Your ability to speak and understand words is a function of the logical, rational, sequential, deductive-reasoning left hemisphere of your brain. Your left-brain hungers for accuracy and seeks to forecast a result.1
But the other half of your brain – the wordless right hemisphere – is wired for pattern recognition.2
The right hemisphere has no morals, no discretion, and doesn’t care whether a thing is true or false; that’s the left brain’s job. But visual patterns, musical patterns, mathematical patterns, and patterns of behavior trigger what you and I call intuition; gut feelings and hunches. Your can be sure that your wordless right hemisphere is at work when you suddenly know something, but you’re not entirely sure how you know it.
It is during the solving of mysteries that the equal-but-opposite left and right hemispheres are fully engaged.
Talent is unconscious competence.
If the right hemisphere of your brain recognizes the patterns within great writing, you will likely be a talented writer, but you will not likely be a great writing teacher. It is difficult to transfer talent.
Skill is conscious competence,
usually obtained by observing a talented person and then figuring out exactly what it is they are doing unconsciously. Skilled people make great teachers.
This tug-of-war between talent and skill is found in every field of endeavor.
But today my fascination is fixed upon speculation, another type of mystery-solving that involves our pattern-seeking right hemispheres.
Speculation is responsible for every form of gambling, including speculation in the stock market. Speculation is why we love great stories told in books, TV shows and movies. Speculation is why we marvel at magic tricks and laugh at good jokes and groan at the ones that are obvious.
If you want to bore people, just say what they expected you to say; do what they expected you to do. But if you want to captivate those people, delight them with a series of small surprises.
Are you beginning to understand the purpose of those unexpected words in great literature, symbolic song lyrics and amazing ad copy? Talented people write those words unconsciously. But you and I can learn to write them consciously.
In last week’s rabbit hole, Indy Beagle, Laura Nyro, and The Fifth Dimension gave us the inexplicable word “surry” in Stoned Soul Picnic, along with a debate about what “surry” might mean. But “surry” was only the first surprise we encountered.
“Surry down to the stoned soul picnic. There’ll be lots of time and wine, red-yellow honey, sassafras and moonshine. Rain and sun come in akin, and from the sky come the Lord and the lightning. There’ll be trains of blossoms. There’ll be trains of music. There’ll be trains of trust, trains of golden dust. Come along and surry on sweet trains of thought.”
Fifty-three years after this song hit the charts, our left-brains continue to demand an explanation of what Laura Nyro was trying to say.
Meanwhile, our right-brains are enjoying the picnic.
Roy H. Williams
1 Broca’s area (slightly forward of your left ear canal) and Wernicke’s area (just behind your left ear,) along with a high-bandwidth bundle of nerves connecting these two called the arcuate fasciculus is what gives us our superpower: the ability to attach complex meanings to sounds, and then to make those sounds through the effortless coordination of diaphragm, larynx, lips and tongue. This ability to communicate highly detailed information is what puts you and I, along with all the other humans, in charge of this spaceship we call Earth.
2 Dr. Roger Sperry won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Medicine, “for his discoveries concerning the functional specialization of the cerebral hemispheres.” Speaking of the brain and the mind, Sigmund Freud said, “Poets [thinkers who prefer the right brain] are masters of us ordinary men in knowledge of the mind because they drink at streams which we have not yet made accessible to science [thinkers who prefer the left brain.] Aroo, Indy Beagle
Hey! Have you ever read or listened to Free the Beagle? It’s a true story about my twin sister, Intuition, and her adventures with a lawyer on the way to Destinae. It’s the first short book in a 3 book trilogy written by the wizard many years ago. Aroo. Again. Indy
Piloting an F-16 at 1,500 mph will focus the mind on what’s most important. Eleven years of flying F-16’s taught Rob Shallenberger the power of strategic, operational, and tactical focus. Now he and his father, Steve, are helping executives at Pepsi, Dell, Charles Schwab, and the Dallas Cowboys soar to new heights. This week on a fresh-fresh podcast, roving reporter Rotbart learns from Rob Shallenberger how to boost productivity by 30 to 50 percent by implementing four simple words of advice: “Do What Matters Most.“ Up! Up and Away! at MondayMorningRadio.com