A whole new mind

By Jenelle Madrid

Texas State students were given an insight into the Conceptual Age of right-brained thinking on Wednesday night, as a part of the Common Experience.

Daniel Pink, the author of A Whole New Mind, stressed the importance of “right brain” qualities, such as artistry, empathy and emotion.

“We need to prepare [students’] futures from my past,” said Pink. “I did go to law school, but didn’t do very well.”

He said he was following the rules set by the elders of his generation, which were to become a lawyer, accountant, computer programmer or other incentive-based careers of the time.

“Human beings are not horses motivated by crunchy carrots and a pointed stick,” he said. “Autonomy, mastery and purpose work better.”

Pink said there are three forces tilting the scales into the Conceptual Age: Asia, automation and abundance.

“In March of next year, the largest English-speaking country will be India, not the United States,” said Pink. “The global economy runs on English.”

He also said that last year one million tax returns were done in India, which are giving accountants in the U.S. competition along with TurboTax that only costs about $28 a download. With that said, he said that most “left brain” work can easily be automated.

As far as the topic of abundance goes, he said that he finds the standards of living in this country “breathtaking.”

“We have more computing power in our pockets than ever existed in my grandparents world,” he said as he juxtaposed the fact that his grandparents did not own a telephone to how nearly 460,000 cell phones are discarded in the U.S. today.

He also said that incentive-based decision making “slows creativity and thinking, which is one of the most robust findings but also ignored.”

“Humanity requires that we become lifelong learners,” said Student Body Vice President Tommy Luna. “We are the ones that are going to eventually face the 21st Century.”

When asked how these right-brained ways of thinking can be infiltrated into Texas State, Diann McCabe, assistant director of the honors program at Texas State and chair of the Common Experience, said that it is already going on.

“I would like to see more collaboration on campus,” said McCabe. “Collaborations such as, students from the math department working on projects with students from the journalism department, music with English and so on.”

She also said that the secret is teachers that truly love and are passionate about what they teach.

Pam Wuestenberg, co-chair of the Common Experience committee, said “I hope that the students will use this as they talk to advisors about what they want to do.”

McCabe and Wuestenberg both commented on the long process of generating a theme for the Common Experience and bringing Daniel Pink to Texas State, in which a request was submitted two years ago.

Their hard work will ultimately show through the conceptual growth in the minds of students at Texas State.

Image from danpink.com

Photo by Jenelle Madrid

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