Right Brain, Bright Future
How Creativity Will Become the Most Desired Skill
As technology advances and we become more comfortable with computers and machines doing much of the arithmetic and data-entry the workforce has traditionally done for ourselves, it’s hard to imagine what the future of work will ___, and how we can adapt our skills and education to the new environment.
If you look at some philosophical predictions, people in the future will have more time to pursue creative interests and spiritual practice — technology will fulfill the world’s needs with the speed of production. But we’re not quite there yet. What we’re seeing now is not a lack of work due to robotics producing everything we need, but rather a lack of knowing how to use the qualities that make us most human to serve people in ways technology cannot.
“A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future” by Daniel H. Pink discusses the importance of building up our creative (or right-brained) skills in what he coins the “Conceptual Age” where human innovation is more valuable than ever. While more logic-centric thinking will still have its place, Pink argues that the left-brained skills will be overshadowed by outsourcing and automation. The more artistic and big-picture right-brained individuals will need to teach and share these skills with those who are more left-brain learning, and those left-brainers will have to flex their creativity to maintain a competitive edge in business.
Computers, and even when we get into the exciting discoveries while endlessly useful and important to carry out operations in an increasingly complex world, do not have an imagination. They do not have emotional intelligence, and they do not have a spirit that moves them to connect with others the way humans do. So what can people who are inherently more left-brained, or detail-oriented and analytical, do with this information? It’s all about flexing and learning, and understanding that while your skills will not be invaluable in the future, you may need to practice alternative ways of interacting with the world and your work.
The abilities to strive for to create a stronger creative mind
I’ve always been a big proponent of balancing your business with your bliss, or whatever it is that makes feeds your mind, body, and soul. But this idea is becoming more important than ever, as tech has made the personal, creative, and innovative more of a desirable trait for individuals and professionals in today’s economic environment. Pink might call tapping into this balance the practice of strengthening your right brain. In his book, he outlines six practices anyone can do to enhance the creative mind and make that right-brained part of each of us stand out and shine.
One example I love from this method is “design.” Practicing design doesn’t mean you have to become a graphic designer or stylist. Flexing this particular muscle simply means thinking in terms of the way the world is designed. Think about the layout of your local grocery store, the way the controls in a car are placed, and the order in which items on a menu appear. Once you begin noticing the way things are designed, you will start to think more curiously about the physical world around you.
It’s not that economists and thinkers were wrong when they predicted we’d be so bored with lack of work in the future that we’d be begging for creative outlets. They simply didn’t take into account just how much our brains will have adapted to computers, and how tapping back into those creative parts of our mind would be more of a process than a direct shift.
Anybody can be a more innovative person. Training yourself to connect all parts of your mind will be a hugely important part of the future, as creative thinking becomes the most desired skill set we can possess.