Life sure does require a lot of thinking. The heavy lifting includes solving problems, charting the right path to our goals, and making important decisions. Each requires us to rev up our thinking engines and put our brains into gear. And, just like with a car, you can boost the effectiveness of your thinking power with a brain turbocharger — easily.
To understand how turbocharged thinking works, you need to understand a little bit about the two sides (hemispheres) of the brain. The left and right sides of the brain process information in different and specialized ways. The left hemisphere usually thinks in ways that are rational, logical, analytical, and linear — much like a computer processes data. By contrast, the right brain typically processes information in creative, intuitive, emotional, and sensory-driven ways (i.e., non-rational). Both hemispheres have unique advantages and limitations.
We live in a very left-brained world in which the majority of our thinking is done with our rational minds without much conscious input from our right brains. This is useful for productivity, but it is not adequate for having a well-rounded life. For instance, developing quality relationships with family, friends, and coworkers requires help from the right hemisphere.
Imagine two types of parents, one that teaches a child to think rationally and another that teaches the ways of love, care, and creativity. A child with only one of these parents will be at a disadvantage compared to a child that has both. But the child that has both parents working as a cooperative team enjoys the greatest benefits of all. This is the best way to understand the nature of turbocharged thinking, in which the two hemispheres of your brain work as partners.
You know the old adage: Two heads are better than one. But why is this true? One reason is because having two points of view is often more complete than having only one point of view. The second reason is that dialogue thinking is more effective than monologue thinking. The cooperative sharing of different thinking styles accomplishes far more than either style can alone.
Okay, so that’s the theory behind turbocharged thinking. Now you just need to learn how to get your left and right brains working together as partners. As a clinical psychologist for more than 30 years, the best method I’ve discovered to achieve this is two-handed writing. I’ve been harnessing the power of two-handed writing in my personal and professional life for 29 years and counting.
Two-handed writing sounds like a strange idea to most people (because it is). In reality the practice is easy and effective. One of the world’s most genius artists (right brain) and engineers (left brain) was Leonardo da Vinci. Because da Vinci was ambidextrous, he was adept at using both his left and right hemispheres in his work. He actually alternated using his right and left hands in his painting and writing. In other words, da Vinci was a bi-brained turbocharged thinker. Each of your hands are controlled by the opposite side of the brain (your right hand controlled by your left brain and vice versa). By having your two hands hold a conversation with one another, both sides of your brain can become engaged in a cooperative way.
In addition to being able to think, solve, create, and make more effective decisions, two-handed writing also useful for managing emotions and healing inner wounds. It’s the most effective tool I’ve discovered for these purposes, with my clients often benefitting from their first experience with it. Think of how comforting a heart-to-heart conversation can be with someone who loves you. Think about how a parent’s rational mind often needs to comfort the emotions of a child’s heart. These are the types of benefits that left/right brain conversations deliver. You can actually teach your two hemispheres how to become best friends.
My discovery of two-handed writing came from the book The Power of Your Other Hand by Lucia Capacchione (1988, 2000, 2019). Capacchione, who has a doctorate in art therapy, was the first to write about the use of this method for personal healing. Her many subsequent books teach how it can be used for creativity and growth in adults, adolescents, and children alike. The exercises included in Capacchione’s books make two-handed writing easy to learn. (It’s like riding a bike — awkward at first, then natural and easy). You don’t have to be a da Vinci to learn how to turbocharge your thinking.
Another bestselling author on the subject of hemispheric thinking is Daniel Pink, who wrote A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the World (2006). Pink describes the numerous advantages of tapping into the right brain’s vast potential, explaining why doing so will become increasingly valuable in the future.
Further guidance in the art of two-handed writing can be found in my own book Whole Mind Healing: A Simple Path for Changing Your Life by Healing Your Mind (2020). In it there are lessons for how to maximize the effectiveness of inter-hemispheric thinking effective as possible.
Those of you with the verve for exploring novel experiences will be grateful for practicing two-handed writing. Then prepare yourself for the benefits of having a turbocharged brain.