Why Your Thinking Style Matters in Times of Uncertainty?
by - Alan Caugant, CEO SUPERHUMAIN™
Most of us have heard at some point in our lives that we’re either right-brain or left-brain thinkers. Although the two sides function differently, they work together and complement each other. Maybe you’ve even taken a quiz to find your true thinking type. But what you might not have been taught is that knowing the difference between thinking styles matters more than you think, especially when it comes to finding success and fulfillment in your career and personal life.
Neuroleadership research has led to an understanding that each of us has a preferred way and mode of thinking that affects the way we take in and process information. The awareness of one’s thinking preferences and the thinking preferences of others, combined with the ability to act outside of one’s preferred thinking preferences is known as “Symbiotic Brain”.
In our current time of VUCAD (volatility,uncertainty,complexity, ambiguity and diversity), we need to be able to trust and rely on our own innate skills and abilities more than ever before. We spend enough time weighing the choices in our daily lives that have become complicated by COVID. Knowing your thinking style can help you make sense of how you rationalize, discover what energizes and fulfills you, and perhaps most importantly, how to achieve a higher quality of life simply by being yourself.
What are the Different Thinking Styles?
There are two ways to approach finding your thinking style: the left-brain or right-brain breakdown,or a deeper-level examination of the five thinking styles recognized by psychologists. Let’s review both:
If you’re a left-brain thinker, you’ve probably been referred to as a deep-thinker more than once. You’re a numbers person fueled by data, logic, processes, and fine details. It’s not surprising for left-brainers to operate from lists and compile things into charts and graphs. Common professions that actually fulfill left-brainers include accountants, engineers, scientists, legal experts, and medical professionals.
If you lean toward the right brain, you’re most likely a creative type. You have a vision and want to run with it. You usually communicate well and operate based on feelings, gut instinct, and the current vibe of a situation. You might not be the most punctual person, but you can make up missed minutes with loads of ideas, inspiration, and overall value. You tend to think outside the box, which is usually where you find your best ideas, even if they seem a little unorthodox to others. Common professions include entrepreneurship, design, music, writing, marketinginterior decorating, or anything that gives you creative freedom.
Both right-brain and left-brain thinkers may be able to further dial down into one of these five unique thinking styles:
A synthesist is a creative thinker, usually fueled by the inspiration around them. They’re curious and creative and may be obsessed with the abstract. They’re quick to provide opposing views and can come off as combative, so it’s best to hear others’ ideas before presenting your own unique alternatives.
You have a vision of what a perfect life or career should be like, and you’re ready to go after it. Idealists are excellent at setting goals and putting those goals into motion. They see the big picture and are future-oriented. This is often to a fault, though, as idealists are rare breeds and find it hard to gain others’ buy-in. Most people cannot step up to the standards and expectations of an idealist, so most often, idealists are forced to tone down their aspirations if they need the help of others.
a methodical approach to just about everything. They’re more short-term thinkers and doers that aren’t overly concerned with the big picture. Pragmatists and idealists are almost like yin and yang in that they help to balance in each others’ strengths and weaknesses. yin and yang puisqu’ils contribuent à équilibrer les forces et les faiblesses de chacun.
Analysts are also methodical thinkers, but they tend to take more time moving into action than pragmatists. This is because they want to collect all the facts and think about them before moving forward. They tend to outline procedures prior to beginning work, and as a result, they often have a one-track mind that doesn’t allow other ideas to influence them.
Being a realistic thinker is tough: they’re quick on their feet and spring into action, but find it hard to maintain interest in anything for too long. They want to be challenged, but most attempts come up short. They see things in black and white, and can probably benefit from taking a step back and finding new angles and approaches to problem solving.
Thinking Style Summary
When finding your thinking style, you may discover there’s a lot of overlap. Thinking styles are rarely black and white. Most people find they share many characteristics of two or more thinking styles in different scenarios. The best approach is to look toward your dominant tendencies and cater to those more so than your once-in-a-while thinking styles. Within SUPERHUMAIN™, we have identified that people adapt their natural thinking and working styles to fit expectations of others, normally created by external drivers: work and career development, tension and stress results. Normally the brain uses approximately 20% of the oxygen taken in through the lungs. This leaves about 80% for the rest of the body where it is utilized in the process of metabolism and in providing energy at the cellular level and overall. As more and more oxygen is demanded by the brain that is falsifying type, less and less is available to keep the rest of the body up to speed.
The Dangers of Falsification of Type
Finding your thinking style can be an effective first step in learning how you work best. When you can work and function in a way that comes naturally to you, your thoughts and actions come from a place of flow. Swiss psychologist Dr. Carl Jung noted that flow is a rare experience, as most people function from a place he refers to as the falsification de type (Falsification of Type).
According to Jung, the Falsification of Type manifests when a person’s greatest natural tendencies, skills, talents, and abilities are unrelated to the tasks and jobs they’re expected to perform. This disconnect poses a number of dangerous ramifications that affect a person’s health and happiness.
For starters, deviating from natural tendencies can result in constant overthinking, mental backtracking, and increased energy expenditures. When prolonged, these constant mental activities can result in anxiety, irritability, and even exhaustion. It’s akin to trying to write with your non-dominant hand or being told you have to hop on one foot everywhere you go — these things are not natural to us and therefore require extra focus, energy, and resources to accomplish.
San Diego researcher Dr. Richard Haier has linked ongoing Falsification of Type to Prolonged Adaptation Stress Syndrome, in which individuals experience a lack of joy, fulfillment, and premature aging of the brain if left unaddressed over a long period.
Why Your Thinking Style Matters in a VUCAD World
To overcome Falsification of Type requires removing yourself from the environment that’s fueling it. Many people don’t see a career change as an option. They feel stuck and unsure of what they could do that would truly improve their situation.
Right now, COVID is presenting the perfect opportunity to start exploring other options, starting with understanding your thinking style.
We’re all experiencing feelings of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity or diversity in some way. And while you can’t control the state of the world around you, you can influence your personal ecosystem to make things more manageable for yourself.
The first step to finding your thinking style is to realize our Brain O2 assessment. Our work and assessment systems take a completely different approach to other thinking styles assessments – our main focus: measurement of brain function and energy consumption in the brain. Understanding your own brain type, and therefore strengths and weaknesses are helpful for self-development, managing relationships, managing teams, and generally being as fulfilled in life as we can be. Be honest with yourself about what you lack that could offer much-needed support.
Removing yourself from a toxic place of thought and function, or at the very least, finding ways to fill the gaps, can be an excellent step to helping you find something more fulfilling and less demanding on your health and happiness.