The more I think about the concept of the left-brain/right-brain dichotomy, the more convinced I am of its bullhockey. First, because I mostly don’t believe in “natural” personality traits (although I do think that this is the big question of our age – are we born who we are or do we become who we are?), and secondly, have you seen how artists and engineers work? Despite the differences in medium, their work processes are strikingly similar.
Artists and engineers alike are famous for their single-minded passion, their attention to detail, and their simultaneous ability to see the big picture. Artists and engineers must constantly be challenging themselves to think outside of the box, to improve their craft, to create, iterate, iterate, iterate. A process that might look to an outsider to be spontaneous is actually a product of many, many hours of hard work.
For this reason, and for so many others, we really need the Arts in education. There are so many emotional and community benefits to integrating the Arts into our lives, but my favorite one is this ability to learn how to work really hard at something, failing and succeeding in stride. Leonard calls it “mastery,” Duckworth calls it “grit,” but it’s the same concept – whatever you are doing, be completely present. Live life to the fullest.
Maybe the real dichotomy in our brains is numbness and aliveness?