My first encounter with balanced-brain theory was in the 1990’s when I was head of admissions for a vocational college. Anything that would help understand whether a particular course, leading to a career, would benefit the student’s long-term interests was important.
Enter the Gregorc Style Delimiter which you can still buy a packet of 25 self-assessments for $75 plus a $15 small order charge. Although it seemed expensive at the time, I talked many people including children, friends, and even my then-future wife, into taking the “self-assessment.” It was incredibly useful.
Gregorc is a simple tool. You fill in the answers to a couple of pages of questions. Then an answer key is applied and four aspects of your thinking-style are scored.
The four styles? It’s actually two pairs of thinking modes. Random/Sequential (a familiar concept in programming) helps to understand how a person accesses information.
Some people – faced with a “look-up” problem among 100 choices, will start at the very beginning and will then increment (one lookup at a time) toward 100. This is the sequential style.
The random style would essentially start by throwing a mental dart. “Oh, darn, it wasn’t choice #37. Let’s try #61, next…”
Balanced people will use different strategies – evolved strategies. For example, in programming, sorts are faster if you narrow the search. Take that 100-item list of choices. Is the answer in the first 50? Or, second 50? You can see how with one try you eliminated half the choices?
Say the answer is somewhere in the second 50. So, again we cut the group in half. “Is the answer is #50-74?” Or, “is in #75, or later.
So much for random/sequential, except to note that in a balanced brain, both options are equally available and that makes for smart, flexible thinkers. And better job candidates upon graduation. Random people tend to be “easily distracted” while “sequential” may be almost plodding – they’re so slow!
The other pairing is abstract/concrete.
Concrete people like to follow diagrams and schematics, work-flows and so on. Abstract people will “make it up on the fly” more. Concrete people measure while abstract people estimate.
The balanced brain will do a little of this (like diagram) but toss in some art (with cable routing and dressing, for example). Again, the balanced brain is a marvelous thing. Especially when two people have nearly identical overlapping profiles.
We’ll be celebrating 18-years, this month, by the way. I credit with Gregorc for some of that.
Amazingly, many people don’t bother applying great metrics (like Gregorc) to their personal self-development. Most people are, because of media, a declining education system failing to teach critical thinking well, and excessive chemical and drugs in our lives, tend to get “unbalanced.”
Social media, for example, hoodwinks a great many people into being followers rather than leaders. Leaders, of course, will be too busy making progress in real life (IRL) to piss-away time writing free content for social media tycoons.
Leaning Styles Matter
In the vocational word, I was very focused on three types of learning styles: Tactile (touch, learn-by-doing) was the most important. So were visual and aural.
Professional educators list two other styles: verbal and logical.
In puzzling out how to remain “in the Zone” for myself, what emerged was a coherent world-view that was in total harmony with learning styles.
Take phones, for example.
The reason a phone is so popular is that it offers the three major learning channels. The tactile is from finger-sweeping the face of the unit. The visual from whatever the useless game is, and the aural is the assortment of catchy sounds game designers are fond of.
But there’s more: FB and twits manage to work in the verbal/language skills while some game apps also work on your logical learning.
This may not help you ditch the (likely cancer-causing) phone, but there ARE other ways to achieve brain-balance…
A “Brain Vitamin” Daily List
I decided to jot down a short list of activities that could be done in a half-hour to 45-minutes each day to ensure you were “firing on all neurons.” Here’s what I go through:
- Music (2-3 songs)
- Art or Focused viewing or Pulsed Light
- A tactile activity (high touch)
- A Puzzle
- Some reading
Some comments are in order on each:
Music can be taken in two ways: sequential or random. One of the reasons I like Jazz so much is that in a single piece, a great composer like Chico O’Farrill could put together music that was both regular but had places where it “got out there” and then bring it all back together again.
An example is Cuban Blues, which “goes out” at 1:24 into this cut and “comes back” about 2:14.
Art, Focused Viewing, Pulsed Light
I like good art. But, sitting on a hillside overlooking the Painted Desert at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona works. So does playing back in absolute silence some of the amazing “pictures” I’ve taken with the “mental camera” we each have inside out heads.
Lately, I have been using the Light Crown which is now pulsed at 40 HZ based on Li-Huei Tsai’s work at MIT:
“After an hour of stimulation at 40 hertz, the researchers found a 40 to 50 percent reduction in the levels of beta amyloid proteins in the hippocampus. Stimulation at other frequencies, ranging from 20 to 80 hertz, did not produce this decline.”
Which is, to my way of thinking, light is a very worthwhile “brain vitamin.” I have experienced a huge increase in personal energy since adding “light” to my brain vit’s.
Tactile activities are definitely back on the rise in my regimen. Sunday was spend putting in 240-volt outside power for the welder and the plasma cutter.
When (rabidly) day-trading, it’s refreshing to step out of the office into the shop and play with power tools on whatever the day’s project is. Blood pressure drops of 15 points have been noted.
Puzzles come up all the time in my daily activities, so I don’t even have to program them in as an “activity,” per se.
Whenever I do almost anything these days, I start with a list of “puzzle questions.”
- What is the outcome of this activity I’m after?
- What is the fastest/least expensive way to get there?
- Can I delegate?
- Can I hire it out?
- Can I use a better.faster tool?
- Is my design “concrete or abstract?”
When you turn every situation into a puzzle to be solved, you skip having to buy puzzle books.
This “need to puzzle” may be a predominantly male tendency. In the past almost 70-years (and as recently as last week) women I know have asked me “Why do you have to SOLVE everything? I’m just venting!”
Sorry, ladies…solving is what I do. Except I haven’t “solved” women, yet. Viva la difference!
(Except it’s no longer PC to think this way since “la difference” is being “modified and monetized” by the latter-day Mengele-types. So best drop that line of discussion…)
Verbal inputs and outputs matter, too. As much as I write (5,000 words per day on average) I figure I need to read at least that many in order to keep throwing fuel into those reaches of “brain muscle.”
To sum up: self-medication of your brain with controlled inputs may be a very useful thing to do.
Keep a log, go with caution, be wary of music with words/lyrics, but if you’re not tapping into “unlimited energy” that flows around, some effort on daily brain-balancing may help.
Oh, yeah – this is not medical advice. “Doc, may I listen to Led Zeppelin real loud PRN?”
Write when you get rich (and balanced),