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Do you feel stuck?
October 12, 2011 at 7:49 pm #143559
How to Get “Unstuck”
Whenever we are faced with a change, be it in developing skills or relationships, there is always the possibility that we will unexpectedly find ourselves “stuck.” Oftentimes, no one is more astonished at this, than us.
This can happen at any point, and can easily be solved by recognizing what is happening unconsciously in our brains when we are faced with the change, and changing our behavior.
In order to do this we need to look at how our brain operates. Roger Sperry, 1981 Nobel Prize winner, won that prize for research that identified that our brain has two sides to it. One side, normally the left side of our brain, processes information sequentially, one by one, bit by bit. The other side of our brain, normally the right side, processes information holistically, all at once, intuitionally.
So it is that each of us has one brain with two strategies at its disposal. Thus, if we try one approach to a problem in making a change in our life, and that doesn’t work, our brain offers us an alternative approach – from the other side of the brain.
Left Side of Your Brain: excels at seeing the individual pieces
Right Side of Your Brain: excels at assembling the pieces into a coherent picture
Is good at perceiving details or individual elements
Is good at seeing the broad picture, integrates many inputs all at once
Specializes in logic and analytical reasoning
Specializes in intuition and holistic perception
Specializes in verbal and mathematical functions
Specializes in memory and relational functions
Specializes in memory and recognition of words and numbers
Specializes in memory and recognition of objects, persons, faces, music, and pitch
Specializes in anything related to time and planning
Specializes in things related to space and body movement
Is connected to the right side of the body, and the right side of each eye’s vision
Is connected to the left side of the body, and the left side of each eye’s vision
Now we come to the heart of why we get stuck when we are trying to make changes in our life.
George Prince, of the Mind-Free Group, Inc., proposed that there is a sense in which these two sides of the brain behave almost as though they were persons, like two different personalities, within each of us. George named them the Safekeeping Self and the Experimental Self.
The Safekeeping Self: George suggested that the left side of the brain functions as though its mission in life were to safeguard the person be keeping them where they are, in familiar, safe, nonthreatening territory.
The Experimental Self: George suggested that the right side of the brain functions as though its mission in life were to lead the person into new adventures and exploration of uncharted territory, the explorer in us all.
The ideal is to have two selves that cooperate fully. George believed that when the safekeeping self dominates, it tends to shut down the experimental Self, hence, why we get stuck.
We tend to gravitate toward one side or the other for our primary processing of information. The left side or safekeeping self tends to evaluate, analyze, reassure and support, be realistic, look at consequences, be logical, and make rules. Whereas the right side or experimental self tends to be in touch with the unconscious, is intuitive, speculates, does not mind being confused, is open, likes surprises, and is curious. It may be easy to see in some people which side they tend to prefer. Are they always running off to climb Mt. Everest or do they prefer to plan and keep risk to a minimum?
Ultimately, it is about choosing the appropriate self for the activity at hand, preferring to let our experimental self be in the lead – for example – while we are on vacation, but preferring to let our safekeeping self be in the lead at income tax time.
The question here is: what is the appropriate self for making a change in our lives? When it is taking a risk, such as learning a new skill or developing a new relationship, it may be that we need to put our safekeeping self aside and let our experimental self take the lead. Allow your creativity to flourish!
Some strategies to help you in becoming unstuck: Describe how you are thinking and behaving when you are feeling stuck and analyze what you find. When the brains unconscious behavior is illuminated, your brain can then do something different. You could also gather as much information as possible about the change you would like to make. Then this new territory will seem less intimidating and unfamiliar. And lastly, include a lot of music in your life. Words feed the left side of the brain. Music feeds the right side of the brain and calls it more into active participation.
When you become aware of being stuck and move in the direction to become unstuck, you restore the balance of both selves, coming into the brains natural state. You are freed from immobility and are able to get on with the changes you desire.
Excerpts taken from “What Color is Your Parachute” written by Richard Nelson Bolles
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