counterintuitive

How does one learn to draw with their non-dominant (ND) hand?

If you thought, “the same way as learning to draw with their dominant (D) hand”, it’s actually more complex than that…

When we have been inundated in a complete way of thinking and doing, our options are to either to force the alternative (we sometimes call this ‘rote’) or to lay new pathways.

We learn to write with our ND hand the complete opposite way we learned with our D hand. If you started by picking up a pen, make that the last step. If getting ink to paper was how you reached excellence, think before touching down your quill.

The mind is slow in unlearning what it has been long in learning.

Seneca

In neuroscience, discoveries have molecularly proven that our brain’s are shaped by what we learn and do. Solve 2+2 to =4, and our brain trains that equation to be sorted into our “data base” that consists of all the learning we have ever done. It becomes what we call, “a neural pathway”.

What’s fascinating about these pathways is that the more we train and leave unquestioned the inputs into our brain, the deeper in our brain these pathways become carved. This is wonderful for automating tasks like the sum of two basic numbers or texting with eyes closed, one-handed (possible if you’re under twenty).

Where this becomes a problem is when we need to unlearn things about the world and reframe our social, theological, or technological context.

We live in a time where information should be taken with a full shaker of salt. The process for seeing the world in new ways complicates our understanding of learning.

Let’s choose to lay new pathways, not force an alternative ideology, lifestyle, definition of love (etc.) onto our preexisting frameworks.

When training your ND hand to draw, here are some practical, healthful tips:

  • Learn (relearn) how letters are shaped by your ND hand.
  • Do hand/brain exercises (brush your teeth and comb your hair at the same time)
  • Do many, varying activities with your ND hand (texting, using a fork, opening doors).

In the same way, don’t pick up the pen and start writing a manifesto on racial reconciliation or vaccine nationalism without getting out of yourself and away from the unrefined, derivative beliefs we all commonly hold undisputed.

Then, when all of the pathways are carved, pick up a pen- start writing.

Author: Ben Fridge

thecollegeminimalist.com

One thought on “counterintuitive”

  1. Hey…below is may favorite example of Neural Plasticity. You may have heard about the legend of the Fridge Crazy Bike? I spent 2 two painful weeks re-learning how to ride a bike. (The video below explains the bike and the science – a favorite podcast of mine). In my case, the pay-off was thousands of dollars one summer in Galveston making Neural Plasticity look really easy! I hope to obtain another such bike someday and this time, use it to teach people in all walks of life the very lesson you posted today…thanks for the reminder!

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