Thinking Style

What is your thinking style?

I am reading a book entitled “The Thinking Person’s Guide to Happiness” by Ruth Searle. One of the chapters is “Discover your personal thinking style”. When we are referring to the thinking style, it is more often than not associated with whether you are a left- or right-brainer. From young up until now, I am fairly certain I am a left-brain thinker, i.e. my thinking process is more on “the logical, sequential, linear and rational, organised, verbal expression, writing, and reading” style. I always like to expand my right-brain as well, i.e. to become more creative, intuitive, abstract, random, feelings, etc, because I am dead certain I am not much of a right brainer person. But at least I know I have brain!

In the book, there is a test to help the readers to ascertain if you are a right- or left-brainer . 20 sets of words or statements are listed and all you have to do is to choose which best describe yourself. I chose based on what I thought I am and surprise, surprise! The test results actually indicated I am predominantly a right-brain thinker! How bizarre. Here is the 10 2 sets of words/ statements, and choose which one best describes you.

Q1: A) Studying/ Reading B) Warm

I chose (A) – Column 1

Q2 A) Imaginative B) Analytical

I chose (B) – Column 1

Q3 A) Sensitive B) Precise

I chose (A) – Column 2

Q4 A) Feeling B) Speaking

I chose (A) – Column 2

Q5 A) Science B) Intuition

I chose (B) – Column 2

Q6 A) Factual B) Arts

I chose (A) – Column 1

Q7 A) Untidy B) Organised

I chose (A) – Column 2

Q8 A) Numbers B) Thinking

I chose (B) – Column 2

Q9 A) Creative B) Cool

I chose (B) – Column 1

Q10 A) Competitive B) Spontaneous

I chose (B) – Column 2

I have 6 column 2 and 4 column 1. (There are only 2 columns, so if your answers differ from mine, then yours will be on the opposite column). With higher total in column 2, this indicates I am predominantly a right-brain thinker, random, creative, and intuitive. Although it is just by 60/40 mark, the result definitely gave me a big question of how much do I know myself. Before taking the test, I thought it would have been a 90/10 or 80/20 mark, which both would have indicated I am a predominantly left-brain thinker.

So maybe I should start working on my left-brain to make my brain more balance? Or should I continue to work on the right-brain to strengthen my skills? Ironically I thought I have been working in a profession which requires more of a left-brain than right-brain thinking.

I am so confused now! Is this why I always self-doubt my performance at work? Should that be the case, I have been working my left-brain for the last 10 years. I do hate numbers although ironically I study accounting. Again, it was a wrong decision to do that, and I definitely think the career choice back in my schooling days weren’t great. They always associate an accounting profession with mathematics or solving problems. Let me stress that it is not the case! In fact accounting has nothing to do with the fact that you can calculate well. You can add, subtract, multiply or divide. You just have to know how to punch the calculator or computer in order to get the equations. Interest in mathematics or statistics does not mean you have interest in accounts! And I don’t deal with numbers! Why I like math is because the logic, the equations, the fact that if I can solve a problem that gives me a hyper level satisfaction! Whereas accounting, you can only do so if you manage to balance the balance sheet or trial balance. Both does not require any problem solving skills, but you just have to be conscious what has gone into the debit or credit. It is a balancing act, and to a certain extent, creativity! Ok, creative accounting is not quite encouraged from auditing or perhaps legal point of view. So I wouldn’t go into details anymore and in fact, I have diverted the topic.

Back to the thinking style. In the book, there is another table to suggest how to develop left- or right brain once you have identified with the 10 of 2 sets of words or statements earlier. So for me, I should be developing my left-brain more by doing the following activities:

a) Keep a diary of my daily activities and organise my week 

Ok, I don’t really keep a diary of my daily activities and organise my week. Well I like to be a bit more free – (Ok, it is the first indication of me being a non-left brainer) 

b) Read newspaper and factual books

I do read factual books and newspaper. In fact I have lost interest on fiction novels now. – so that is one tick! 

c) Put together a speech or presentation on my favourite subject

Public speaking?? That makes me legs jelly! 

d) Organise your finances on a computer spreadsheet 

Ok, I am an accounting undergraduate, but I hate to manage finance. I have my own “finance manager” at home, so I wouldn’t need to do that myself!  

e) Make a list of items you need in order to redecorate a room, or a list of plants you would put in the garden

I may do this if I have my own house later. Would I make a list? Erm…maybe not. I think I would just see what decorative items are easy to clean but pretty at the same time. Why would I want to put a list of what I need to decorate the house? And plants?.. ermm… 

Right I should be doing these if I want to develop my left-brain! Keep that in mind. 

f) Make a “Mind Map” of your goals and plans and list ways you would achieve them 

Yup I was supposed to do that too after attended the career planning seminar. I started to scribble something, well, not quite finish yet. Mind mapping may be a good way to continue it. At least that is more fun than just answering the questions. Well those are thoughts provoking questions but I just haven’t had the quiet moment to do that yet. Quiet internally. 

g) Write a list of all the new experiences in life you want to try out 

I like this exercise. I could be listing all sorts of experiences that I like to try out. In fact, I have been doing that, well not quite writing it down but thinking about doing it. But whether I have done- or will do it or not, that is another set of questions! (Why can’t I commit??!!!) 

h) Go to the library and explore the internet to find out as much as you can about an interesting new hobby 

Surely I can do it at home? I have internet at home. Sorry, I think the key words are “new hobby” and not where I do the research. Ok, I will think of a new hobby later on. Then again, I did pick up a new hobby 2-3 years ago, i.e. photography and purchased 1 DLSR camera (well 2 actually as the first one was stolen). So how is that going to help with the left-brain activity? Where is the element that is going to help me to develop my left-brain? In fact when I started this hobby, I thought it is a good way for me to expand my right-brain as it requires creativity and artistic eyes to certain extent in order to capture that beautiful moment. In fact, I felt it is a powerful tool for me to express my creativity. It may not be to the professional standard, but I do feel satisfied with the results. And I insist on not “photoshop” them as it will not be “natural” anymore. I may do some colour adjustments to enhance it but will definitely not anything more than than. 

i) Write plans and lists of things to do every day 

I again have some vague idea of what I want to do every day especially this time of my life. Waking up clueless of what I am going to do for the day is suffering. So before I went to bed yesterday, I thought about what I want to do today. Which I did, just haven’t started yet. It is only mid-day and I should be doing it later. 

There you go the whole long list of to-do to develop my left-brain. My reactions to each of the activity did somehow indicate I am a right-brain thinker. How stupid am I?  So let’s look at what activities to develop the right-brain and whether I have the same reaction I had with the left-brain thinker activities.

1) Keep a diary of your feelings 

That is quite accurate. I would rather write about my feelings than what my daily activities are. 

2) Write a short story and read more fiction

I love writing short story, although not quite successful, as I don’t have good juicy stories or ways to play with words. I always think that will be a good read if my vocabulary is better. And I have been reading fictions since young although as I mentioned earlier, I prefer to read non-fiction now. How ignorant am I not to realise that this actually indicates I am a right-brainer?!! 

3) Learn to paint and draw

When I was young, I did take up art classes, although only lasted for a month or less. In fact, I hate art classes in school. I didn’t quite enjoy painting or drawing as I think I don’t have the talent. I would love to draw though. I remember when I was young and free, I would take a poster of my idol, Tony Leung and drew his portrait with pencil. I thought I did quite well. But I don’t know where that drawing is anymore. 

4) Make something with clay

Ok, I haven’t tried this one before. But then again, I did want to make something out of plasticine but it always left my hands with oil or sticky feeling. I guess plasticine in my era wasn’t as good as what it is now. I am quite amazed with the play doh nowadays. Very creative. 

5) Redesign a room in your house or your garden

Similar to (5) in right-brainer activities, I would do so when I have my own house. I do day-dream what kitchen I like to have. With an island in the middle of the kitchen and a big work top so that I can do whatever cooking there. What colour I like? Doesn’t matter as long as easy to clean. Which means I wouldn’t want my stove to be near the wall at all!

6) Make a “Mind Map” of your feelings  about your life and how you would feel if you changed things

Again this is something I always do although not necessarily “mind mapping”. Just thinking abstractly but never really put things in place. 

7) Write a story of yourself and your life and what you want to achieve

I have written a few postings here already!

8) Visualise yourself doing something new and exciting

I am always doing it. Again, I only visualise but never really got to doing it. 

9) Daydream more often

Right, day dreaming! I don’t know if I realise I do that or not. I do think that I don’t day dream too much. Maybe I should. Hmm… 

Right, after having done this last exercise, I think I am indeed a left-brain thinker than a right-brain thinker than I always thought I was. Very interesting exercise! (I wonder this exercise would help me to develop my right brain).

And I wonder if that could help me to steer my future direction, regardless in my current profession or in a completely different profession? I hope I can figure out very soon!

Categories: Career, Life, Thinking Style | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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