I’ve always thought of myself as a right-brained person as in creative, intuitive, and imaginative. Ever since I was a kid I’ve enjoyed creative hobbies like drawing, painting, and writing. I always feel most alive when I’m creating something whether it’s a blog post, a painting, or even just doodling in a sketchbook. It’s the only time my mind finally quiets and lets me focus on the task at hand.
So imagine my surprise earlier this week when someone characterized me as a left-brained person. My jaw dropped.
“You take that back!” I wanted to say.
But I didn’t. This person didn’t know me. She only knew me as a random woman who walked into an art store for the first time in ages wanting to know more about paint. My hair was tucked back in a low, neat bun, and I was wearing a heavy cardigan thanks to my office’s Arctic-like temperatures on an 80-degree day. She only knew what she saw. Her comment did make me think though.
“Am I really a left-brained person?”
Don’t get me wrong; left-brained people are great. They’re logical, objective, and intelligent. In fact most of the people I hold near and dear are left-brained people. I just don’t think of myself as one of them.
I have ideas—lots of ideas. The whole picture is what interests me—not just at the sequence of events. I’m often daydreaming, looking at things from different angles, and letting my feelings guide my decisions. I’m even left-handed! I feel like I am the definition of a right-brained person.
However my last few day jobs have been very left-brain jobs, and though these jobs aren’t really me I worried that it was starting to define me—changing who I am and what I want to be. My bosses have always told me how happy they are with my work and that I do a good job. Could it be because I’m really a closeted left-brained person after all?
Just like with everything else in my life I had to find the balance. Maybe I have a little bit of both left and right brain in me. I can be logical and analytical when I need to be, and creative and imaginative when I want to be. It’s actually pretty cool that I can be both, and I think that’s how most of us are anyway.
How boring would it be if we were pigeon-holed and made to believe that we could only be characterized in one simple, single-dimensional sort of way? What makes people interesting are their contradictions—their exceptions to the rule—their oddities.
When I’m around artists I’m seen as quiet, rational, and analytical. When I’m around my co-workers I’m seen as random, creative, and a tad “out there.” That’s fine. I’m alright with not totally fitting in with either group because it means I’m being true to myself.
Do you consider yourself left-brained or right-brained? Do you have characteristics of both?