Bill Donius’ “Thought Revolution”: Like a Bridge Over Muddled Fodder”
By Randall Kenneth Jones
Originally published in the Naples Daily News
Bill Donius wants people to think, some might say, twice as hard as they normally do.
In fact, Donius’ professional focus is the placement of one’s Left Brain, commonly known as the analytical side, in direct competition with their Right Brain, typically credited with creativity, imagination and intuition.
If his theories hold true, the Right Brain may just win or—at a minimum—significantly challenge the (often dominant) Left Brain’s insatiable need for logic, analysis and computation.
A graduate of Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business and the Kellogg School’s CEO Program at Northwestern University, Donius spent thirty years toiling in high-profile, left-brained pursuits supporting such industries as health care, television production, retail food and banking industries.
However, what began in the late 90s as a personal journey to better understand his “lack of success with personal, intimate relationships” led to Donius’ current role as a popular corporate speaker/trainer and author of the New York Times bestseller, “Thought Revolution.”
Though recent Naples visitor Donius credits Dr. Roger Sperry’s 1981 Nobel Prize-winning research on the independence of brain function between the left and right hemispheres as inspiration, he saw another potential application.
Donius subsequently spent the past six years conducting research with hundreds of test subjects to determine if a methodology for unlocking innovation, intuition and creativity could be applied to Corporate America.
The answer: a resounding yes.
Look at it this way: “The most overused saying in business is ‘think outside the box,’ but how many know how to do it?” suggests Donius.
A native of the Show-Me State of Missouri, Donius employs a hands-on method of coaching a meaningful right-brain response—one best experienced in person or by reading his book.
That said, when he asked my “Left Brain” to describe “Business Class,” I delivered my memorized response: “Business Class is an exploration of positive business principles selected from interviews with high-level executives, newsmakers, business leaders and business-savvy celebrities.”
However, when Donius engaged my “Right Brain,” the result was short, sweet—even shocking. My non-verbal, imaginative brainwaves delivered an emotionally-based yet infinitely more accurate answer. In fact, so powerful was the image in my mind’s eye, it appeared in bold neon lights—like the Las Vegas strip of the frontal lobe.
My Right-Brain answer: “VALUES.”
With the understanding that “children” and “imagination” go hand in hand, Donius points to traditional education as almost adversarial to creative thinking: “We are taught to not daydream. We are taught to follow specific rules and to color inside the lines,” he says.
Looking back 400 years, Donius also observes: “Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and even Madam Curie had their most defining creative breakthroughs before they were 30 years old. Even brilliant minds get trapped.”
Today’s primary Left-Brain trap: “Reliving the same day over and over again,” says Donius.
Plus, if the Right Brain’s primary foe is redundancy, then the Left Brain’s primary excuse is: “I don’t have enough time.”
Much has been written about the business world’s lust for creativity, but how much of that is really true?
Just ask around and the concept of creative thinking seems to represent “freedom” to some, and “panic” to others. Those who love facts and figures fear the Right Brain’s muddled fodder—the alleged whirlwind of overcharged neurons and electrons battling over synaptic access to reason.
Many also view the Right Brain as more frivolous and less focused—more of a tool for fantasy than for problem solving.
What’s more, look at the terms and phrases sometimes associated with corporate “creative types” such as marketers, copywriters and graphic designers: erratic, distracted, “all over the place.” Our “creatives” have often been accused of lacking an attention-to-detail because their Right-Brain proclivities provide the ultimate “Big Picture” of inspiration.
Per Donius, the Right Brain is perhaps even more likely to deliver clarity and order. In fact, it can provide the same immediate gratification so often associated with the Left Brain’s love of sequencing and facts. (Business Class “VALUES” comes to mind again.)
Finally, for those of you who have always viewed the Right Brain as the creator of slapdash thoughts sent over to the Left Brain for processing and clarification, think again.
By literally keeping an open mind, you may discover that Bill Donius’ “Thought Revolution” connects the two divergent sides of our brains by cleverly building a thought-provoking bridge over muddled fodder.
(Yes, Simon and Garfunkel fans, my Right Brain hoped you would notice.)
For more on Bill Donius, visit williamalandonius.com.
Marketer, publicist, business humorist, professional-courtesy advocate, branded-content writer, creative-development consultant, and entertaining motivational speaker Randall Kenneth Jones is the creator of RediscoverCourtesy.org and the president of MindZoo, a marketing communications firm in Naples, Florida.
Photos: TOP — “Thought Revolution” by William A. Donius book cover; Photo 2 — William A. (Bill) Donius; Photo 3 — “Thought Revolution” by William A. Donius book cover; BOTTOM — Randall Kenneth Jones.