It’s been almost a decade since the publication of Dan Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future. And for almost a decade, it stands as a hidden gem.
In his eye-opening book, the reality of the “Future” Pink spoke of in his writing validated his arguments years after it was written. There is a new trend gearing towards right-minded thinking: creating, empathizing, storytelling, playing and designing. Right-brainers are finally getting their claim to fame, after a long period of dormancy and the popularity of left-brain dominance. Pink clearly explains the new approach to thinking and how a left-brained mindset is growing obsolete. Art majors, there’s hope!
Aspiring artists, musicians, and writers are continuously downplayed because they are not seen as a “reliable” asset in our society. Art classes are at risk of removal from the school curricula in order to emphasize the basics – math, science, English and history. What does this teach us? Are schools placing limits on a child’s potential? Do schools kill creativity? In February 2006, Sir Ken Robinson did an insightful TED Talk about the current education system’s failure to recognize the importance of creativity. After so many years, it is unfortunate that not much has changed. Time is ticking. Anyone who acknowledges this enlightening worldview will be ahead of the game.
Many of the people discrediting the importance of the arts are affiliated with professions strongly equipped with analytical, left brained thinking. The truth they don’t want to hear is that their jobs are getting outsourced and replaced by computers at an alarming rate. The evidence is everywhere. Take a look at what’s happening:
- Computer programming is a prime example of a left-brained job. It makes up over 8% of the computer systems design industry and job prospects are expected to grow 29 percent from 2010-2020. However, the good news comes with an untold truth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer programming is getting “increasingly outsourced to countries with lower production costs” within the next decade.
- Where do you go to file your taxes? Do you see an accountant or do it independently? Perhaps, you e-filed via TurboTax or HR Block. The percentage of taxpayers who e-filed from 2001-2013 went from 30% in 2001 to 86% in 2013. That means over 117 million taxpayers filed their taxes all through the convenience of the Internet just last year. This is an astonishing figure. The data, brought by the IRS, denotes the impending uselessness of hiring an accountant in this day and age.
- The legal industry is also undergoing major transformations. Couples will no longer need to pay thousands of dollars to divorce – the Internet provides a new method for a formerly complicated task, to as easy as a few clicks of a button and costing no more than a few hundred dollars. This change will leave attorneys no choice but to lower their costs in a competitive market, and only the more experienced lawyers will survive by doing jobs a computer cannot accomplish: mediation, advice, and interpreting complex relationship issues (all of which are right-brained functions!).
One of the important right brain functions Pink discusses is empathy. Empathy is becoming a growing concern in the healthcare industry. Doctors should be picking up on their patients’ non-verbal cues to see the overall picture, rather than focusing on the systematic answers to medical questions. Answers are nothing but the tip of the iceberg. Understanding the patient as a whole, complex individual will establish a quality doctor-patient relationship, and perhaps, a better diagnosis.
“Physicians express empathy not only by making accurate comments about a patient’s feelings, but by their timing, vocal tones, pauses, and overall attunement to the affective style of a patient,” says bioethicist Jodi Halpern.
Not only will this be useful in healthcare – it can bring about enriched personal relationships and understanding of others.
Despite the growing praise given to the the right hemisphere, the left hemisphere is still equally important. It’s all about balance. Both hemispheres work together to drive the greatest machine of all: the brain. It is multifaceted, with around 100 billion neurons, making connections that enable us to project reality as we know it. It would be at the expense of the individual to exclusively utilize one side. As important it is to look at the specifics, it is just as important to see the whole picture.
A Whole New Mind is perfect for those who think outside the box – away from the confinements of thinking too definitively or objectively. The right side of the brain is what makes us human. It is the side that gives us the ability to feel, connect and dream.
And it’s beautiful.