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Being Homolateral – The Hippo on Your Head

I said “homolateral” not “homosexual” silly.

Industry and education were built on left-brain thinking. Left-brain dominant workers make great button pushers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, and scientists.

Think of a factory. The very core of the Industrial Revolution. An employee is assigned to one component. While the end result is the “whole” his focus is only the “part.” This is as homolateral as it gets.

Educational curriculum has always favored left brain thinking. If you were a left-brain dominant student you likely sailed through school while the right-brain schleps were getting a beating with their report cards.

School systems are still designed with this antiquated learning model, however, the world is busily heading in a completely different direction. North American left-brain dominant thinkers will see their $75,000 a year analytical jobs jacked by $28,000 a year cubicle worker in India or worse, a $50 piece of software.

The new currency is in content development and content development requires integrated thinking. A balance between the analytical left and the creative right.

Take writing, as an example. No longer is it good enough to write a book and leave the success of selling it to the publisher.

A writer must be proficient with the computer, be a marketer, a business person, an accountant, a script writer, a speaker, a manager, a blogger, a travel agent, and a networker. Write fiction, non-fiction, promotional materials, be a mini film-maker, and synthesize the most brilliant ideas into a one sentence log line.

Why do most people rely on their dominant brain to begin with? Stress. Stress and trauma create a homolateral state. When we limp along at half speed, we are not tapped in to all of our talents. We get stuck.

Being stuck in one dominant brain state is like having a hippo on your head.

You can build integrated brain power with a few easy exercises:

  1. Stand straight and lift up your left arm and left knee simultaneously as high as you comfortably can. Alternate between right and left sides for 10 reps. This is a homolateral state. It takes one-sided thinking to accomplish this. Think Frankenstein. He was the ultimate homolateral.
  2. Stand straight and lift your left knee while crossing your right arm to touch the top of your knee with your right hand. Alternate between left and right sides for 10 reps. This requires cross-lateral thinking. Think of the shape of a X.
  3. Now go back and forth between the two exercises for 10 reps. Always finish cross laterally. People who are stuck in one dominant state will find this exercise very difficult. Children with learning disabilities find it nearly impossible.
  4. Draw a line down the center of a page. Make a figure eight shape with a loop on equal sides of the paper. Trace the shape 10 or 20 times.
  5. Hold out a pen with your dominant hand straight in front of your mid-line. Moving from one side to the other, create a figure-eight shape and allow your eyes to track the movement.

When you consider the cocktail of emotional, chemical, environmental and physical stress combined with a lifetime of left-brain conformity, is it any wonder our best ideas are buried in these “stuck” states of thinking?

When we are engaged in ways that honor our unique learning abilities, we can easily grasp concepts not inherent to our nature because the brain is in a relaxed, ‘unstuck’ state. There is an easy flow. Neural pathways are reinforced, new connections are formed. Our brain state becomes balanced.

If we had an educational system that fostered natural learning states can you imagine the river of genius that would flow from it? 

So go ahead—try the exercises. You never know what genius is locked in the vault of your hidden integrated state.