What Does an Upside-Down Clock on the Head of a Labrador Have to do With the Pandemic?

It has been a very long time since the world has been so uniformly affected by the same thing. People all over the world are experiencing upheaval by being forced to go nowhere! Who would have thought that such a thing could happen…? Upheaval through no upheaval…

Weeks into social-distancing and isolation and people are starting to either settle in to their new, temporary lifestyles or finding it very difficult to adjust. Perhaps they have adjusted but are being plagued by thoughts of lack of productivity or boredom.

How we experience and perceive these times has so much to do with how we think. For a simple example: there are some of us who are relishing in the change of pace and routine, while others are languishing the loss of a well-worked, well-oiled-machine-of-a-routine. This is the difference between right and left-brain thinking, respectively.

Both of these perspectives are fantastic and entirely justified! We encourage and cherish your strengths, acknowledging that the world needs those who appreciate immensely structured lives and conversely those who prefer leading more fluid lifestyles as well.

But the question remains: how does our experience of this time reflect the mechanisms of our inner workings? Can we learn something about ourselves and our family and in the process come out of this experience more secure in self-awareness?

In the past 20 years of research The Kobus Neethling Institute has expanded on the research of left and right brain thinking and divided the mapping of someone’s thinking preferences into an extensive 8-Dimensions. Even though there are similarities between two right-brain thinkers, it is likely that they will have nuances that differ between them. One might be finding this time of isolation to be the long-sought-after seclusion they have been wanting, while the other is depleted and low as they get so much of their energy from spending time with people. We’re not talking about going to social parties, per se, but more so physical interactions.

With these two examples in mind, let’s dive deeper into what happens when we redefine this pandemic from a whole brain perspective. What if we stepped out of our own singular preferences for a time and tried to get a birds-eye view by incorporating ways of thinking not instinctive to us? This is what we call the Whole Brain Approach.

A simple way to understand this is to consider the left-brained person above making a conscious effort to step into the mindset of someone operating in the right hemisphere. This is the same process that people go through when they use creative problem-solving techniques.

According to our research, thinking preferences can be accurately spread out over 8-dimensions. We won’t go into the finer details here, but if you want more information on the theory behind this knowledge please read this blog. For now, let’s look at the pandemic through the lens of the four quadrants.



Imagine your mind as an analogue clock with the face facing towards the sky if you are sitting upright. That means that 12 will be straight ahead of you and 6 behind you. Much the same way the military describes direction: “On your six!” The doggo you see henceforth in this blog is a mirror image of this map in your mind (notice that the clock is “back-to-front). Let’s use this image and move through the hours to get a whole brain view of the pandemic.


Look at the Bigger Picture and the Future

From 12 (ahead of you) to 3 (on your right) is the R1 quadrant. Seeing the pandemic from this perspective is to see the bigger picture and to imagine what it means for the future. You can imagine asking these sorts of questions:

What can come from this?

Are there any opportunities lurking amidst this pandemic?

I wonder what’s happening in the rest of the world?

This is an imaginative part of the mind and we can expect a lot of visualising and fantasizing to come from here. The risks involved with this quadrant in isolation (pardon the pun) is thinking that could involve a lot of baseless speculation. Which sounds very much like the potential for fake news to spread… This is why we are proponents for the whole brain approach. Let’s keep going and see how the quadrants complement each other.


The Effect of the Chaos on People

Move along to 3-6 and you come to the R2 Quadrant. People are the central focus here. The tragedies, the testimonies and the human cost are forefront in this quadrant.

How does this affect my family?

When will I be able to see my people again?

What about our grandparents?

It’s not to say that only thinking in this quadrant is as a result of caring about others. Love is an all-encompassing thing and supersedes the boundaries of all thinking preferences. How we go about it is another thing.

The risks of this quadrant during the pandemic are worrying about others and loneliness. The essence of this quadrant is contact with others (both big and small groups) and isolation is obviously going to affect that. You may get a lot of your motivation from the people around you, so how will you find creative ways to connect with others and stoke your motivation?


Process and Tradition, to the Core!

Why are others not obeying the laws!?

Don’t they know that they should be wearing masks!!!

At 6-9 , an L2 thinker (in the extreme) is a believer and upholder of laws and traditions. They may not necessarily have to understand the full reasons behind the law, but they will still feel a sense of guilt if they break them. But let’s not imply that they remain ignorant, only that they respect authority and find comfort in well-organised processes.

The risks here are to harbor resentment towards others who are not doing their part to curb the pandemic. There will always be other people who do what they were expressly asked not to do: “Please don’t panic buy” (and then you find that there’s no more toilet paper at the shops); “Please stay at home and avoid big gatherings” (only to see videos on Facebook of big celebrations about this extended public holiday). But the point is to take care of yourself and if enough people do that the curb will inevitably be flattened. Do your part and hope for the best!


What Do the Stats Say?

Enter those with the scientific mindsets from 9 back to 12! These are your friends (if not you) who send you regular updates on statistics or videos with neat infographics explaining what flattening the curve means or how the virus is transferred.

Think numbers and facts!

What does the infection curve of my country look like compared to those of other countries?

How many seconds precisely did that video say it takes for soap to kill the germs?

Facts are good, but on their own, they could lead to pedantic behaviour, or downright mercilessness. We always need to keep the bigger picture in mind and remain conscious of the human factor. Facts alone are risky business. Consider the following line of thinking: “Maybe this is good for the world, I mean we are so over-populated that maybe this is a way in which the world is being balanced out.”

If you really think about it, this is an incredibly cruel mindset as it is, in essence, a form of fascism, justifying people’s deaths for the good of others. If we forget about empathy and the humans we cannot see, facts can be merciless.


Putting it All Together

The whole-brain approach is essential for our sanity, as well as the benefit of the human population at large. We must keep the bigger picture in mind. If we only focus on the here and now (which is good) we may forget that when the isolation ends there are thousands of business that need to reopen and needed to continue paying salaries in a time when they were not earning any profits (restaurants, musicians, event organisers, wedding venues, etc.). With that bigger picture in mind, have you considered contributing a little money to your country’s solidarity fund?

We also must find ways to remain connected. There are people out there who have a serious need to connect and have human contact. What creative ways are there for us to reach out to them and to make ourselves available? Virtual contact and the odd voice note are simple but effective avenues.

Then let’s also remember that the processes put into place by the government are there for a reason! Let’s respect our fellow man and the local authority by helping where we can. If this pandemic is an extended thing, please don’t over-buy (in a panic) and always remember to keep up with proper hygiene. It is likely that this special demand for hygiene is a requirement that will last some months still, so we might as well make it a routine and habit.

Lastly, let’s always put the facts into context and use our discernment to sift out the real news from the fake news. How sure are you that those devastating pictures you are sending out are from Italy in March 2020 and not another natural disaster that happened a decade ago in another lesser-known country? Be careful and do some digging before sending out things that could lead to unnecessary fear or hopelessness. And be sure to use those facts to encourage the people around you! We are not fear-mongers that we delight in being the bearers of bad news. Let’s uplift the people around us on social media and the other avenues that we use to share the news we see.

Ultimately, we have a responsibility to ourselves and to the people around us to approach this pandemic as holistically as possible. This is the whole brain approach and learning it now will benefit you and your family in ways beyond this pandemic.


If you want to find out what your own thinking preferences are, we encourage you to track down an NBI Practitioner by clicking here to go to the Practitioner Locator. All their services are deliverable online and so they do not have to be in your area. Go and find out what the 8-dimensional thinking-preferences of you and your family are now.