Sunday, October 14, 2007

whole brain or half brain

During my recent training a work, they covered the Whole Brain model. It says that the brain is a mix of 4 quadrants which they categorize by color: blue, green, red, yellow.

Blues: analytical, bottom line, technical, financial, expert in a field
Greens: organized, detailed
Reds: Interpersonal, emotional
Yellows: Dreamers, big picture, artists

You start by choosing a group of colors that you feel you are most like. I think when I did this the last time I was very yellow, though most people are a mix of 2-3 colors and often have a dominant default. When I'm relaxing, I'm very yellow. Don't really keep track of time, into aesthetics, can draw larger concept out of detail. Next I think I'd be blue, partially that the field that I'm in attracts blues. People who collect and analyze data. Next is red, people who like people and are good at socializing and being aware of people's feelings. Lastly, I only have a touch of green and often only when I commit to focus on a thing.

The different colors have ways to communicate. Reds and Blues, Greens and Yellows are diametrically opposed which means that they have the greatest difficulties communicating, yet they fulfill each other's greatest needs. Greens can be obsessively very narrow, so yellows can get them to see the big picture. While yellows don't do enough planning, greens are right there with the details.

Of the four Green is very distinctive mostly because the other colors often notice them as very detailed, but can also be seen as controlling and obsessive with their one way.

All four are really necessary and really necessary when working in a group as each dominant feature gives you something. 4% of all people in a challenging situation can think with all four parts. 12% of CEOS can do this. I guess that's a trait of being the head honcho.

I find, that if push came to shove, I often will become the missing color. Want a tightly run meeting? Sign me up! Yet at home I sorely lack a green initiative though I go through my bouts. It kind of ebbs and flows.

I also started noticing the "colors" of my family members. The hubby while quite green at work, is not very green at home and with me only with bursts of it, it can be a challenge because there are tasks that have to happen that are most suited for green thinking. My mother is definitely high on green as she needs things put in order and seeing this order comes quite easily for her, which explains our arguments about keeping my "yellow-minded" room clean. As a yellow I need to understand the big picture and why things must be done a certain way. Also because my mind likes to explore possibilities, it's difficult for me to choose a way to organize as my mind wants to wander into numerous other configurations and I just don't know which one to pick. When they say, "everything has a place" my mind asks "why is this place better than another?" At school I was quite neat, but that's because everything had a place and someone else chose that place , and sometimes there were rewards for doing so. Plus the method to organizing must "make sense" to me and not simply well because it has to be this way or this is the only way to do it. I immediately rebel against those notions because I constantly believe in options. My sister too is a green, which explains our reactions to how we travel.

I'm getting some semblance of "green" mindedness at home, but it still must "make sense" to me. Hanging clothes in color order makes sense to me. Doing 15 min a day, makes sense to me.

But just because you are dominant in one color doesn't mean you can't be the other colors. You can consciously do things to be less default. And it's good to stretch in this way as it helps you understand how people communicate based on what's important to them. Yellows want to know why. Greens want to know the details. Blues want to know the bottomline. Reds like to know how everyone is doing. So part of the reason someone stares blankly at you when you ask them something, may just be because their brain literally does not comprehend the way in which you are asking. In my adulthood, I often felt like I could never be as organized or take care of a household the way my very green minded mother did and I would feel bad that I was "failing" at it because I couldn't do it in the way she did.

It's like how a track coach once told me to run faster, but didn't give me any tools or drills to learn to run faster. As far as I knew I was running as fast as I could. I couldn't comprehend what faster meant. How do you run faster? How much faster?

By being multiple colors and trying to achieve whole brain also allows you to be more of the proper color when necessary. There are advantages and disadvantages of being each color. And understanding different ways of thinking allow you to view different approaches to the same problem.

Now that I have a bit more "why" answered, this "standard" I used to hold myself up to doesn't bother me as much anymore. I just understand it as a way of thinking, but if I focus on the goal, what are the different ways to reach that goal. In understanding this, I now integrate "green" things with a "yellow" approach. If I knew why certain things should be organized in a certain way, then it's easier for me to keep it neat.

Kermit was right about how it wasn't easy to be green, but we're all chameleons, so we don't have to stay that way.

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