Lately I've been reading a bunch of books about small business, partly to learn some things that will help me at my job and partly to pick up new skills that can be transferred to other projects (more on that another day). One common theme I've noticed in some of these books is that they really want (even expect) you to plant yourself pretty firmly in one of two camps: left-brained (logical, critical) or right-brained (creative, intuitive).
This bugs the crap out of me.
For one thing, anybody who knows me would probably describe me as a creative person. Making things, thinking things up, etc., are major ways I've spent my time since I was a little kid. But when I read descriptions of what a creative (right-brained) person is supposedly like, I don't really see myself in that chaotic, math-phobic stereotype.
For another thing, false dichotomies are kind of a pet peeve of mine. Right/wrong, feminine/masculine, introvert/extrovert...these are all such gross oversimplifications. Life is so much more complicated than that! And the murky area between extremes is where things get really interesting, anyway.
Rather than wanting to figure out if I'm a right-brainer or a left-brainer, most often I feel, as the White Stripes so succinctly put it, like this:
I'm at my best (and maybe when it comes right down to it, this is true for everyone) when I can get those seemingly disparate traits to work together. If the right brain is in charge of creation, and the left brain is in charge of language, what about those of us who like to create with words? And thinking up dozens of project ideas with my right brain is great, but if my left brain didn't make lists and figure out how to organize my time a bit, none of those projects would EVER get done.
Let's stop trying to put each other in these left/right categories and embrace the wonderful messiness of using the whole brain! Maybe there's a reason it's mostly gray matter--things in life are rarely either black or white.