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Work. Just the word can bring up an array of emotions. In business especially, work can often indicate difficulty, a ‘must do’ and effort. In our left-brain dominant society, certain kinds of work are given more value than others- the work that produces direct results. Analysis and formulaic thinking are prized as there is a comfort in knowing that if I do a + b, I can get c.
However, let’s consider that the work we are trained to do comes from a place of survival. As humans we were all born with a brain built for self-preservation (left brain) as well as an equal capacity for exploration and risk (right brain). How else, but with right brain thinking, did we discover fire which changed our evolutionary patterns forever? But most of the work we do in business is left-brained and this is because a lot of that what we do is to prevent failure, to self-preserve. What is important to note is most of this way of thinking is automatic and run by a primordial survival machine.
Consider that the usual kind of work we do is easier for us because it is safer.
Being creative and tapping into your right brain takes a different kind of effort and requires more support than left- brained thinking. If we don’t cultivate our natural ability to explore, play, and take risk (which our education and society systems don’t do), our right brains become atrophied. To rebuild a weak spot takes hard work; to learn something new and to be open to a different approach requires stretching our minds beyond our normal limits of flexibility.
Most people and most businesses (91% to be exact according to NSF’s Business R&D and Innovation Surveys of 2010 and 2011) aren’t willing to do this hard work to be creative in their industry. It is too scary or not ‘cost effective’. Ideas are rejected before even trying them, especially if they seem intangible. Shifting the paradigm about what kind of work really produces results is required for gaining an understanding that uncomfortable does not imply useless. Although it isn’t suggested that businesses completely reject their old methods, it is necessary that they begin to carve out a budget and some time to build new methods. Expansion is necessary and this is the kind of work that we often neglect, however it is often the kind of work that elevates our performance and long-term results.