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2006: Issue 23

Honoring Our Right Brain

In the last two ezines, I have been sharing with you some ideas from Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind, in which he contends that our traditionally “left brain” thinking that has served us well during the Information Age will no longer be sufficient as we enter the Conceptual Age. Pink has identified six “high concept, high touch”  senses  for us to develop and sharpen as we live and work in this new era where the engagement of the right brain will be as necessary as the engagement of the left. 

Design. Story. Symphony. And Play. Yes, play – one of those things we treasure as a child, and tend to leave behind as we grow up, assume more responsibility and translate that to mean no play time. A company successful in an industry where many are not, Southwest Airlines’ mission statement reads “people rarely succeed at anything unless they are having fun doing it.” A total contrast to the traditional work motto that work is work and play is play, frequently followed by I’m not paying you to have fun. 

Pink tells us about Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician in India, who has quit practicing medicine to share laughter, as he spreads laughter clubs around the world, believing that laughter can “improve our health, increase our profits, and maybe even bring world peace.” His mission is to change the world by making us laugh--spontaneous or “thought-free” laughter meaning it is not necessarily sparked by humor. The fastest growing venue for his laughter clubs—the work place.  

Empathy. Pink’s fifth sense, defined as “the ability to imagine yourself in someone else’s position and to intuit what that person is feeling.” Many researchers contend that we are born with the ability/gift to empathize, and that it is through life’s happenings we either sharpen or dull that ability. Arthur Ciaramicoli, Ph.D. a student of empathy contends that it is critical to our health not just our survival, empathy’s core purpose, according to researchers. “It (empathy) reduces tension, lessens the release of stress hormones and widens the lens with which we see the world,…”. Empathy is key to good relationships yet it is often under used and under valued.

Knowing my readers, I believe many of you have a strong empathy muscle; after all you are mothers, fathers, health care workers, service providers, etc. And I will also contend that in daily interactions, you tend to overlook it and thus, not benefit from its presence. 

We are often quick to judge and to reach a conclusion which is in reality merely an extension of our own opinion or feeling, rather than a true measure of how “they” are feeling. Or we forget to engage our brain with our heart, and truly listen before acting. Empathy is about listening with our whole body, resonating with the person’s language and presence before offering a response. When we are the recipients of empathy, we feel it at the core of our being, and see it for the gift that it is.

Meaning—“knowing what your highest strengths are and deploying them in the service of something larger than you are.”  Why many often seek out a coach, having more material things than they ever thought possible, and yet yearning for more, and in search of what “more” is.  Discerning meaning is often about defining your purpose.  It is a journey of self discovery, exploring possibilities, and ultimately aligning our life with our defined meaning through our actions. 

Design, story, symphony, play, empathy and meaning.  Each can stand alone, and yet all are connected.  In a general sense, living life with both our right and left brains engaged is about living life fully present—with all senses alive and breathing.  When we engage our whole brain, we are forced to explore, tapping into that explorer within all of us.

Having given Daniel Pink’s contentions considerable thought and analysis, I will contend that our most treasured memories are when Pink’s proposed “high concept, high touch” senses were fully engaged and present.  This upcoming week, we all have an opportunity to fully engage our right brains. Thanksgiving is a time when family and friends gather together, continue traditions, share stories, play games, express gratitude, give hugs, ponder life and create memories. Enjoy.


What can you do differently to more fully engage your empathy muscle?

What is your purpose….for today, for the Thanksgiving holiday, for your life? What can you do to honor that purpose?

If you inherited $10 million, would you still do what you are doing?  If not, what would you do different?

What game did you love to play as a child?  Play it with your family and friends this Thanksgiving holiday, and laugh out loud.

Founded in 2003 and based in Roanoke, Virginia, Extra Ordinary Living works with individuals, organizations and teams to identify possibilities, create opportunities, remove obstacles and through deliberate action, optimize results.

Usually the first question we are asked, is why Tiberius? Our trivia friends can often identify the references……yes, Tiberius was the 2nd Roman emperor, and yes, Tiberius is the middle name of James T. Kirk from Star Trek. One of our life mottos and business principles is “to learn from the past, look to the future while living in the present.” Thus, Extra Ordinary Living.

As Professional Coaches, we are trained to listen, to observe and to customize our approach to our clients needs.  We provide tools, support, structure and accountability to help our clients unleash their full potential and optimize results.  The best thing about coaching is it is all about you – the client, and what you want.  We may share our opinions and give you advice, but it is up to you to pick and choose what you want to accept.  We suspend judgment and will support you in your decisions. 

As Professional Speakers, our messages are inspirational while imparting useful, practical and memorable information in a fun and dynamic way to help our audiences live  extra ordinary lives.  

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
– Joseph Campbell

Janet Crawford, MHA, MBA
Professional Certified Coach

A publication of Extra Ordinary Living,  Extra Ordinary Living is written for aspiring individuals striving to make a difference, and wanting to explore, experience and excel in all aspects of their life.

“You’re not going to find the meaning of life hidden under a rock written by someone else. You’ll only find it by giving meaning to life from inside yourself.”
– Dr. Robert Firestone

“Games are the most elevated form of investigation.”
– Albert Einstein


In honor of Thanksgiving, I want to thank you for your support. I wish you an enjoyable Thanksgiving, and a year filled with health, happiness and peace.