At Left Brain, Turn Right: the APA Oxymoron of Creative Over Thinkers

By Van Tran

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted a really visually striking Mercedes advert showing an overhead cross section of the brain. The left side –a dreary color palette along with words such as “scientist,” “analytical,” “linear.” The right – an explosion of vivid brilliance coupled with words like “creativity,” “free spirit,” “imagination.” It made me wonder, who am I along the left brain/right brain spectrum? And why?

As a kid, I regularly found myself in a constant struggle, battling between my stereotypical spelling bee winning-Jeopardy watching-chess playing self versus the other stereotypical fashion loving-art creating-musician me. While trying to figure out who I was as a person, there was the added pressure of a high expectations Asian father and Tiger mom nagging at my mind to work harder. To do better. To be better. As I grew older it became harder and harder for me to make a choice about who I was and just let go. It wasn’t until the age of the internet and reality television that I realized this issue of being held back by the left brain is one which many other APA’s face.

I got to thinking about this again after finishing the latest episode of Oxygen Network’s the Glee Project 2, a reality show where contestants compete for a coveted role on the hit show Glee. I’d been pleasantly surprised this season to find a finalist named Abraham Lim – a 24 year old, handsome, talented, and overall cool dancer from California. In this week’s episode, he won the group’s “homework assignment” by being the best dancer and ultimately gaining the lead role in the contestant’s music video. The problem is that when it came time to shoot the video he totally over thought it, appeared too rehearsed, and ended up ranking among the bottom contestants as a result. Aye, ya!

Abraham’s over think also immediately reminded me of Gina Choe from America’s Next Top Model Season 3, way back before we were up to America’s Next Top Model Season infinity today. At the time I remember it being a huge deal to have a beautiful Asian portrayed in the media, and in the running to be ANTM no less, well before Asian models became the runway look du jour. What I also remember is her ultimate downfall – the irksome over think – as she struggled each week to get over her insecurities and inhibitions.

Whether it comes with age or just takes years of practice, I hope that as a community we can all possess the confidence, freedom, and passion to strike the perfect balance between over thinking our creativity and creatively over thinking. Namaste.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Van Tran is a mover, shaker, doer and maker who’s finding her place in the world. She is trained in both business and the law, which makes for some unorthodox writing styles.

[Photo courtesy of the glee project]

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