February 17, 2015

Life Hacks for Left-Brain Thinkers

Flickr CC via grapefruitmoon

Those who identify as “left-brain” thinkers tend to be more on the analytic and logical side of the spectrum of thought. Law, finance, engineering and the sciences are some of the many industries that those analytical types tend to fall into. But in an age of innovation, those more systematic thinkers might need a kick-start for creativity to keep up. While there are distinct verbal and analytic styles of thinking associated with different hemispheres of the brain, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t able to delve into more creative areas.

Unfortunately, a large portion of the population believes left-brain thinkers struggle with creativity or aren’t able to generate new ideas. While one might become set in a pattern, it is still possible to break out of this limited method of thinking.

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Author Daniel Coyle’s book The Talent Code describes in detail what physically happens to the brain when someone develops a new skill. In order to properly build up your brain to receive and keep new thought processes, knowledge and skills, Coyle calls for a need of what he names deep practice, which is exactly what it sounds like: practice. Learning and performing a new action involves firing an electrical signal through a neural pathway. Every time this happens, it thickens the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibers. The thicker the myelin sheath around the neural pathway, the more easily and effectively we use it.

What are ways we can “hack” our right-side brain and begin to let it out of the box? Some tips to start thinking creatively are simple:

Sign your name in the way you’ve developed, then re-sign it—backwards. Just the mere motion of attempting to break out of what you would normally do fires the right brain hemisphere. Try signing your name in different writing styles. Upside down. In a spiral. In loops. Repeat this until you are able to sign in all different designs and directions.

The right hemisphere aids in your ability to move in an unfamiliar way—such as dance. Just as we must take steps to learn new moves—a yoga position, a straighter posture, or running style—our brains must use a similar process to learn how to think differently.


Begin the art of deep practice by conquering any unaccustomed task, attempting challenges and feeding stray information into your right brain’s database. Before you know it, you will see new ideas begin to emerge.