Are you a leftie or a rightie?
No, I’m talking about brains, not hands 🙌 !
Today we’re thinking about the left brain and the right brain.
The left brain is the one that’s honed through all those years of studying law. Think analysis, logical thought, mathematics, and science, it’s all about order, precision, and cognition. Crafting those witness statements, building those cases, and managing those transactions.
The right brain is associated more with intuition and free thinking. Movement, feelings, spirituality, bodily sensations. Not stuff you’d traditionally associate with law.
It’s not hard to see that the left brain has been prized over the right, at least in the Western world. That’s not rocket science (to use a left-brain phrase). Feelings, intuition, and emotions have routinely been seen as inferior or less worthy than intellect and analytical thought.
But are they?
Because, as I mentioned, a key attribute of the right brain is divergent thinking. As opposed to the linear thinking more commonly associated with the left brain. Linear thinking occurs when we’re building a case in a certain direction. We know the direction of travel. We’re bearing down on a problem. We’re dealing with specifics. Divergent thinking occurs when we’re standing back from an issue, looking at the whole situation in the round, the bigger picture.
The problem with linear thinking is we’re too in the middle of it all, the drama. We can become so obsessively focused on ‘winning’ our key points that we lose perspective.
Sounds like a lot of legal disputes, no?
This is why mediation training focuses on developing divergent thinking. Helping people stand back from situations and think more creatively leads to the prospect of potential creative solutions.
And look at where prizing the left brain over all else has got us. To the point where we’ve concluded that the best thing you can do with feelings is try to squash them. Intellect is king 👑 . Where we’ve become confident that we’ll be able to win over opponents and even sometimes our own clients with the strength of our intellectual arguments.
But guess what. It hasn’t worked. Because to be truly effective, you have to know how to work with feelings, not against them. We have to realise that, often, our analytical arguments will have no sway if we can’t understand and work with the emotions involved (other people’s and our own).
This isn’t about dissing the lefties! We need our left brain! It’s about recognising that the best lawyers (and service providers) are those who are using both their left and right brains. Who are using their feelings as well as their intellect?
And a great deal of our training, therapy, and coaching services at The Carvalho Consultancy is about respecting and enhancing your right brain function in the knowledge that it will make you a better lawyer and a more rounded person.
What do you think? Are you a leftie or a rightie? Let us know in the comments…