Being on a Roll, Part 4

We’re ready to take a deeper dive now, exploring the difference between analytical and intuitive thinking. Dr. Roger Sperry, a 1981 Nobel Prize winner, found that two distinctly different brains coexist inside our heads. Each processes information quite differently and independently from one another, using different processing languages.  As a result, each one accumulates and stores a different memory of the same experience. Dr. Sperry’s findings provide a very valuable way to understand and describe the key differences between analytical and intuitive thinking.

Analytical thinking is conscious and relies on words and numbers to process information. It functions a lot like a programmable computer chip, which utilizes a binary code to make a series of yes/no, on/off, one/zero decisions in a linear fashion. In contrast, intuitive thinking can be conscious or unconscious, and processes information non-verbally, relying on pictures, patterns and feelings to express its conclusions. It might surprise you to know that the difference in processing speed between our analytical minds is thought to be somewhere around 1:1000, making the properly accessed intuitive mind an incredibly powerful tool in our arsenal for staying on a roll in our lives.

The huge difference in processing speed causes each of the two brain functions to perform quite differently, as can be seen in the following table:


The Sequential,

Analytical Mind

The Synthesizing,

Intuitive Mind

Thinks and decides logically Feels and chooses intuitively
Reasons deductively Synthesizes inductively
Computes data sequentially Processes patterns randomly
Dismantles wholes into parts Integrates parts into wholes
Has a separating influence Has a cohesive influence
Rationalizes and judges Assimilates and differentiates
Focuses creative energy Generates creative energy
Guided by tangible goals

Categorizes objectively

Accumulates knowledge

Can be programmed

Is activated by

“problem-finding” questions

Guided by intangible purposes

Discriminates subjectively

Utilizes wisdom

Can be trained

Is activated by

“value-finding” questions

Another key finding from Dr. Sperry’s work–when the analytical mind was surgically separated from the intuition, he discovered it was incapable of distinguishing truth from fiction. This makes our analytical mind easily deceived into thinking it can judge right or wrong, good or bad. In truth, however, it simply cannot execute the judging function. That is something only the intuitive mind can do.

To get a full appreciation of our intuition, as mentioned above, it does not use languages we speak or write in, like English, French, etc. Instead it relies on feelings, patterns and pictures as processing languages as it seeks continuously and relentlessly to move us toward an ever-evolving vision of an ideal. The more deeply we can learn to tap into and rely on this amazing force, the easier it becomes for us to reach the overarching goal of this series–effortless high performance, otherwise known as, “being on a roll.”