Monday, December 1, 2008

Your left hand (Or your right one if you are a lefty)

I was talking to a friend who had recently hurt his arm. He had his left arm in a sling, and although he didn't have a cast, he was unable to use his arm at all. After discussing how he got hurt doing Jujitsu rolls without the proper warm-up, he said something along the lines of "Well at least now I use my right hand more often (he is a lefty) and this is supposed to make me more creative". I was skeptical that using his non-dominant hand for a few weeks would have any effect on his creativity, but being as curious as I am I decided to go about my day consciously using my left hand instead of my right whenever possible to see what happened.

Although I didn't feel like Gaudi for using my left hand, I have to admit that I see my friend's point. It struck me when I was trying to wash my hands in the bathroom, reaching over myself to get soap from the dispenser, that there has to be a better way to do the most routine things. The dispenser I was reaching for with my left hand was the one I would have used had I decided to get soap with my right hand. However, there was a dispenser on the left that would have been much more easy to get to with my left hand. That is when I started to hypothesize that even if I am used to doing things one way, constraints - such as not being able to use your dominant hand - don't have to make it harder for me to perform the same task. There is usually another way that may be different but not necessarily harder. He call's it creativity, I would call it resourcefulness. Regardless of what you call it, I like my friend's attitude and agree that constraints force you to think differently. I would add that they only make life harder when you insist on doing things the un-constrained way and don’t adapt to the new circumstances.


dambalah said...

It's also good fro your brain to do things that are unusual (like using your left hand instead of your right or taking a different road to work).

When you keep doing the same things all the time, your brain can get lazy so from time to time you have to do something odd like brushing your mouth with your left hand, etc...

M said...

As someone who actually broke his right wrist and had to use only his left hand for months, I wouldn't call this creative, but a major pain in the ass.

Try turning your car on with your left hand. Also try shifting. How about using cutlery when eating with only one hand? The only creative thing I did was to develop a way to scissor hold my beer bottles by using just my middle and index finger. :)