Cultivating a global mind

Todd left a insight-packed comment on my most recent posting: Creating valuable experiences. I've broken it up into sections to add to what he wrote last night.
Growing up through the ranks of engineering, I can certainly understand the complexities in making the most of our experiences. Rolling from the left brain toward the right didn't come easy.
To be aware of the challenge of making the change is impressive in itself. There are many professions which set up a difficult transition like you describe. Doctors are groomed to make rational diagnoses and shy away from trusting their intuitive insights. Financial planners are quick to crunch the numbers and slow to expand their horizons into more complex appreciations of changing markets, economic trends and shifting consumer moods. Policy analysts working for legislators can track the emails, graph the constituencies and monitor the budgets, but hesitate to speculate on visionary leadership possibilities and trend setting maneuvers.
Academia, unfortunately, thrives on a linear presentation of information which essentially shuts down the global learners in our heads.
Academia is at it worst in this respect when it relies on a factory model - mass producing graduates with diplomas in hand. The machine graded exams and enormous class sizes reduce the cultivation of unique cognitive processes. The farming of global learners is a labor intensive practice that appears to not be scalable so far. The mentoring I'm doing now is much more effective than the classroom teaching I did for years at getting logical thinking to be balanced with creativity.
Once a neocortex man, I'm transforming myself into a whole brain learner by learning to really focus when the parachute is open.
I think you're right to use the analogy of the parachute here. Left brained reasoning appears fear-based to me. The mind is closed our of apprehension of taking too much time to decide, considering too many options and responding to an excessive proportion of the panorama when we are in mortal danger. Logical reasoning assumes our survival is in jeopardy and processes data accordingly. It also appears that we cannot get creative when we are afraid, panicking, or stressed. We need to get out of survival and into self expression for the higher orders of consciousness to kick in.
Now I break the old bad neuroassociations and use my full capacity to generate new good ones. Through much repitition and practice, I've found reflection to be a constant and never-ending improvement.
Well said! Unlearning is often a prerequisite to deeper learning. When our mind is made up, we cannot take on disturbing contradictions without unmaking our convictions. Acts of creativity call for some destruction of status quo, established explanations and presumed categories to apply to unfamiliar situations.


  1. The lost art of the renaissance man mentality?

    We're having a related debate over the merits of a liberal vs business education at Phil Cubeta's blog here:

  2. Thanks for the link. That related debate appears mired in over generalizations -- to me, true to your assertion of renaissance minds being a lost art. Unlike the positional stances being taken over MBA's and liberal arts degrees, I suspect a global mind would see how the two have much in common, providing nuances of one thing and are missing much of the same qualities. I wonder if the debate, as it applies to philanthropy, would not be better reconvened on ways that practitioners are informed by both academic pursuits, and ways the academic disciplines need to be overcome or outgrown to be effective in fund raising, donor relations and the like.

  3. For me, it comes down to stretching myself. I enjoy being introduced to new ways of expression, lexicons, etc.

    Jack of all trades, master of none.

  4. Erik
    Thanks for reappearing here! We're on the same wavelength about enjoying a mind stretch. In my classes on creativity and business, I've called that "coloring outside the lines", "thinking outside the box", "juxtaposing the familiar with unfamiliar information" etc.

    Right brains love divergent exploration of possibilities. That makes you "right on!"