you can make use of right-brained thinking (loose organization, visualization, people-centered, spontaneous) if you want to. It may be more tiring if you did so for extended periods of time, but it is yours to use, nonetheless.
- Right-brainers may appear more creative, but no matter what your brain preferences are – you can be creative!
- Your Eight Dimensions Profile indicate your brain preferences in an in-depth manner.
- Skills can be developed in all the dimensions of the brain – also creative skills.
Do you want to continue this discussion with us?