Yin, yang and your brain

“The era of ‘left brain’ dominance –and the Information Age it engendered– is giving way to a new world in which ‘right brain’ qualities –inventiveness, empathy, meaning– will govern.” – Daniel Pink in “A Whole New Mind”

In eastern philosophy, yin and yang stands for the complementarity between seemingly opposite forces. Typical instantiations of the yin vs. yang duality are: female vs. male, soft vs. hard, and unconscious vs. conscious.

In a certain sense, the human brain also has a yin and a yang side. The left hemisphere, takes care of language, logic, reasoning and numbers, all considered yang qualities, while the right half deals with emotion, empathy, creative thinking and images, which are more yin.


In his 2005 bestseller “A Whole New Mind”, Daniel Pink writes about the differences between left-brain thinkers and right-brain thinkers, and how the future merely belongs to the latter ones: the creativists, the designers, the storytellers, …

In the 21st century, storytelling is a skill that every business —and individual— need to master, and even down-to-earth left-brain executives will rely on right-brain storytellers to place, promote and pitch their company, products and services.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a player in the right-brain-storytellers league yet, as a B2B presenter you will get confronted with and have to anticipate the yin-yang duality of your audience. So, make sure to serve them a well-balanced dish of “rational value” and “emotional inspiration“.

Alas, the human brain is even more complex than that. When dealing with the psyche of your audience, you will not only have to deal with their left and right brain hemispheres, but also with the three parts of their so-called triune brain. Food for another blog post…

If want to find out which side of your brain is more dominant, there’s (of course) a test for that on the web:

Other articles about this topic that are worth reading: