Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Radio Management

You've probably noticed that people seem to fall into one of two camps when it comes to thinking. You've got your structured, organized thinkers and your free-flowing, creative (i.e., unorganized) thinkers. Your structured thinkers tend to become engineers, scientists, mathematicians and accountants; your free-flowing thinkers tend to become writers, artists, actors and musicians.

At birth, the differences between a shall-be structured thinker and shall-be free-flowing thinker are minimal. A couple of little dips in the neural pathways that lead either to the left-side or right-side of the brain. As thoughts begin to flow, those dips divert slightly disproportionate volumes to the left or to the right. As the volume of thought increases, the dips become deeper and wider. The longer and deeper the dip, the more the volume that flows through it. The more the volume, the wider and deeper the dip.

And so it goes. The proportionality continues to shift until it becomes noticeable. Once noticed, others (parents, teachers, friends) continue to drive the disproportionate relationship between right-brained and left-brained activity. Rather than helping a child find activities that reduce the disparity, others provide activities reinforce it. The disparity grows to the point where the structured thinkers almost never use their free flowing sides and vice versa. 

Soon, labels are attached to make it easy to identify each child by the manner in which she thinks. You've got your brainiac and your math wiz. You've got your musical genius and your space cadet. All this is done as though it were meant to be, as if each child were predestined to be a left-brained type or a right-brained type.

It's just so... hmm... well, it's just so stupid.

Another Way
Imagine that, instead of reinforcing the disparity between left- and right-brained capabilities (note, I'm using these phrases rather loosely and more metaphorically than literally), we helped children to correct the disparity at as early an age as possible. What if each of us provided our kids activities to strengthen the weaker side as soon as we recognized it as weaker? What if we treated thinking like we do a lazy eye or a semi-paralyzed limb? How would that change things?

Actually, it's the last question that might be best asked first. How would it change things if everyone were equally comfortable with both left- and right-brained thinking? Well, based on my experience, we'd see a lot more patents filed, more breakthroughs in healthcare and medicine, better application of new technologies, deeper understanding of art and music, and generally better dinner conversation. 

In my experience, it's always been the people who could seamlessly integrate left- and right-brained thinking that ended up solving the hardest problems or creating the biggest breakthroughs. In every case I know, the person remembers favoring one form of thought, and then encountering a situation that forced her to develop the other. Were it not for the forcing function, he'd likely never have done so and at the time, it seemed a burden.

Radio Management
How'd I start thinking about this? 

This morning I was looking over descriptions of bluetooth systems and the management of the bluetooth radios. Bluetooth radios consume lots of battery power and significantly shorten battery life. You can extend the battery life and times between charges by managing the bluetooth radios (e.g., turning them on only when they're needed). You can do even better if you manage the sources of need.

As I read the work that others had done in this area, I was struck by how uncreative the approaches were. It occurred to me that our mobile phones would probably run a lot longer on a single charge if more engineers had taken acting or music classes.

Anyway, it's not too late for your kids to become ambi-cerebral (nor is it too late for you).

Happy Tuesday,

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