As a metaphor for the impact of automation on our society, Pink recalls the story of chess grand master, Garry Kasparov, who pitted himself against an IBM-designed super computer named Big Blue in 1985. In fact, for the past 50 years or so, American national achievement has depended predominantly on the use of left-brained skills. Someone who develops those abilities has a crucial advantage in today’s crowded marketplace as left-brain intensive white collar work is increasingly being outsourced to low cost countries. Or is it? Nicholas Negroponte of MIT put it this way, “Many engineering deadlocks have been broken by people who are not engineers at all. But there’s still a long way to go, says Pink. Pink argues we need to supplement our already well-developed left-brained skills by getting in touch with six critical senses, namely: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning. This led to George Bush winning Florida by only 537 votes. Today, more than two-thirds of Americans own their homes. But are they right? Throughout history, stories have played an important role in our lives. With this in mind, leading American companies, such as 3M, are now giving their top executives storytelling lessons. A speaker named Madan Kataria is introduced. Those of us who make our livings as left-brain thinking lawyers, accountants and engineers may struggle a bit more to adapt to the coming change. On the other hand, some people are more attracted to holistic, intuitive and non-linear thinking. He also recommends that we keep up with design magazines and museums. He says we’re on the cusp of a new era that will favor “conceptual” thinkers like artists, inventors and storytellers. In the emerging Conceptual Age, what matters more and more, according to Pink, is “the ability to place facts into context and to deliver them with emotional impact.” Or, in more basic terms, what will matter most going forward is your ability to tell stories. Scientists have long known that the brain is divided into two hemispheres. For example, most people can tell the difference between Times New Roman and Arial fonts, but just 20 years ago only typesetters would have been able to do so. Doctors who understand their patients’ feelings and symptoms are more successful than those who don’t. Right-Directed Thinking is how people excel at ambiguous tasks such as finding meaning and purpose because it combines ideas from different areas to create something new. Humor is a critical component of play. The workforce demands innovation, creativity, and emotional impact from their work. If you look at it that way, why shouldn’t your toaster be beautiful?!? Design is important in our current times. More drastically, the search for money becomes the search for meaning. “Few issues have generated more controversy and anxiety in the workplace than outsourcing,” explains Pink. “But that is a serious misunderstanding of what design is and why it matters.”. A maze engages your left brain, whereas a labyrinth frees your right brain and allows it to meditate on deeper matters. We’re moving into a conceptual age where high touch (the ability to empathize) and high concept (the ability to combine unrelated ideas) will be more valuable than technology skills. What can we do to stay ahead of this curve? The left hemisphere of the brain is known to be responsible for more analytical tasks. Many businesses have begun embracing this trend by implementing spiritual values into their company ethos. Now, however, there’s an abundance of knowledge available online and you can combine ideas from various sources to come up with new ones. Video games have become more popular than ever. For example, an angry facial expression. Management guru, Tom Peters, believes that with the widespread availability of relatively affordable super computers, any American job that depends on routines steps — or can be broken down into a set of repeatable steps — is at risk. As the Information Age began to gather steam, our investment in left-brained thinking made us materially richer than we’d ever dreamed possible, offering up a standard of living in much of the developed world that would have been unthinkable even 100 years ago. It’s more common for people to use humor at work and it helps make their jobs easier. Empathizers need high-touch skills (to find joy within themselves and inspire it in others). The core of this task is empathy. Nevertheless, American culture still tends to prize the left-leaning thinking more highly, seeing right-brained activities as useful, but clearly secondary. Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company was against smiling at work, but that’s changing in today’s world because it makes employees happier while they’re working. Spirituality is related to religion, but spirituality can be about believing in something larger than just the individual. Yet for all the brain’s complexity, its essential geography is quite simple. Stories are becoming more important in business, and they’re affecting everyone. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Businessweek Bestseller.. That’s why many medical schools have courses on spirituality and why many physicians take spiritual histories of their patients. In addition to those techniques, he suggests volunteering regularly because it improves your ability to put yourself into someone else’s shoes by making you see life through their eyes for even just a little bit at a time. Across America, it would seem that “Play” is finally coming out of the closet. And at lunchtime, you likely gathered with your friends and told stories about the things that really mattered. Humor is also important in the workplace because it reduces hostility, deflects criticism, relieves tension and improves morale. Nowadays, many businesses require employees who are good at telling stories so that they can get their message across better and improve customer relations. James Watson, Nobel Prize recipient for helping to discover DNA, describes the human brain as “the most complex thing we have yet discovered in the universe.”. Happiness stems from a variety of sources, including biology and circumstance. Mackenzie often spoke to groups of school children, and always started his speech with the question: “How many artists are there in the room?” Invariably, in kindergarten and first grade classes, virtually every child would enthusiastically wave his or her hand in the air. We’re all natural born storytellers, says Pink. “But now, right-brainers are suddenly grabbing the wheel, stepping on the gas and deciding where we’re going … Left-brain thinking is still necessary, but it’s no longer sufficient. Like this summary? Now, however, the workforce needs to be able to think in a way that combines both sides of the brain. Some executives try to suppress this basic human need for fear of offending their religiously diverse employees. This card was able to elicit an emotional response rather than just present cold facts like most other cards did because it told a story instead of making factual claims or using statistics or data to persuade people into buying something they don’t want. Symphony is the ability to see connections between things that others don’t. As children got older and began to doubt whether being an artist was a noble profession, students would begin to shy away. He learns that happiness and joy are different, because happiness is conditional. In A Whole New Mind, Pink argues the future belongs to a different kind of person, with a different kind of mind. The left hemisphere focuses on details and the right hemisphere looks at things from a more global perspective. Places Discussed. But Mom and Dad were wrong. What's special about Shortform: Sound like what you've been looking for? “Left-brain-style thinking used to be the driver, and right-brain-style the passenger,” writes Pink. Book Notes. He describes what it means to be human and how readers can use certain traits associated with the right side of the brain in order to succeed professionally. As just one example, the off-shoring of computer jobs to India is creating new opportunities for people who are able to “conduct” the relationships between the programmers in the East and the clients in the West. The American workforce can overcome the challenges of working in a digital age by mastering six traits. Pink calls this Symphony. Empathy is the ability to feel what another person feels or experiences. That is because perspective is more important than IQ. Your email address will not be published. The right side — the side that governs our instincts and emotions — was considered subsidiary. One’s ability to take seemingly unrelated pieces and knit them together to form a “big picture” is now the crucial skill. But in the dawning Conceptual Age, the opposite is true. This means that businesses need to design products in an attractive and functional manner, instead of just focusing on cost efficiency. The education system works … If you hoped to thrive in the Twentieth Century, you needed to specialize. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Required fields are marked *. But, says Pink, that doesn’t mean we can’t change the rules. The left hemisphere of the brain processes this information sequentially, whereas the right side interprets context. It’s been proven that hospitals with labyrinths have happier patients than those without them because they promote meditation in their patients’ bodies and minds.
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