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Leaping to the Other Side of the Brain

Kandinsky, Yellow-Red-Blue

My friend JR challenged me to a drawing competition the other day as we were catching up on Facetime. As we each prepared a doodle under the pressure of a one-minute timer, I noticed him beginning to get nervous. That’s when he made a disclaimer, that although he liked his sketch, he wasn’t an art major like me and therefore he wasn’t going to win. As soon as we each revealed our drawings, he would immediately declare his as the worst of the two and that’s when I began exploring an interesting thought. Inside, I really thought that some of his doodles took the lead. I admired the way he would interpret and approach each concept and how his mind worked so differently from mine. I thought to myself how I had never realized how creative he was. I’m talking about a business major who is incredibly organized with his thoughts, argues with facts and is very to the point. I had never seen him even attempt to draw a stick figure.

On some rounds, I almost felt a little insecure about my drawings, as his were so clever. But he didn’t believe me--much like my other friends had in the past during other drawing competitions. Each one had played out very similarly and I was always automatically declared the winner because friends who didn’t usually practice drawing wouldn’t believe that I thought theirs were better. One of these times a comment particularly caught my attention which was, “Well, at least I’m stronger in the other side of my brain.”

All of my life I’ve grown up with this concept that was placed upon me and my friends by a society that categorized me based on my strengths and weaknesses. This concept claims that there are two different types of people in the world which tells me that I am automatically bad at doing the types of things that those who differ from me are good at, and vise versa. This theory really interested me which is why I decided to do some research. When I did, I found that this is a theory that was put together by Nobel prize researcher Roger W. Sperry that says that people either belong to the left or to the right side of the brain. Someone who is left-brained is someone who often uses logic to problem solve and goes by facts. They like things like math because they are interested in thinking linearly and in sequence. On the other hand, those who belong to the right side of the brain are more visual, imaginative and artistic. These are people who often go by rhythm and in uncommunicative ways.

But then I think about my older brother, who for his entire life has obsessed over all subjects that I did anything to stay away from, like math and science. Today he is majoring in computer science and you can easily find him on his computer programming some video game or solving some sort of incredibly difficult problem. Even then, I remember during one of our annual family pumpkin carving competitions, he carved out this amazing image of our dog onto his pumpkin. When he revealed it, my jaw immediately dropped to the floor in awe. I also often daze off in the melody of the music he plays. He has mastered the art of music and in it, I am able to grasp emotion.

This is why I don’t believe that there is such a big difference between JR and I or my older brother and I. I don’t think that we were born stronger on one side of the brain. The only difference is that maybe I exercise my creativity more often than someone who might not be as interested in doing so. If there wasn’t such a defining line upon society, I believe that people would stop limiting themselves and work to exercise all types of day-to-day performances and as a result, come closer than they ever had to their highest potential. To be creative is having the ability to gather knowledge and bring it into a new situation, making something beautiful out of it. It is making observations about our world and relating them to our thoughts. The only reason we are able to do that is that we use our intelligence to our benefit. Very similarly, someone who has very high intelligence can use creativity to be innovative. That’s why we shouldn’t limit ourselves. I know that I can be both, that I am both, and that so can you.

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