Unlocking the Keys to Your “Whole” Self

All of us have a desire to live the best and fullest life that we can.  Today we are bombarded with so many distractions as we go about living our lives, that is difficult to maintain focus on living a fulfilling life.  Despite this, I don’t think there really is anyone who doesn’t privately wish that his/her life was a thriving one.

We find ourselves pursuing a fulfilling life but, sometimes fall far short of it…frustrated, stressed out, exhausted.   If you are trying to figure out why you keep falling short of “thriving”, you can probably come up with so many reasons that it seems the effort of actually pursuing that “thriving” life is too daunting a task, leaving you to think that it is even out of your reach.

Yet….I think it is possible for you to discover your potential, unlock it, use it, and in doing so, get on your way to enjoying living life to its fullest.  So how do we do that?  One way is to tap into your “whole” self:  recognizing and using your logical/critical faculties as well as your intuitive/creative faculties.

If I asked you this simple question…”How many of you are creative?”…what would you say?  Many would firmly answer “no!”  Why?

So many of us early in our lives had some type of experience where someone told us that we couldn’t sing, couldn’t keep a beat, or draw anything that looked like something recognizable.  So over time, you “got the hint” and accepted the fact that “I’m not creative.”  The error here was not that you weren’t “creative” but that you weren’t “artistic.”  Yet, we often confuse creativity with artistic ability.  It is true that all artists have creative abilities:  however, not all creative people are strictly artistic.

Fast-forward to today, and think of the way you approach life.  You have a specific style that works for you.  Great!  Now, I am going to ask you… “is it a whole-brain approach?”  You may be wondering what I mean… basically I am asking if your dominant way of being in the world tends to be either left-brain or right-brain oriented.


Ned Herrmann, known for his work in creative thinking, coined the phrase “whole-brain” thinking.  His work not only focused on the two brain hemispheres (right and left), but also the cerebral and limbic areas of the brain.  Ultimately we want to be able to use those areas of the brain that are best suited for whatever task/endeavor we’re engaged with, not simply being comfortable and/or “stuck” using the brain dominance that we prefer to use for everything we do.

Let’s start by discovering what brain hemispheric preference you have.

This short survey lists eighteen different functions for the left and right hemispheres of the brain.  Read each one:  circle the number of those functions that you find you do frequently.  Then tally up the totals for the left and the right.

Click here to download this worksheet as a PDF

Left Brain General Functions:

•  Words (verbal)
•  Logical
•  Black & White
•  Numbers
•  Sequence
•  Analysis
•  Lists
•  Critical Thinking


The Left Brain prefers to…

  1. Think in words rather than pictures
  2. Take an intellectual approach to problem-solving
  3. Remember names more easily than faces
  4. Operate in a planned and structured manner
  5. Take multiple-choice tests rather than essay tests
  6. Keep a tight reign on emotions
  7. Make objective judgments
  8. Compare differences
  9. Experiment systematically
  10. Break a problem into parts before solving it
  11. Respond to verbal instructions and explanations
  12. Use concrete facts to describe things
  13. Overlook body language and focus on words
  14. Talk and write in order to communicate
  15. Operate amid ranked authority systems
  16. Do what others are doing
  17. Respond to sounds and pictures
  18. Analyze information by taking it apart point by point


Total Left Brain Preferences: ____


Right Brain General Functions:

•  Images (non-verbal)                    
•  Intuitive                                      
•  Color  
•  Rhythm                                         
•  Imagination                                  
•  Daydreaming                                 
•  Dimension                                     
•  Creative Thinking


The Right Brain prefers to…

  1. Think visually and spatially:  uses pictures and images dimensionally
  2. Solve problems using intuition rather than logic
  3. Recall faces rather than names
  4. Work in a fluid and spontaneous manner
  5. Answer open-ended questions
  6. Express feelings freely
  7. Make subjective judgments
  8. Compare similarities
  9. Experiment by intuition
  10. Look at the whole problem then try to note patterns and solve the   problem on a hunch
  11. Learn by demonstration, illustrations or symbolic instruction
  12. Use metaphor, simile and analogy to explain things
  13. Interpret a message through body language
  14. Communicate by drawing or manipulating objects
  15.  Work within level authority structures where all participate equally
  16. Do whatever it wants to do regardless of what others are doing
  17. Respond to movement and action
  18. Synthesize information by understanding how it fits with other information already stored in the brain

Total Right Brain Preferences: ____


Left Brain:  ____     Right Brain:  ____


Now that you are reviewing your results what do you find?  Are you clearly skewed toward one brain hemisphere or the other?  Or, are your preferences the same for each  hemisphere?

Over the next few months I will be taking you on a journey…a quest to unlock the keys to your “whole” self, that include both your critical and creative dimensions.

We will explore the four Archetypal Roles of Creativity, your creative C.O.R.E., visual journaling, and developing emotional expressiveness.  All of these phases will help you to exercise your brain in new ways that enhance your “whole-brain” resources and will get you on the road to fully living a rich and thriving life.