The Whole Brain Concept

Several years ago, when author Daniel Pink released his book “A Whole New Mind”, it quickly became a best seller.

In his book, Pink chronicles the journey from the Industrial Age to the Information Age to what is called the Conceptual Age. He points out that while we have many things going for us, we’re also lacking in some areas.

During this time period, people migrated from the farms into the cities where more people moved in order to work in factories.

Many of those people soon found themselves doing the same thing over and over again as they completed repetitive tasks. This had a stifling effect on a lot of folks who subsequently lost their ingenuity and creativity in the monotony of things.

Eventually, during the Industrial Age, we came up with the concept of retirement. That word “retirement” literally means, “to put out of use.” That’s not a very positive way to think of things.

At the time this concept was conceived, the average life expectancy of a male was 72 years old. When the Social Security System was created, it was made with the expectation that a man who retired at age 65, would live, on average for only another 7 years. Women would typically live about 14 years after retirement.

One of the reasons the Social Security system is in trouble is that people are living longer. For example, life expectancy for a Baby Boomer couple is closer to 96 today. One reason for this greater lifespan is that people have come to realize that part of the secret to longevity is making yourself necessary.

This means that even if you retire from your job, you simply shift gears and
continue to do worthwhile things like humanitarian work or other meaningful labors.

We moved from the Industrial Age to the Information Age in the late 20th Century. People have more information than they’ve ever had before. In this era, a person in India or Africa has more information at their fingertips with a smart phone than Bill Clinton had when he was the U.S. president in the 1990s.

To put this into perspective, a single edition of the New York Times now has as much information in it as a person used to be exposed to in their entire lifetime during the 18th Century. We don’t have a dearth of information today so much as a dearth of time and attention.

Here Comes the Conceptual Age

Now we are moving into a Conceptual Age where we must use both our right brain and our left-brain. This means no more excuses about being strictly logical or strictly emotional; we have to use all of our brainpower now. If we don’t do this, we run the risk of missing out on about half of the relationships in our lives.

Daniel Pink writes about how the right-brainers are likely to rule the world in the future in this Conceptual Age. So we’d be wise to stop relying on simply being logical or being only creative and use the whole brain in living our lives.

Pink writes of a High Concept Approach to life and how it can make all the difference for us, for our families, and our overall authentic wealth. When referring to true or authentic wealth, we must remember that this encompasses more than just our money.

High Concept thinking helps us to recognize patterns and opportunities in our lives. It also helps us to appreciate artistic and emotional beauty and to combine what appear to be unrelated ideas into strong, actionable related ideas.

Along with High Concept Thinking comes the practice of High Touch that deals with being empathetic and understanding of the nuances of human interaction. It’s about experiencing the joy in others and oneself and stretching beyond our everyday approach and doing things with a stronger focus on our purpose or meaning for life.

This is why taking a more holistic approach to everything makes so much sense.

Instead of simply focusing on money or finances, we also pay attention to relationships, our work, and our passions. This is the key to living an abundant life and helping others to do the same.

It allows us to focus on the three dimensions of authentic wealth that focus on values as well as the financial considerations we hope to pass down to future generations.

This is about much more than the assets; it’s about perpetuating the skills necessary to live abundantly for those who follow us.


Doug Andrew