A Victim of Stereotyping

In order to unlearn habits and replace them with new behaviors, to write new rulebooks for our lives, we sometimes have to correct or update our self-image.

For example, being an artist-type, I long assumed that I was primarily a visual person. But of the three learning styles – visual, auditory and kinesthetic – turns out my preference is primarily kinesthetic, auditory second, and visual last. Never would have guessed. Kinesthetic people are athletes, right? Can be, but it’s more about preferring “hands-on” experience. I’m a big fan of working with rather than against myself (go with your strengths), so better understanding this about myself has allowed and inspired me to really improve how I work and structure my day’s activities. I take frequent breaks to get away from my desk and move, I give myself time to think while doing something physical (yardwork, exercise, housecleaning), I read less and listen to audio books more, I trade off writing by typing with spoken dictation, I balance computer time with studio time – and so forth.

I also consider myself a right-brainer, but left-brain/right-brain traits really exist on a spectrum. I happen to fall somewhere to the right of center, but I’m a lot closer to the middle than many creatives. The shortcoming of the left-brain/right-brain paradigm is that there is only one spectrum. So, this is where a personality inventory like Myers-Briggs can be helpful – which has four. Through MBTI, I know I tend to prefer order over spontaneity, but that order is determined by relationships and personal values rather that impersonal analysis, facts and logic. My left-brain talent for planning is manifested in a very right-brain way using intuition and emotion. I simply don’t match either stereotype.

Rarely does anyone exist completely at one end of the left/right-brain spectrum or the other. We’re all much more complex and individual than that. Assuming you have traits you do not or trying to conform to the extreme – even subconsciously – can make succeeding in your work that much harder. So don’t be a victim of stereotyping. Learn more about who you really are.

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