At some point, most people have heard the theory that the right side of your brain controls the muscles on the left side of your body, and the left side of your brain controls the muscles on the right side of your body. To get your entire brain working on a problem you need ambidexterity thinking. In the book How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, there is a quote by Professor Raymond Dart: “Balance the body, balance the brain. The future lies with the ambidextrous human!”
Renaissance artists were known to paint with both their right and left hands, and Da Vinci regularly practiced mirror writing (writing backwards on a page from the right to the left). People who apply the entire brain to working on a problem are usually innovators.
Learning ambidexterity is easier than you might think. Talk to a baby boomer, and you will hear stories of left-handed children forced to use their right hand to write in class. Their handwriting was messy at first, but they adapted.
When I was a toddler, I was left handed until I broke my left arm when I was three. I wore a plaster cast over my entire arm and hand. Only the first two joints of my fingers were visible, so using my left hand to write or draw was impossible. Over those six weeks, I started using my right hand to color, eat, and brush my teeth. When the cast was removed, I continued to use my right hand. However, there are certain tasks that to this day I prefer to do left-handed, such as shooting pool and putting in golf.
When I was in my twenties, I sliced my thumb and first finger on my right hand, which made writing difficult. I attempted to write with my left hand and was surprised at how quickly I adapted to it. So, with practice you can teach your whole mind to activate on command.
For a fun way to practice ambidexterity thinking, try signing your name with your non-dominant hand. Or try mirror writing (writing backward) like Da Vinci.
Our minds and bodies are so adaptable, more than we realize or let ourselves image. With practice – and by re-imagining what’s expected – almost anything is possible.