Daniel Pink in his book, A Whole New Mind, tells us the world is changing and that our brains need to change, too. Pink sees the world becoming geared more towards creative endeavors in order to maintain our economic system.
Our work and behavior will need to draw on the creative side, or right side of our brain. Success in the future will be determined by the creativity and flexibility of our thinking.
What changes in the brain, which can also be seen as shifts in thinking, does Pink view as important?
Pink asserts that basic changes are occurring in these six areas:
Design: It won’t be enough in the future to be involved in producing a functional product or service. Our outcomes must be beautiful, fun and engage the consumer at an emotional level.
Story: Enough of a diet of facts and information. We’ll want and need facts, but we will be required to craft them into a compelling story.
Symphony: Focus and analysis will not satisfy the demands of a whole new mind. Synthesis and the creation of meaning, giving the big picture, will become the new standard.
Empathy: Mr. Spock logic will be replaced with meaningful relationships where emotional well-being is tantamount.
Play: Work is important, of course, but we need to learn to laugh and have fun as part of the process. Our physical, mental and emotional health will benefit from a new balance of play and work, or perhaps the development of work as play.
Meaning: With our new minds, meaning comes to the forefront, pushing materialism into the background. Purpose, understanding, spiritual fulfillment and purposeful activity will become our focus versus the accumulation of things.
Pink’s concept of a whole new mind merges left-brained activities that are analytical, linear, explicit, sequential, verbal, concrete, rational, active and goal-oriented with the creative right brain’s ways of being intuitive, spontaneous, emotional, nonverbal, visual, artistic, holistic, playful, diffuse, symbolic and physical, thus creating a more balanced approach to life.
What does this mean for our work with children?
Perhaps we should be thinking of ways that we can integrate creative activity within our learning environments of school and home. Perhaps we need to nourish the ideas of design and meaning by creating opportunities for our children to appreciate beauty.
A softer delineation between work and play might help us create stronger learning in the brain, and deeper satisfaction with life. In the words of Mark Twain, “Work and play are words to describe the same thing under differing conditions.”
Research shows that we retain information longer and more accurately when we laugh and have fun. Dramatic play, singing and art can be used to integrate learning for our whole new minds.
We also need to help our children make the connections to a bigger picture and offer opportunities for meaningful personal relationships.
Pink describes a world that is hopeful, meaningful and fun when we develop a whole new way of thinking with a whole new mind.