Megan is a right-brain woman. To illustrate, her mid-term progress report shows she has completed 100% of her homework (I’m so proud of her) and:

  • Spanish – A
  • English – A
  • US History (AP) – B
  • Religion – C+ (that’s a whole other discussion entirely…)
  • Pre-Calc – C
  • Physics – C-

Last year Megan struggled with Chemistry, yet breezed through the right-brain focused courses like English and History. I was the same way and this test confirms my right-brain rules by an 11/7 ratio. Yeah, I loved taking Ms. Robertson’s US History mid-terms and finals because they were essay exams and every question began with “Explain in detail…” In contrast, I didn’t enjoy any classes that required use of an abacus. Well, there was that freakish occurrence in college Statistics that changed my life forever, but that’s a story for another time…

Now, if you subscribe to the philosophy of Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, and I do, Megan should put extra effort into her areas of strength. So then, why does she have to take Chemistry and numbers, when clearly Megan’s future career success will be driven by her mastery of words and images? My answer to her is that those tough subjects help you learn to think and solve problems, with the added benefit of stimulating your right brain to help you extend its potential even farther. I believe anything that stimulates your brain, and especially those areas that are relatively untapped, benefit the whole brain and increase its capacity. I recall taking some courses at Bentley early in my career. I don’t remember much from the courses themselves, but I do recollect the experience unleashed all kind of new and creative thinking about my job, even when the courses had no direct relation to it.

So, if you’re a right-brainer, this will provide some insight about how best to approach learning. Oh, and here and here are a couple sites to help you excel in Chemistry. If you’re a left-brainer, I suggest going to a museum or a concert of some classical music to help you make more sense of all those zeroes and ones.

Here’s one last thing to ponder: Are the right-brained more inclined to lean left politically and vice-versa?