©Arlene R. Taylor

altEach brain is believed to have an energy advantage in one of the four divisions. Studies by Richard Haier MD suggest that the brain expends more energy (e.g., requires more oxygen, glucose, rest, micronutrition) when using non-lead functions.

When the brain is engaged in something that matches it biochemical energy advantage, it doesn’t have to work as hard and consequently tends to use much less energy. The skills that you tend to learn most easily, enjoy doing the most, and that use the least energy over time, usually match your innate giftedness. Regardless of how much you develop or use a skill, if it doesn’t use your innate energy advantage, it tends to be more draining than energizing.

Most people are capable of developing skills throughout the brain and this is desirable. If it is possible to develop skills through practice, why not aim for equal skills in all four cerebral divisions? Because there is a price to pay—in energy.

Following are examples of how individuals might use energy from a position of innate giftedness.

altPrioritizing Division


altEnvisioning Division


Individuals with an energy advantage in this cerebral division tend to use energy more efficiently when:

  • Making difficult decisions that involve resource allocation, money, and structure; when priorities need to be understood and identified
  • Setting goals and discovering ways to achieve them.
  • Delegating operational implementation, routine maintenance or follow-up, and the tracking of details to others.


Individuals with an energy advantage in this cerebral division tend to use energy more efficiently when:

  • Something is beginning, getting startedfor the first time, or when it’s beingturned around or reinvented
  • Anticipating and making changes, brainstorming and innovating

Note: Once a project is working as envisioned, it needs to be passed to others to maintain. Otherwise, they can be tempted to tinker with the project and, in a push to improve, reinvent, or change it, may actually cause ruin.


altMaintaining Division

altHarmonizing Division


Individuals with an energy advantage in this cerebral division tend to use energy more efficiently when:

  • Something concrete needs to be dependably sustained, whether the something involves service or production
  • Following routines/maintaining projects as long as they understand why it’s important to do so


Individuals with an energy advantage in this cerebral division tend to use energy more efficiently when:

  • Building connections, harmony, good will, and peaceful foundations and can do this in a wide variety of settings
  • Encouraging, helping to build consensus, and complying (as long as the “reason for” is understood)


Orchestra Metaphor

altAlthough no metaphor is perfect, imagine that your brain resembles a large orchestra with string, brass, woodwind, and percussion sections. You have the ability to play instruments in each section, although some instruments require more energy to play. The sound will differ depending on which instrumental section is being featured or taking the lead. Your comfort level, fatigue, and overall success relate to the specific instrument you are playing, the amount of time you played, and the energy that was expended.

Think of each cerebral division as a specialist in its own field, with valuable strengths to help you to accomplish specific tasks. Through practice you can hone requisite skills to allow you to complete many different tasks and activities successfully. However, you cannot excel at the same level in everything you do. It is different strokes for different folks! One activity may be an energy drain for one person but require so little energy for another that it’s like falling off the proverbial log.

While you can and do use all cerebral divisions of your brain, one section tends to function more energy efficiently. You can typically achieve higher levels of competence in tasks/activities that use functions associated with your brain's innate energy advantage.

Perhaps 95% of what goes on in the brain happens at an unconscious or subconscious level. That means that only 5% of the behaviors a person exhibits are self-directed at a conscious level. You really can only manage something effectively when you become aware of it and can identify and label it. Some suggestions for increasing your awareness follow.

  • Pay close attention to your emotions. According to Candace Pert PhD, emotions link the unconscious and conscious. Notice whenever you overreact to a trigger or stimulus and dig to identify the unresolved issue.
  • Learn to evaluate your relative energy expenditures and connect them to specifics activities, environments, persons, and time of day / week / month / year
  • Develop positive energy rituals (e.g., habits) that can automatically assist you to manage your energy effectively. These habits or brain software programs can reduce your need to consciously rely on will power and discipline.