March 22, 2005
News & Opinion: Whole People
Do you remember when you had hobbies? Think about it. What did you like to do back when you were a pre-teenager? Did you tinker with cars? Build things? Draw and paint? Write poetry? Sing and play guitar? Act in the school play? It was fun wasnt it? Of course only a few people are good enough to turn these activities into a career. And so, not being career level, we all dropped these extras. And why spend your time doing these things when theres CSI , CSI Miami, CSI New York and NCIS? I distinctly remember my sons high-school band graduation banquet. These are talented kids, the cream of the crop. At the banquet they entertained us and themselves with skits, poems, parodies, and humorous musical numbers that they wrote and produced themselves. I dont mean the cute little numbers where the parents all clap politely, but really excellent quality acting, writing, and performing. Then came the part of the banquet where they announced the future plans for these kids: engineering, actuarial science, law, pre-med, psychology, business.. These talented kids were doing what we all did before them, shelving their talents so that they could study hard, (big heavy text books) get high-prestige careers, and watch CSI. Now about the book: Whole Mind says be both. Be the actuarial scientist who can draw, the lawyer who can tell a good story, and the computer programmer who has the ability to listen with compassion. Go buy a copy of this book. In fact, go buy three or four because as you are reading it you will definitely think of one or more friends who really need to read this book. The people who need this book fit in two groups. One group includes the people who have been using their whole minds for a long time and because of this struggled to fit it. It will tell them, rock on. The other group includes the people who have been stuck in their left brain for the last 15 years. It will tell them to go back and pick up that guitar and that drawing pencil; its time to be your whole self. While I love the book from the lets be whole people perspective, I do wonder was society ever as lacking color as it implies. We were all there. Yes computer programmers ruled the world. But do you remember early computer programmers? Say in the early 80s when geek wasnt a compliment? They slept in sleeping bags near their desks, wrote code through the night, and took off on Friday afternoons to go out for pizza and a movie as a group. These were not left-brain-only people. Also, I wonder about the future. Will my son who is getting his Phd in engineering and is a professional juggler actually get to blend his full talents? Will my daughter who can barely find her left brain really be valued? And will careers where you need to deeply use both right and left really be valued and paid more than those left-brain standards? Only time will tell us. In the meantime, Im drawing again. Cathy Alper is this really cool person who does facilitation and team-building around the country.