In Super Mind Power Via Both Sides of Your Brain – Part 1, we talked about the two distinct aspects of the brain (left brain – more analytical, right brain – more creative) and how the development of both sides can benefit us greatly in all of our creative endeavors. Here in part 2, let’s look at how we can actually use this stuff in the real life application of whole-brain thinking.
For a quick jump-start into the whole-brain experience, there is one fundamental element for each attribute of the brain that will really get things moving in that area if you’re stuck, or if you’re just looking to jack up your overall mental mo-jo. Here they are:
Digits – For the Left
Most of us think about the expansive, free-flowing right-brain when we think of a highly productive, creative output. This part of the mind is steeped in the inspired, intuitive aspect of the process, and it’s generally the aspect of the brain we most associate with our creativity. But even when the right-brain is fully firing and reasonably productive, we can still hit a wall and either not feel especially inspired with a project, or not be able to finish one. When this happens, there’s an effective left-brain trick we can do to get us back into our whole-brain; add digits (numbers) to the process.
Example: if you’re working on a book…
♦ Create a deadline for when it has to be finished
♦ Challenge yourself with a certain daily quota of words or pages to complete each day
♦ Commit to working on the project for x-number of hours per day and record your progress with a stopwatch
♦ Solidify the structure of the piece by creating a detailed outline, and/or deciding on number of chapters, page count, or any other “numerical” element of the work
All of these ideas involve some kind of numbers, and this will automatically provide additional structure to the process and create some forward motion, guaranteed. In fact, anytime I’ve made my most serious strides with practicing drums – or actually finished a manuscript of some sort – it was because there were some real numbers attached to the process.
But won’t this kind of regimentation destroy the creative side of the process?
No. Like most creatives, I used to think it would, but that turns out to be a myth. You would be stunned to know how many highly-creative folks implement scary amounts of left-brain process into their daily practice… especially writers.
Visions – For the Right
On the other side of the fence, there could be times when our work ethic is high and we’re on a diligent, regimented schedule of engaging our respective creative activity. And yet, the work itself might feel uninspired, lacking vibrancy and spark. In these cases – since our left-brain is working well – it’s time to get back in touch with some inspiring visuals surrounding the process.
To use our original example of a book, you could visualize…
♦ What it might look like in its finished form (including size and dimension, cover art, and interior layout)
♦ How it will feel in your hands upon completion… what the ink will smell like as you rifle through that initial copy
♦ What it will be like to promote the work publicly though any of a number of different mediums, and how it will feel to have your story or concepts out there in the world
♦ How people might (favorably) react and personally benefit from the book
All of these things involve the creative, visual, right-side of the brain…the heart of your inspiration, which is where most creative things emanate to begin with.
So if you’re feeling stuck, or are just looking to improve your productivity, ask yourself the following two questions:
1) What are the compelling and inspired visions that I have for this thing (whatever it is you’re working on)?
2) What are all the different numbers in place to ensure that I have structure (and motivation) to finish this thing?
On a personal note, I have to bring in some digits if I ever want to make real progress, because I have a tendency to live in the timeless, creative cocoon of process and practice. I love it there… engaging the muse (or muses) as I want, when I want. But shit simply doesn’t get finished like this. So I have to force some digits into the equation, which is why I had to agree to a publishing date this summer for my newest book.
Even for this blog – which I haven’t exactly been the most consistent with through the years – I generally have a vision for many different things I could write about… except that I don’t always put my ass in the seat to actually write about them! So I recently came up with some left-brain digits to apply to the vision, and that’s how this current 20-blogs-in-30-days series came to be.
One More Secret Weapon
Last week, we talked about using specialized journals as a way of documenting progress in various areas of your life. A journal like this is perfect for this visions and digits approach, because you can document both your daily left-brain processes and your various right-brain visions about your project in the same place. In fact, I even go as far as to find a simple way to distinguish between a visions or digits journal entry. I might use a different color font for the visions stuff, or if it’s in a hand-written journal, I might draw a box around those vision-based “snapshots.” But no matter what you do or how you do it, journals are the ultimate way of keeping everything organized, inspired, and moving forward.
PS. This is blog #10 in my 20-blogs-in-30-days series for June 2014. Half-way home…