When I attended my first brain function seminar, I knew myself. I was an extrovert, well-educated individual who valued organization and leadership skills and could set up a kitchen in the most logical format imaginable. I had been a science major (for a short while, at least) in college, and I always came up with left-brained profiles in various quizzes encountered in pop-psychology magazines.
When I left my first brain function seminar, I had learned that, as a frontal right female, I had probably done a great deal of adapting to fit social and family situations that valued organization and following the rules. While it had always been hard work for me to live up to left-brained expectations, I had never before realized the exhaustive tax I extracted from my body just in order to live up to what were unreasonable expectations for my unique brain.
Instead, I was told, my brain worked most easily when I allowed it to creatively visualize, to explore and to leave the kitchen messy. (Well, in all honesty, I wasn’t told explicitly to leave my kitchen messy, but I very quickly saw the advantages of doing so, so I added it to my list of things learned.) It seemed like a lot to digest right away. Three years later, I am not done exploring and applying the information to my life.
As an early college student, I had majored in chemistry and taken classes like calculus, which I disliked but took anyway because they would help my career as a scientist. Although I later switched to a program that placed less emphasis on the left brain functions, I still made decisions based on exterior concerns like what career would allow me to become most successful—and usually chose things that stressed the cerebral modes to which I had adapted rather than those in which I was naturally gifted.
When I prepared to enter a master’s program, then, I had a choice to make about concentration: Should I apply to safe, logical programs or branch out into something that might better use my frontal right capabilities? I had participated in the brain function seminar and learned about adapting, and I had experimented with some activities designed to strengthen my abilities in my neglected basal right. Adding a weekly music activity to my schedule had had an amazingly strong positive effect on me. I, for the first time, made decisions about what I would and could do based on knowing how my brain functioned energy-efficiently. In an attempt to take what I had learned about myself to heart, I applied and was accepted to a master’s program in creative writing, a concentration I would have dismissed as not sensible before learning to value my natural brain abilities.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my creative writing classes, and although I plan to shift concentrations for my doctorate, I do so with a clear understanding of how I am likely to respond to its specific stressors. The experiences I have had since attending Taylor’s brain function seminar have all been learning opportunities, allowing me to deepen my understanding of how my brain and body work together to create me as an individual.
In my relations with others, the information I learned has also made an impact. I am now much more sensitive to other people’s level of introversion and extroversion, their sensory preferences and the activities they might not benefit from participating in due to a conflict with their brain leads. I realize now that a rejection of a suggestion I make is more likely about the activity I suggest than about the level of trust the recipients of my advice have in me as a person. Thus, my self-confidence has been boosted just through my approach toward the situations I encounter each day.
Overall, the biggest effect knowing more about brain function has had on me has been in understanding that the labels I placed on myself were, in a sense, self-fulfilling prophecies. When I thought that I was (and should be) an organized, left-brained person, I struggled with every activity to make it logical and organized, regardless of how tired or grouchy doing it that way made me. Now that I have learned to label myself as frontal right, I am also living up to a set of expectations, but this time my behaviors more closely match what my brain prefers to do, and I am much happier as I live my life—exuberantly.