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Figuring It Out

copyright 2012 Michael SchubertWith President Obama’s recent push for accelerated investment in brain research, we can expect the coming years to deliver a steady flow of discoveries about how we process information. This is welcome news for me, because I’m always up for a good story about mirror neurons or brain plasticity.

You can’t imagine how delighted I was when Daniel Pink published A Whole New Mind a few years back and proclaimed that “right-brainers would rule the future.” But I’m afraid the revolution may be slow in coming. The more we learn about our brain’s astonishing range and capacity, the more I am struck by our tenacious allegiance to “reason” and “logic” as the go-to tools for workplace problem solving. Regardless of the nature of the problem, we seem to think we can think our way out of it.

My heart goes out to the leader or change agent who, when confronted with a relationship challenge, or when puzzling over a question of vision or values, frowns and confesses, “I can’t figure it out.” Could it be—I might gently suggest—that not every problem lends itself to quantitative analysis? Rather than figure it out, could you…

  • Draw it out?
  • Dream it out?
  • Dance it out?
  • Sing it out?
  • Swim it out?
  • Bake it out?
  • Breathe it out?

Next time you’re struggling to make sense of something…what would happen if you turned to some of your other senses for insight? Maybe that’s what they’re there for?

  1. Mary Thompson
    April 9, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Yes, and don’t forget write it out, poetry it out, piano (or any instrument) it out. Glad “Inspired Alliance” is back!

  2. April 9, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Nice post, Vicky.


  3. April 10, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Great Vicky, glad to be inspired again!

  4. April 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    And Aikido it out! Thanks, Vicky. I love the way your brain works!

  5. April 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Thanks for your comments! I know the four of you are well-acquainted with the power of right-brain thinking. I was visiting some friends this week who are jigsaw puzzle doers. I was thinking that jigsaw puzzles represent a nice blend of left- and right-brain activity. Maybe I’ll design an experiment to use them in a workplace problem-solving context. Hmmmm.

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