Thought Revolution: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius
As someone who is passionate about technology, this is my blog designed to help educate people about social media. As well, I want to use this social media forum to bring our growing tech community together.
(Note: Best selling author Bill Donius was what he would term a classic “left brain” type, before he discovered Dr. Roger Sperry’s Nobel prize winning discovery about the independence of brain function between the left and right hemisphere. Donius, who works for Endeavor Management as a consultant, will be in San Antonio, Feb. 6 for a reception at the Omni Hotel. I got the chance to interview the former St. Louis-based Pulaski Bank executive about his conversion process. You can find more on his book Thought Revolution: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius here at this link.)
Matt Scherer: What inspired you to write this book? What were your motivations
in doing so?
Bill Donius: The methodology described in the book is one that worked for me over a 14-year period in both my personal life and as the CEO of a public company. I wondered if it could work as well for others. Based on this question, I decided to conduct research interviews. I did not plan initially to do over 200 of these. But, they caught on and I was amazed by the results. A book emerged from this process. I wish I could report it was an easy task. As a first time writer, it took seven drafts to get to the finish line.
Scherer: To all of those classic left brainers out there, how would you help them begin the transition to embrace the right brain?
Donius: I can start with a logical (left brain) appeal. What if there was a way you could turbo charge your thought process, resulting in literally twice as many alternatives to consider? Wouldn’t you want to try it? Especially if that process could be learned in under an hour? Still not convinced? Then how about if I play the “age” card? I think of tapping into the right brain as a great way to avenge advancing age.
Scientists know our patterns become more ingrained and habituated as progress in age. We’re able to do some tasks faster and better. But, when it comes to thinking differently about those same functions, it’s not easy. In fact, it’s where younger minds edge out older ones. Tapping into the right brain is the neural equivalent of getting a fresh perspective on a topic. No longer do we have to “sleep on it.” Thanks to Dr. Sperry’s Nobel prize winning discovery, we can get that thought, “on demand.”
Scherer: As a banker, you have worked in a highly regulated industry, one that has been dominated by left brain types. How can you work within the framework of the FDIC to help financial executives within banking, insurance and other financial industries to embrace the creative elements of your right brain?
Donius: In regulated industries where we’re forced to be “inside the box” most of the time, it’s easy to surrender to left brain (linear, logical and analytical) thinking as the default mode. The few who learn how to tap into a different way of thinking will more easily be able to differentiate themselves and their companies’ strategies. They will learn to spark intuitive, creative and innovative ideas, courtesy of the right brain initiated thinking process, allowing for a true competitive advantage. In industries awash in competition with little variation, the creative “first movers” can win big.
Scherer: In addition to banking, the medical industry is also highly regulated and has a steep background in left brain thinking? How can hospital administrators and doctors embrace the right brain activities that will help them stay competitive?
Donius: All of us carry around both the knowledge and insights that come from the long-term experiences we have our chosen industry: healthcare, banking, insurance, or another industry. Instead of freeing us to have a more global perspective, we tend to think from a more confined perspective. We know what “is and is not possible” from experience. Consequently, we seldom get the flashes of brilliance or the “Aha” moments that give us a glimpse into a different approach or solution. Moreover, those flashes rarely occur when we need them–in strategic thinking sessions. In a globally competitive world, we must find ways to deliver unique, faster, better, more customized, enlightened, specific solutions.
Scherer: The other day I was talking to a mid-level executive at a major company. He’s charged with bringing significant innovation to his company, and his chief executive fully embraces the need for the work his organization is doing for his organization. Yet, in his opinion, he’s faced with some decision makers, probably people who haven’t read your book or embraced the right brain, who are resistant to change. How does someone like this foster the needed change within his organization?
Donius: We’re all resistant to change. Some of us more than others. Our brains crave familiar patterns over unfamiliar ones. Perhaps the only thing we dislike more than change itself is the change that someone else comes up with. This can be much more threatening. A team that collaborates to create change stands a much better chance at succeeding. If that team is equally disadvantaged by learning a new skill (like learning how to tap into the right brain), then, they are more likely to embrace both the methodology and the forthcoming results because they have a shared investment. Along the way, they may feel equally inept and initially foolish. I’ve noticed too this experience tends to bring down barriers and strengthen teams. My advice to the mid-level executive you cited: get buy in by getting the higher level execs into an innovative ideation session (one that includes the right brain methodology).
(Important disclosure: I work as the public relations manager for Endeavor Management. Yet, please know that I feel this information is of value to everyone who has never used their right side of the brain.)
Donius speaks regularly over the past couple years at the GO! Network. It’s a place where those who are between jobs go to re-invent themselves. Often they are looking for new ways to help them either find a job or find a different type of job. A recent article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains how Donius’ methodology helps these folks.
“Check out the work of William Donius, a speaker at GO! Network. His recent book, “Thought Revolution How to Unlock Your Inner Genius,” encompasses 12 years of research, examples and success stories. Tapping the non-dominate subconscious right brain through non-dominate hand writing or drawing, can act as a direct pipeline to one’s inner truth. Check out his website at williamdonius.com and participate in the exercises to discover your inner truth.”
This Blog post was written for the Huffington Post: original piece here:
“Think outside the box,” over the years has become somewhat of a cliché itself, an ironical twist for an over-used phrase originally designed to encourage creative thinking among problem solvers in all fields. And yet the need for creative thinking is extremely relevant today as we find ourselves stymied by ideological-driven responses to new and ever-changing problems in our world.
“Thinking outside the box” is far easier said than done. Why is it so difficult to achieve innovative breakthroughs in thinking? I’m not a neuroscientist, but I’ll hazard a guess based on my intensive research over the past three years. From what I’ve learned, the answer lies in the way the brain processes, sorts and ultimately responds to questions. Neuroscientists tell us that as we age our thoughts and patterns become more ingrained. It’s as if we are taking the same path through the garden over and over. We get to know the path very well, and it becomes familiar to us. As long as the problems we face are familiar, so are our approaches to solving these problems. We are in our intellectual “comfort zones.”
When we are asked to deviate from the paths ingrained in our minds, it may seem like an interesting notion, albeit a bit daunting. The next thought that might occur is, “OK — how do I go about thinking differently?” Here’s where the going gets tough. We try to think differently, but typically end up with little to show for our efforts. How come?
Back to my scientific research. Since our thought processes are holistic and ingrained, we tend to arrive at familiar responses to most problem-solving questions. Our brains act like survival mechanisms; consequently, we learn what we need to do to keep us alive and evolving as a species. If we heard a loud noise in the past associated with a near-death experience, we tend to adjust our response the next time we hear a similar noise.
Absent that experience, we are more likely to respond to a loud noise by staring, covering our ears, or looking around to see where the noise came from. Ever notice how difficult it is to break out of our patterns and behaviors? Popcorn at the movies? Driving to work a specific way? Sitting in the same pews in church or the same chairs in a conference room?
When we’re asked to think differently, we’re being asked to take a path through the proverbial garden we’ve never taken before. It’s a bit uncomfortable, for we’re no longer in familiar territory. If asked to deviate too far from our comfort zone, we may even experience a mild panic.
How, then, do we break out of our intransigent ways of thinking? Research demonstrates that we can indeed learn to think differently. Another path was discovered by the scientific community some 50 years ago. Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Roger Sperry discovered the independence of consciousness between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. His pioneering work led to breakthrough, best-selling books applying the implications of his research both to learning how to draw (Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards) and learning how to resolve psychological traumas (Recovery of Your Inner Child, by Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D.).
In both books, the authors describe the technique of using the non-dominant hand as the pathway to specifically activate the right hemisphere of the brain. Why the right hemisphere? Scientifically identified as the source of creativity, insight and intuitiveness, the right hemisphere is a valued destination. Neuroscientists have made amazing discoveries in this area of research by studying those with brain injuries, split brains due to severed corpus callosums, and brain scans of individuals performing creative functions.
How exactly can we activate the right hemisphere? The simple act of using our non-dominant hand combined with suspending the conventional thought process allows synapses to fire in a manner that taps directly into the right hemisphere. Sound bizarre? It can be a bit unnerving, but as a former CEO, I’ve used this technique for the past 12 years as a way to think more creatively. I’ve also observed hundreds of others do so while conducting research for my book, Thought Revolution: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius.
Uncanny as this process may sound, it works. The result is a prescription for literally thinking differently. Using this technique forces us to move from our familiar holistic thought process into one initiated in a different manner. The process of using the non-dominant hand, considering a question and allowing an answer to flow forth from that hand without consciously thinking about it, is truly an amazing experience. It sounds impossible until you’ve experienced it for yourself. Then, the results seem more probable and less bizarre.
“Aha, I get it!” That’s what I typically hear when individuals experience the process and validate the answer they received in response to a considered question. It’s almost like magic. Next time you’re asked to “think creatively” or “think differently,” don’t despair. There really is a different way to think.
This blog piece was written for the Huffington Post, original version here:
Most business people operate inside the proverbial “box” most of the time. As we age, our brains become increasingly more ingrained into familiar patterns and routines. We get comfortable in this place. I’ve noticed this pattern over my own thirty-year business career across five different industries.
In strategic planning sessions we’re often admonished to somehow “think outside the box.”
This jargon tends to ring a bit hollow, as typically no specific formula for how to accomplish this feat is suggested. (Or perhaps I missed that session.)
Neuroscientific research indicates that it becomes increasingly difficult to break out of our existing mindsets. Fortunately, however, it is still possible to train our brains to think differently without either dropping acid or traveling to India. (If you’ve read Steve Jobs’ biography, you’ll understand.)
Over a dozen years ago, while chairman and CEO of a community bank, I discovered and applied some unconventional thinking processes. I had always been a fan of Benjamin Franklin’s Moral Algebra process, more commonly known as the “pro and con” ledger. Learning to tap into the more creative right hemisphere of my brain, however, produced an entirely different type of insight, enabling me to think in a unique manner about both the problems and opportunities facing the bank. Blending the left and right brain approaches truly allowed me to think differently and it paid off handsomely in a dramatic increase in the company’s size and earnings per share.
After stepping down at age 50 from the job of a bank CEO, I had the time to pursue my primary interest: learning more about innovation, intuition and what makes people successful. Ultimately I discovered answers in the fields of both neuroscience and psychology. My research included reading primary scientific sources, holding discussions with many esteemed scientists and conducting over 200 interviews with test subjects. The results are contained in a book published this past spring.
One of the fascinating payoffs of my research was discovering the underlying reason why it is more difficult for us to “think outside the box.” Our patterns and routines acquired over the course of decades have virtually confined our thinking to the box, or more precisely, to a more left-hemisphere dominant style of analyzing and processing information.
My research led me to the work of Dr. Roger Sperry, who was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1981 for his discovery that each hemisphere of the brain is independent, with a separate set of attributive functions. His findings help explain the logical, linear world in which most of us live. The right side of the body is controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain, resulting in the analytical, mathematical, logical, linear thinking of most of the 90 percent of Americans who are right-handed. Conversely, the left side, controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain, is now commonly known as the source of artistry, music, intuition, innovation and problem-solving skills.
I believe it is appropriate to consider revolutionizing our thinking about meetings, problem solving and strategy within our organizations, armed with the results of my research. There is a great deal of value in disrupting conventional thought processes, breaking through complacency as a means to thinking differently about the company.
There are many ways to do this. Ask different constituencies and create new questions and/or approaches. Conduct a different type of meeting to break through the “group think” that can result from working on initially vocalized ideas, especially if those ideas come from higher-level executives or respected contributors. Ask participants to write answers first to all the questions. Unexpected ones such as “What would we do differently if we were starting the company from scratch?” can stir things up.
If we want to take another leap, we can take the time-tested steps of changing the venue, adding music and inviting different and fresh perspectives. More importantly, if we want to be on the cutting edge of innovation, we can find ways of tapping into the right brain of the participants.
Why not apply what’s been learned in the combined fields of neuroscience and psychology over the past 50 years? We can obtain the same insights in Sperry’s initial work to help us to become more innovative and thoughtful at work.
In many industries today, it is difficult to differentiate one company’s products and services from another, it’s useful to find ways to break through the status quo and what may be decades-old approaches to problem solving and strategizing. My experience has been that most strategic thinking and problem solving sessions consist largely of planning, with far too little time devoted to thinking and innovation.
In several recent cases, organizations I’ve worked with have been able to tap into the collective right brains of the participants resulting in insights leading to different strategies, solutions and importantly, dramatic improvements in the bottom line. It’s time that executives get “beyond the box.”
How can Neuroscientific Breakthroughs be Applied to our Lives?
By Joshua Barton
Bill Donius learned a methodology for tapping into his right brain over a dozen years ago. Although the neuroscience behind the “how” this is possible is based on a Nobel Prize winning discovery in 1981, he discovered few people are aware of the methodology or why it works. Hence, his reason for writing, Thought Revolution: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius.
In the dozens of speeches he’s given over the past two years, Donius cuts right to the chase by introducing the audience to their right brains. His presentations tie together 50 years of research by neuroscientists in the field of split brain research and the practical applications of their work to tap into the independent consciousness of the brain’s right hemisphere. He engages his audiences with real life examples and interactive exercise to demonstrate how our left/right brains work.
“The opportunity within the speaking arena is to alert people to what this work is actually about,” says Bill. “I introduce them to the methodology of right brain, left brain dominance but what is important is that the audience walk away with something tangible and specific to discover groundbreaking ideas and insights to rewire their perspectives. That’s why, in every presentation. I actually take the audience through the process, it’s no longer an abstract notion when they’ve experienced it for themselves. I’m not a scientist, so I don’t attempt to give a detailed scientific lecture. As a former CEO, I’m still a bottom line guy, I want the audience to walk out with an important takeaway–a new methodology they can immediately apply in their lives and in business. ”
For Bill, this process is greater than an esoteric secret.
“This is more than just an interesting presentation about the brain’s complexity. The real objective is to apply this knowledge about the right brain and apply it now in our daily lives, and to be more intentional about how we can use these discoveries to turbocharge our thought process.”
Bill begins his presentations by highlighting historical, real life examples of how other thinkers have tapped into their right brains. He brings in the work of artist and author Dr. Betty Edwards with her revolutionary book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain that explored the brain’s preconceived notions about drawing. He highlights the work of Lucia Capacchione, author of Recovering Your Inner Child, who explored how to heal childhood traumas by accessing the right brain to assist in the psychotherapeutic process. Bill also delivers more personal accounts of the hidden genius of the right brain through a story of his own.
“When I was the CEO of Pulaski we were looking at making a very big decision about expanding our operations,” he explains. “I did the traditional Benjamin Franklin rational analysis of pros and cons which is a very typical left brain thought process. That outcome resulted in a YES and confirmed everyone else’s thoughts to expand. When I did the right brain process, I got the total opposite result that expansion at that moment was not a good idea. Now, this was a very unpopular decision but I trusted my intuition that it made more sense to postpone expansion. Seven months later, we found that expansion for us became reasonable but only after a series of specific, timely opportunities. I’ve learned that it is hard to listen to our intuition because it isn’t quantifiable. With this process you can literally see your intuition on paper. It shows up in black and white.”
Anne Milford, author and editor, agrees that Bill’s speaking methods allowed her to listen to her own inner genius. Milford had already successfully published several books but has found herself creatively blocked.
“After hearing Bill Donius speak about the non-dominant hand writing process, I was utterly captivated and wanted to learn more,” she says. “While I think of myself as a right-brain-creative-type, I knew Bill’s thought revolution was just what I needed to get ‘unstuck’ from my creative rut. In just 45 minutes, he helped me uncover the idea I was waiting for.”
That spark of an idea ended up becoming a new career for Milford as “The Book Nurse”. She decided that she could use her own creative, literary talents to “nurse” emerging writers and novelists through their own projects.
“As I prepare my next career move as “The Book Nurse,” I am reminded how truly powerful one’s inner voice can be. Within days, I had three potential clients lined up—it was amazing. And since I don’t always have the luxury of one-on-one time with Bill, his book is the next best thing. It’s already proved a useful tool for pushing through writer’s block, making decisions, and tapping into new ideas.”
Nancy McKee also recalls her experience with Bill as the keynote speaker for a training session for faculty at the Lifelong Learning Institute of Washington University.
“Bill led us in a presentation of the research and methods used to demonstrate the uniqueness and importance of right-brain thinking for the Lifelong Learning Institute at Washington University in September 2011,” she says. “He followed with a workshop in which approximately 70+ professors and facilitators were led through several exercises in writing with both dominant and non-dominant hands in answer to questions posed by Bill. His presentation was excellent—fluent, energetic, humorous, and insightful. Bill is obviously intelligent, principled, and eager to share information with his audience. He is an organized, enthusiastic presenter, and manifests a natural charisma that cannot be taught.”
Donius views speaking opportunities like these as a dialogue and a process of engagement with the audience and even their right brains.
“We go to these conferences and meetings and typically sit passively. I want to disrupt that process by delivering a fun, memorable, dynamic presentation about learning how to literally ‘think differently’.”
Donius says. “It’s not just the simple act of writing with the non-dominant hand. There is a process behind it. Much like learning to ride a bike, this is a new process that is different and requires practice. This process is about transformation and helping people experience their creative and intuitive side sometimes for the very first time. They receive these ah-ha moments and it’s a mix of shock, awe, relief and validation that they aren’t going crazy and that this idea has been in the back of their mind all along.”
Contact Bill about booking speaking engagements: click here.
Author and St. Louis native Bill Donius tells us about a method that can help you get those occasional “Aha moments” to happen much more frequently…a method that’s as easy as switching your pen from one hand to the other. He says it’s all about learning how to use your whole brain, including your right brain – the side of your brain that’s often ignored as left brain logic takes over answering most of our daily questions. Donius says using your whole brain can change your perspectives, actions, habits and moods in revolutionary ways. It was successful for hundreds of volunteers who tried it out before he wrote his book, Thought Revolution: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius; volunteers that included executives from Express Scripts, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Clear Channel Broadcasting. Business leaders are now taking his findings into the workplace to try to unlock innovative ideas from the right hemisphere of employees’ minds.
Video length: 17 minutes- one-on-one-bill-donius
Alec Baldwin was the Chairman of Author’s Night a Benefit for the East Hampton Public Library on August 11, 2012. He stopped my Author’s table to discuss Thought Revolution: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius, asked me to inscribe and bought it. My publisher, Francesca Minerva of Changing Lives Press joined in the picture that Alec’s wife took of us.
Former Pulaski Bank CEO William Donius has found a new calling. His new book, Thought Revolution, proposes a deceptively simple act: answering pointed questions about the direction your life is heading in writing, using your nondominant hand, to pull insight from the neglected side of your brain.
So how does nondominant-hand writing work?
I ask people probing questions and what we’ve learned is that when they write their answers with their dominant hand they get a logical response, and then with their nondominant hand, they consistently come up with a different answer.
What sorts of answers are we talking about?
Sometimes the answers are metaphorical, not literal. Someone who did this once wrote the word “nurse,” and then she wrote, “you have the talent as a writer to ‘nurse’ others writers’ creative projects along.” Very shortly after, she set up a business to do that, and in just a few days she had two clients. She had gone around for a year trying to figure out what her next thing should be, and it hadn’t jelled for her until that point. I can rattle off the names of people who have had big insights and changed jobs and things like that as the result of this process.
How does this work, do you think?
By putting that writing instrument in the nondominant hand, it activates the right hemisphere—“our higher consciousness,” as some have described it—a place of intuition and creativity. It can be difficult to access for most of us, because 90 percent of us are right-handed, and we’re governed by our left brain, the logical, linear, managerial brain, which serves us well.
You learned about nondominant-hand writing from a famous book, Recovery of Your Inner Child by Lucia Capacchione.
That was what sent me forth on the process. I first read it 12 years ago, and discovered that it worked. I’m not inventing something that’s never been done before; I’m using something that’s worked well in the therapeutic and art worlds and applying it to the mainstream.
What have been some of the insights you’ve learned about yourself from this process?
That I don’t think there’s anything else I’d rather be doing with my time; I love to help people
St. Louis Public Radio station, KWMU, welcomes William Donius to the St. Louis On the Air program on Thursday morning, April 26. Author of New York Times Bestseller THOUGHT REVOLUTION: How To Unlock Your Inner Genius discusses his book with Don Marsh. Donius leads the radio audience through an exercise found in his book that quickly validates the difference between the left and right sides of the brain. Listeners were able to call in with follow up questions in this one hour segment.
Arizona Artist Kathryn Henneman, who has participated in shows around the world read Thought Revolution and immediately wrote about the painting she created by applying the methodology from the book. “Here’s the deal: After I read the book I painted this painting titled, ‘Foreword‘”–Kathryn Henneman.
To learn more about Kathryn and her work or to watch a short, fascinating video on her creative process, please visit: http://www.kathrynhenneman.com/
Click here to find works currently available: http://kathrynhennemanart.blogspot.com/
St. Louis Artist Barb Flunker read the book and also applied principles from the book to create, this image that is 36×48″ To learn more about Barb and her work, visit: http://barbflunker.com/Barb_Flunker_Contemporary_Art/Barb_Flunker_Art.html
We are working towards organizing an art show depicting art work created by artist’s who used their right brain through the neural pathway of the non dominant hand to create the work. If interested, please leave a reply.
THOUGHT REVOLUTION: How To Unlock Your Inner Genius instructs readers how to use a simple process to include the right side of their brain in every day life. The diagram below is a good overview of left and right brain functions.
In A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink summarizes the plethora of research on the two hemispheres of the brain by identifying four key differences:
1. The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body; the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body. Since 90 percent of the population is right handed, it means that in roughly 90 percent of the population the left hemisphere is controlling the important movements such as handwriting, eating, and maneuvering a computer mouse.
2. The left hemisphere is sequential; the right hemisphere is simultaneous. The right hemisphere does not march in the single-file formation of A-B-C-D-E. It is specialized in seeing many things at once, seeing all the elements of a situation and understanding what they mean.
3. The left hemisphere specializes in text; the right hemisphere specializes in context. The left hemisphere handles what is said, the right hemisphere focuses on how it is said—the nonverbal, often emotional cues delivered through a gaze, facial expression, and intonation.
4. The left hemisphere analyzes the details; the right hemisphere synthesizes the big picture. The left focuses on categories, the right on relationships. The left can grasp the details. But only the right hemisphere can see the big picture.
Posted: 03/30/11 01:38 PM ET from Bill Donius Blog on Huffington Post
Twelve years ago, I read “Recovery of Your Inner Child.” The book opened up a whole new world for me. Technically, it was my right brain (the creative, intuitive, instinctive hemisphere) that I opened up. It was like turning on the proverbial light switch. More than any self-help book I had read before, the exercises helped me break through barriers to turbo-charge my life. The progress was not limited to my personal life; the lessons also helped me in my business career.
It is almost uncanny how simple the process is, and equally amazing are the profound results. I decided to track down the author who set me forth on this amazing journey. Dr. Lucia Capacchione is a bestselling author and has written 15 books. To my surprise, I was able to locate her website and contact information. She was gracious enough to answer my questions for this interview.
Bill Donius: How did you discover writing with your non-dominant hand as a way of tapping into a different part of your brain?
Dr. Capacchione: Out of sheer life and death necessity. Not something I planned to do. I was struggling with a mysterious and completely debilitating illness. Later it was diagnosed as a collagen disease, in the family of Lupus. I had serious side effects from medication being prescribed in a hit-or-miss fashion. I was pretty desperate when I began drawing and writing my feelings out in my sketch pads. (I was both a professional designer and early childhood educator at the time of this illness.) The end result was a complete recovery, a new life and a new career as an art therapist.
Bill Donius: What has been your most important discovery?
Dr. Capacchione: My first therapist put a crayon in my non-dominant hand (for me it is the left) and asked me to write with it. I had no idea this would change my life forever. A child-like self within spoke to me who had been buried under a mountain of responsibility and five years of continual crises. At home, I spontaneously began dialogues in my journal between that inner child (non-dominant hand, the one we don’t normally write with) and my adult self or my inner critic (dominant hand). As a result, my physical energy increased dramatically, as well as my will to live.
My therapist encouraged me to develop this style of journaling, especially using both hands alternately. Someone who tried my method told Cal Tech’s Roger Sperry [the brain research pioneer] about my technique. He said this was opening the right brain and integrating the hemispheres. I took his word for it. He later won the Nobel Prize in 1981.
Bill Donius:How do lives change using your methods?
Dr Capacchione: Most people report that they have found their inner child: emotions, playfulness, creativity, physical stamina, intuition, gut instinct, creativity. This is the most common experience. And it is real. Not a cliché, or a theory. They also find inner guidance from a higher power or spiritual source of wisdom. They become more creative problem-solvers in all areas of life. And they apply these techniques to everyday challenges with amazing results. Relationships get healed or resolved. New career directions evolve.
Bill Donius: Have you needed or wanted endorsement from the scientific community?
Dr. Capacchione: Scientist Dr. Valerie Hunt [formerly of UCLA] read my book, “The Power of Your Other Hand,” when it was published in the late 1980s. She explained how she thought my techniques accessed right-brain processing and integrated both hemispheres. However, she encouraged me to continue with clinical work since I was “an artist” and a keen observer of people, and was helping so many to heal. She felt that the instrumentation would eventually be there to measure what was happening in the brain while one is engaged in these methods.
Bill Donius: What exactly is the advantage of writing with the non-dominant hand?
Dr. Capacchione: The new aspects of personality, the abilities and forms of expressions listed above are what we see clinically when people write with the non-dominant hand. They are functions described by Jill Bolte Taylor in her book, “My Stroke of Insight,” describing her loss of left-brain functions and immersion in the right brain after a stroke. According to Dr. Hunt, writing with the non-dominant hand integrated the hemispheres and opens up new neuronal pathways between the two sides of the brain. This is what people report that if feels like, using their intuition and inner sense of perceiving their brain. They can actually feel a buzzing in the right brain while writing with the non-dominant hand.
Follow Bill Donius on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bdonius
St. Louis Business Journal by Greg Edwards, Reporter
Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 1:51pm CDT – Last Modified: Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 4:38pm CDT
His book, “Thought Revolution: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius,” was released by Changing Lives Press in New York, and the author is feeling relieved.
“It certainly feels good to have this process completed, a long one at that — 39 months,” he said in an email. “Fortunately, I’ve done my part. I can sit back and allow the professionals at the publishing house to do their thing. However, their ‘thing’ will likely mean I’ll have to show up for some events if they are successful.”
Ah, the price of celebrity. Book signings, no doubt. Oprah’s book club? OK, maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
In researching the book, Donius interviewed almost 500 people on how to think differently by tapping into the creative side of the brain. About half of his interviews were with St. Louisans, including Beth Davis, president and marketing manager of Clear Channel Broadcasting; Rick Snyder, a former Enterprise Rent-A-Car exec; and Kelly Hamilton, editor-in-chief of Alive Magazine. See williamdonius.com.
As for sales, “We’re off to a good start, as the publisher was able to pick up Canada, the U.K. and Europe based on early distributor orders in the U.S.,” Donius said.
Donius, familiar with fortune, said of impending fame: “All this is new to me. Strange to think I spoke at the NYC Book Fair in May of 2011, and the book is just now coming to market. It’s all new territory for me.”
My blog Post from the Huffington Post in November 2011:
“Think Different” was the (grammatically incorrect) mantra and slogan that Steve Jobs brought to Apple. It proved to be more than a slogan; it actually worked. How did he do it?
If Jobs’ creativity could be reproduced, every board of directors in the world eventually would want to claim the magic elixir for their own company. Amazingly, in 14 years he created the most valuable company in the world. How was Jobs able to succeed where so many others have failed?
It appears that, though obviously a genius, Jobs learned how to think differently. He attended college, but quit before graduating. He took only classes that interested him (e.g., calligraphy), with seemingly little regard as to how they would affect his employability. (How many college students and their parents would embrace that approach today?)
Jobs next took an extended soul-searching trip to India. What exactly did he discover there that led to his realization of the importance of intuition? What possibly could have propelled someone with a prior rather lackluster background into becoming the revered god of creative geniuses and iconic business leaders?
In the recently released biography of Jobs by Walter Isaacson, he is quoted as having claimed that “Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect in my opinion.” Jobs continued to speak of the importance of learning how to quiet the mind, see things more clearly, and live in the present.
Reading the above passages proved to be my own “aha” moment. Jobs figured out how to tap into his right brain! Neuroscientists have known for years that this hemisphere is where creativity and intuition, among other skills, are located. Split-brain research has yielded insights about hemispheric lateralization in injured brains where the corpus callosum is cut. There has not been as much research, however, demonstrating how healthy people can specifically activate one hemisphere over the other.
In drawing upon his intuition — a right-hemisphere trait — Jobs was able to visualize products that consumers did not even realize they needed as yet. I have sincere admiration for what Jobs was able to create. While serving as a public company CEO myself, I became aware of how difficult it is to achieve growth, differentiate products and foster creativity in problem-solving.
I learned how to tap into my right brain a dozen years ago by reading one of many books on the subject written by Lucia Capacchione, Ph.D. Her insights proved to be both a transformation in my personal life and very helpful in my business career. I headed a classic left-brain company. Banks are typically not considered very creative entities, although some might argue that point today as a result of the problems caused by some of the bad apples.
My challenge as CEO was figuring out what we could do to make the company grow faster while keeping our shareholders happy, creating opportunities for our employees, and continuing to take care of our customers. Juggling these three balls was clearly no easy task.
I became able to think more creatively and intuitively as a result of learning how to “think different” on demand. And, became able to fight the urge to conform by taking the familiar path in the decision-making process and staying within my comfort zone. Instead, I chose to learn a new path for thinking and decision making. By learning to quiet my mind and then use my non-dominant hand to activate the right brain, I was able to write down answers that proved to be different from what I had received in using a traditional thought process.
Sound crazy? I personally would have been highly skeptical of this process absent 50 years of neuroscientific research attesting to why it works, beginning with Roger Sperry’s Nobel Prize-winning work in discovering the independence in consciousness between left and right hemispheres of the brain.
Applying this non-dominant hand technique gave me a creative edge in thinking about my company’s challenges in the following decade. The company grew profitably and rapidly and achieved some major milestones along the way, including being voted as a “Best Place to Work” and as a “Top Performing Bank Based on Return on Equity to Shareholders.” Often, executives would ask in amazement, “Where did you come up with that idea?” I wasn’t ready as yet, however, to let the cat out of the bag.
Upon leaving the corporate world at age 50, I became increasingly intrigued by what makes some people succeed and others fail in the face of adversity, and whether or not those who succeeded had been able to tap into their own creativity to help them along the way. I conducted hundreds of personal interviews, discovering precious few who knew anything about any methods for unlocking their own creativity. A typical response was, ” I wait and hope for that occasional flash of insight in the shower, listening to a song, or sleeping on it.”
If the pundits are right and we are dependent on innovation and creativity to grow our economy and make our products relevant in a global market, we can’t sit around waiting for flashes of creativity to occur. We need to start unlocking the creativity embedded in each of us.
I present myself as the classic left-brainer who learned how to meet and harness the power of his right brain. My creativity has not matched that of Steve Jobs, but I do know that I am way ahead of where I would have been had I stayed on the ingrained, familiar path. The good news for those seeking creativity is that you do not have to go to India or use hallucinogenic drugs. Instead, form an acquaintance with your right brain. It’s ready and waiting with a brave new world of insights.
William Alan Donius is the author of the forthcoming, The Thought Revolution: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius (Release date: March 2012, Changing Lives Press).
Follow Bill Donius on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bdonius
Deb Peterson wrote the following:
YOUR OTHER LEFT: A book on unlocking the creativity of your right brain by Bill Donius, former chairman and CEO of Pulaski Bank, is set to be released on Tuesday culminating more than three years of work.
“It’s been a 39-month process,” Donius said in an email today. “Longer than giving birth to an elephant (22 months)!”
The book, “The Thought Revolution: How To Unlock Your Inner Genius ,” is being published by NYC-based Changing Lives Press. Part how-to, part how-I-did-it, Donius says he interviewed hundreds of people — mostly St. Louisans — over a 2 1/2-year period to find out how they worked.
The book is based on work by the late Roger Wolcott Sperry, a neuropsychologist and neurobiologist who won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work with split-brain research, Donius says.
Along with the interviews, Donius conducted more than a dozen workshops and strategic-thinking sessions using the technology and technique described in the book. One of his corporate clients, TOKY Branding + Design, says the insights they gained from one of Donius’ strategy sessions helped them win three national clients.
Donius says the process gives literal meaning to the phrase “thinking differently.”
Friends of the St. Louis Public Library are invited to a free author reception with Donius on March 21 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Schlafly Branch, 225 North Euclid Avenue. Donius will make a presentation and hold a book signing following the reception.
THOUGHT REVOLUTION: How To Unlock Your Inner Genius undergoes skeptic Maritza’s testing and comes out with flying colors. “I didn’t think that opening a passage to the right side of the brain would be so easy but it seriously is!!! I have kept up with writing with my left hand and I have seen some immediate affects… I have been able to do better in school – I feel like I can speak my thoughts much more clearly than ever before.” Donius clearly walks users through the process of tapping into the right side of the brain and discovering new ways to approach everyday issues.
Read the entire review at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/298224783?utm_medium=api&utm_source=reviews_widget
One of the building blocks of Thought Revolution incorporates the research and work of Dr. Betty Edwards and her theory of ‘drawing on the right’.
Edwards was an American art professor and taught at California State University in Long Beach. There she developed her theory of Drawing On The Right Side which further build upon Roger Sperry’s split-brain research. She also concluded that the left and right sides of the brain were involved in specific and unique avenues of perception and reality. Her theory began to negotiate how the left and right sides of the brain accomplish the task of drawing an accurate image and isolating the visual and perceptual components of drawing from the right brain. The theory advocates losing preconceived notions of what a drawn object should look like instead on seeing the true reality of the image in the context of its edges, lines, shadows, etc.
Try it for yourself with one of the oldest, ‘drawing on the right’ exercises:
This is a sketch of Igor Stravinksy by Pablo Picasso. Print a copy of this photo and first attempt to sketch it, as it appears, right side up.
Now, turn the photo upside down and attempt to sketch is as it appears this way.
Did your brain explode the second time? If so, that was your left brain throwing a fit. To draw it ‘right’ is to attempt to draw the upside down image without thinking: To turn off the left side of the brain and let the right side take control. This removes the expectation of replicating the image in the logical, left brain order of “head, face, tie, handkerchief” and instead to draw the image from the right brain as just the movement of the lines.
The point of the exercise is to demonstrate that brains ability to train itself to draw from the right. Keep the process going by practicing the same method with any reasonably complex line drawing you find interesting.
How well do you really know your brain?
The human brain evolved to ensure our survival in a brutal, primitive world but somewhere along the evolutionary path a creative spark was born and artists were made. Our brain’s left hemisphere continued to control our mind’s reliance on logic, rationality, objectivity, details, practicality and safety while the right side began to formulate our imaginations, fantasies, symbols, religions, philosophies and intuition.
Neurobiologist and psychologist Roger W. Sperry developed this idea of left/right brain dominance and won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his split brain research and concluding that both hemispheres of the brain contained their own separate and distinct consciousness.
To find out which side of the split brain fence you’re on, take this quick left/right brain quiz!
Interest in brain function is really building as it crosses over into the mainstream culture! Mercedes Benz is even invloved! The Missouri Institute of Natural Science posted a neat link on Facebook. It appears that even Mercedes-Benz seems to be realizing that tapping into the right brain means more sales, more customers, and being a more competitive company this century.
As shared on Facebook by the Missouri Institute of Natural Science
The text for the left brain reads:
“I am the left brain. I am a scientist. A mathematician. I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate. Linear. Analytical. Strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am.”
And for the right brain:
“I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feet. I am movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.”
December 2008 with Arianna Huffington –I heard Arianna speak in St. Louis as part of the Maryville University Speakers Series. As a Board of Trustee member and big fan of hers I was thrilled to be able to meet her and chat at a reception after her speech. I really enjoyed meeting her as she is both brilliant and totally “down to earth” at the same time. We talked a great deal about the global disruption in the financial and mortgage markets. I was serving the first of a two year appointed term on the U.S. Federal Reserve Board (TIAC Council–banker member). I was surprised when she turned the tables and had lots of questions for me! I suppose she liked my answers as she invited me to start blogging for her on the Huffington Post right then and there. I’ve really enjoyed this role as I’ve had the opportunity to investigate what interests me in the hope others may be interested, as well. It’s been a very gratifying experience over the past three plus years.
December 2009 with Ben Bernanke– Chairman, U.S. Federal Reserve Board–Picture was taken at the conclusion of my two year appointed term. It was a great honor to be appointed to the U.S. Federal Reserve Board (TIAC Council) and have the opportunity to get to know and work with the Chairman and other Governors. The council is composed of 10 bank CEO’s from around the United States who are nominated for the post. The Council meets periodically throughout the year with the Chairman and the other Federal Reserve Governors in Washington, D.C. to discuss the banking industry, state of the economy and any other relevant topics. I was nominated to the post by the America’s Community Bankers Trade Group and the St. Louis Federal Reserve Board. The experience was certainly one of the highlights of my twenty year banking career.
January 2003, Fish! Karen from the Human Resources Department of the bank stopped into my office one day (maintained an open door policy) and handed me this book. She suggested I read it. I did just that over the weekend and came into the bank on Monday morning and thanked her for the insight. Next, I asked her to order 40 of them for every manager in the bank. I loved the simplicity of the message in FISH! And, also appreciated the short length as I know people are very busy with life and families and accordingly, shorter is better. Even though we were not in the business of selling fish like the Pike Place Market in Seattle, we were in the business of striving to produce great customer service experiences, many banks talk about, but few actually deliver it. The entire management team convened and we figured out a plan to implement the four core philosophies of FISH!: Being There for one another as teammates, Making the Customer’s Day rather than just giving acceptable service, Choosing the Right Attitude which meant learning how to change an attitude when one was not in the right space and Play. This last value seemed easier to justify in a fish market when it is permissible to actually throw fish so employees can amuse the crowd and themselves (it really is fun to watch). But, what about in a bank? As it turns, we found many ways to improve customer service experiences, recognize employees who went above and beyond and we had fun celebrating our successes. It worked! The book and a committed management team was able to produce a winning team and culture while growing eightfold over 12 years! I’m proud Pulaski Bank was voted Best Place to Work in St. Louis, by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2007 (for our size company) won a Torch Award from the Better Business Bureau for Excellence in Customer Service and Ethics in 2008 and was ranked one of the Best Performing Banks based on Return on Equity to Shareholders (for bank our size and charter) by industry source SNL in 2006.
“Each of us, on our own very special and unique terms, deserves to become the very best ‘me’ possible”--William Donius
This all begins with a journey. A soul searching exercise that carried its creator, Bill Donius, from bank CEO to best selling author. A four year journey that has taken him from an industry renown for left brain logic to the cutting-edge creative studies of right brain neuroscience and non dominant hand writing.
As a former bank CEO, Bill Donius began to experiment with an innovative thinking process that makes it possible to tap right-brain answers. Using it first to solve banking challenges. Should we expand, or not? Should we add a new department over there, or at all?
While conventional, logic-driven processes produced the same answers over and over, his use of the innovative thinking process involving non-dominant handwriting process began to produce a very different set of results. Results that not only confirmed his ‘gut’ thinking, but also, in the end, proved to be the right answers. Fueled by a sneaking suspicion that harnessing this process might be his ‘life’s true calling,’
Bill began to explore the work and research the neuroscience behind tapping the potential of the right brain. He read and studied the work of artist and author Betty Edwards and her revolutionary book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, a book that explored the brain’s preconceived notions about drawing. He met with, and studied the work of Lucia Capacchione, author of, Recovering Your Inner Child: work that explores how to heal childhood traumas by accessing the right brain to assist in the psychotherapeutic process and as well as neurocientists from Washington University, University of Chicago and St. Louis University.
Leaving his banking career in 2008, Bill made the decision to dedicate his life focus to helping people understand and leverage the power and potential of the right brain. To share how this work has transformed his own life, and in turn, how it can positively change the lives of others.
Through the study of existing work and current neuroscience, and through the development of his own proprietary process, Bill has created a methodology that allows people to unlock their own, unique right-brain solutions, often in under an hour’s time.
Bill first unveiled his process to a series of individuals, many who were struggling with business and personal issues (marital issues. stalled career, weight problems). To a person, Bill’s ‘process’ proved beneficial to these individuals. Each uncovered something they had been suppressing…something they had been overlooking. Something, that propelled them beyond the limits of their own logic. All from a simple exercise that simply tapped the right-brain intuition that was already inside each one of them.
His work continued to grow: as a speaker, innovation facilitator and mentor to organizations and associations. Bill’s valuable , innovative, ‘breakthrough’ element is especially useful for problem solving and strategic thinking. When business leaders are attempting to, Think Outside the Box, Bill methodology is the literally answer for getting, Beyond the Box.
With high demand for his new process, Bill studied new ways to package (and reach more people with) his message. Contemplating a book from the start of his journey, Bill wrote his first: Thought Revolution: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius. The book was published in March of 2012, and reached the #4 position on the New York Times bestseller list.
Bill is a sought-after lecturer at colleges, a frequent speaker at business and association meetings and a highly recruited strategic planner for corporate engagements. In March of 2012, Bill appeared on the FOX Network’s ‘Fox and Friends’ national morning TV show to promote his book and take the show’s hosts through a condensed version of his process. He’s since been invited on a number of other local and national programs as well as to speak to wide ranging audiences around the country.
Today, Bill seeks to completely fulfill his life’s new calling: To share his process for tapping the potential of right-brain thinking…to help people find their own, unique ‘genius within.’ An articulate and passionate presenter, Bill seeks to share his process with as many people, and through as many mediums, as possible.
Publisher’s Press Release: Thought Revolution: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius
Groundbreaking Work That Dispels the Mystique of Creativity and Intuition with Instant Results
NEW YORK, Jan 22, 2012 – THOUGHT REVOLUTION: HOW TO UNLOCK YOUR INNER GENIUS by William A. Donius (March 13, 2012, Changing Lives Press, $19.99) demonstrates how to tap into the right brain – the place where intuition and creativity exist – in a simple, easy and dramatic fashion. The author, Bill Donius, takes readers on an unexpected journey that will set them free – and it all begins with moving the pen from one hand to the other.
Donius has worked with this technique for over 12-years. It draws upon the work of Nobel Prize winning Roger Sperry, MD, who, in the mid-fifties, demonstrated the lateralization of brain functioning.
Major thought leaders agree that in order to compete effectively in the increasingly global economy of the 21st Century, it is imperative that we think creatively to boost innovation. The problem: Neither the neuroscientists nor the thought leaders are giving us what we really need – the HOW to do it – HOW to think differently – HOW to use our innate creativity – HOW to tap into our inborn intuition.
The process in THOUGHT REVOLUTION is straightforward and simple. It involves using an individual’s non-dominant hand as the neural pathway to the right brain. It takes away forever the tired refrain, “I could never do THAT because of THIS.” It is the guidebook for all those who become paralyzed at hearing the word “creative,” and who think that only a few specially anointed people have access to their intuition.
The participant poses a series of questions. They could include “Am I lying to myself about anything?” or ”What is the highest and best purpose of my life?” The question is answered first with the dominant hand and then with the non-dominant hand. The results are almost magical. In almost every case, the non-dominant hand (right brain) answer is totally different from the dominant hand reply (left brain) and begins to offer valuable insights into everyone’s multi-layered and textured personalities. These exercises work the same way for right-handed and left-handed people.
Donius rose through the ranks of corporate America, ultimately becoming Chairman and CEO of a St. Louis bank, taking it public, and was responsible for its dramatic growth over a 20-year period. He also served on the U.S. Federal Reserve Board-TIAC Council in Washington, D.C. with Ben Bernanke for two years.
At age 50, Donius concluded that while he had used intuitive writing successfully in his professional and personal life, he felt the need to help others in mainstream America think different in the way that Steve Jobs and the folks at Apple had done so effectively. He surmised that if he, a successful banker and confirmed “left-brainer” could unlock his own creative ability and intuition, then he wanted to help others to do it too.
He has conducted hundreds of interviews which proved to be an eye-opening “proof of concept” that resulted in writing, THOUGHT REVOLUTION: HOW TO UNLOCK YOUR INNER GENIUS.
Donius uses the work of Nobel Prize-Winner Sperry and Dr. Lucia Capacchione who wrote the forward to the book. Author of RECOVERY OF YOUR INNER CHILD and THE POWER OF THE OTHER HAND, Dr. Capacchione says, ”After doing all the exercises in Part Two of Bill’s book, I can attest that it delivers on its promise: You can change the way you think and find your truth in whatever challenges you…THOUGHT REVOLUTION will set you free.”