The Engine We Call A Brain

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Photo by Mike Bird from Pexels

This post was originally posted on Medium.


The minds of different people see the world differently. Some people can have minds that process a lot of information like a powerful V8 engine. And others may have a 4-cylinder that is more than enough power to sustain analytical productivity. Do you know what type of mind you have, and is it suited for success in what you’re doing?

More powerful doesn’t necessarily mean better. Often times, people with overactive minds tend to process a lot more information than others. This doesn’t mean they are better or more intelligent, but rather that they are better suited for making connections between things. For artistic minds, if all of the cylinders are not fired to accomplish a large, complicated task, the leftover energy gets transferred into boredom, self-analysis, and creation of falsehoods about ourselves. An artistic mind needs a more challenging path in the form of complex problems.

Every path we take in our lives has its own challenges, so it’s important to use the right tool for the right job.It doesn’t matter how powerful of a car you have, a 500+ horsepower engine driven into the ocean is a massive failure. In this instance, even a rowboat is more efficient than drowned car. From childhood, we start learning societal social norms and are expected to follow the paved path/freeway that is often: work your 9-5, raise a family, be amiable, retire, travel. There is nothing wrong with this path, but if the thought of this makes us uncomfortable then we are not meant for that life. Unfortunately, the majority of people today have falsely convinced themselves that this is the most secure path for them in life. But people that are not meant to belong in the corporate machine are adding more misery to an already overpopulated demographic. People have become so accustomed to travelling on this “normal” path,  they forget to exit to refuel, to go fishing, to smell the roses, to go off-roading, to go camping. They forget why they were ever on this path or freeway in the first place. The V8’s are wasting way too much fuel idling in traffic, whereas they’re meant to go off-roading or something with that power elsewhere. People feel restless from having unused energy because their engine doesn’t match their road. They need to exit. We need to exit.

But not everyone needs to exit, because some are on a path that gives them true happiness. Just like how creatives are happy doing deep work, analytically-minded people cringe at the thought of processing so much data. What seems crazy to them, is easy for the V8 mind. And what V8 mind finds difficult (marketing, hitting deadlines, etc.) is where this mind is expert. Everything and everyone has their place in this interdependent web. The Analytical V4 is an efficient engine that gets shit done. Every bit of energy has a task or purpose, unlike the V8 mind that constantly needs direction and information. These V4 people are better suited for being goal-oriented and being to the point. Unlike the rowdy, boisterous artistic mind that thinks laterally from concept-to-concept to make connections, the analytical V4 thinks vertically in steps, from task to task. The analytical minds know their purpose. The artistic minds are conquering uncharted territory. They both need each other because the analytical minds are the ones that help the artistic minds realize their goals into reality. If Shakespeare was a V8, the entire cast of people, set design, lighting, etc. were the V4’s that helped realize his dream and plays. And each person was happy doing what they did (or so one would hope).

We both need each other to make movement happen, like Yin and Yang. The kind of engine or brain that we have isn’t an indication of our worth or ability. Each brain requires a different level of maintenance, and a different path to conquer. We shouldn’t be comparing abilities in the first place, but rather, how we can better help each other, and by extension ourselves by practicing self awareness. Success is different for everyone. Each person requires their own type of care and fuel: the care is meaningful relationships and the fuel is gratitude. Instead of being convinced by others to stay the course on the beaten path, let’s recognize the power of our engines and drive accordingly.


Jay-Ram is a former Industrial Chemist turned writer who aims to help others use deductive reason and the scientific process to gain deeper insight into people, and create deeper, meaningful relationships between his fellow humans.

Unravel The Unique You

If we want uncover what makes us unique, then we must do the work that others are unwilling to do: the rigorous task of constant self-actualization. Raising our own self-awareness will deepen our connection with others, and our work will have depth that resonates on a profound level with others.

We can begin self-actualization by defining what we want out of our life. What are we trying to create? A life like [enter person here]? Another Eat Pray Love book? Another painting like Mona Lisa? Another electronic dance music (EDM) hit single? And most importantly, why do we need another one of any of these? Imitation is derivative, but true art is original.

“Marcel Duchamp, also an artist, puts an upside down urinal into an art exhibit in 1917, causes a riot–this is art–Not art, is the second person who puts a urinal in an art museum. They’re a plumber.” – Seth Godin

If it’s already done, an imitation of that particular thing is just a mere copy. The world needs less plumbers, and more artists. People who can uncover and express things from deep within themselves. True artists provide a service to the world much greater than any paycheck can pay. They know the value of what they do, and aren’t controlled by vanity metrics like (excessive) money and fame. Yes, we all need to eat and pay rent–but how much do we really need for that? And is our fear of going broke much more powerful than finding peace and expression within ourselves? Did we enter our career because of the potential wealth? Or was it because we felt a calling from some force within to express a message? Unfortunately, some people are seduced into becoming an “artist” because of fame and fortune. They are not aware how doomed they’ve become by restricting themselves to parameters of money, validation and fame. In the end, the freedom they sought becomes the (gold) bars of their solitary prison. If we want validation, there are easier ways to achieve that. But if we wish to engage in a daily battle with our deepest feelings and insecurities, express our repressed emotions, to turn the abstract into tangible art, then we can begin to make work that matters. Our task is arduous, and great art requires constant awareness of our motivations.

To prevent falling into this trap, we must form a vision of what we want in the long term. If it so happens that money is a primary motivation, our art (and by extension us) will suffer with the volatility of working in a art industry. Anyone who controls our paycheck will control our art, and by extension us. We don’t want this. Many of us chose the lifestyle of creating art and self-expression because we want to experience the freedom of being ourselves. Why would we give that up? Let’s not go back there. We must remember that we are creating lasting art that will live on longer than us. Eventually, we too will return to the stillness of the Earth.

“It is from stillness that all things emerge and to which all things return.” – Lao Tzu

We must teach ourselves to be comfortable with stillness. To create art that transforms a generation, we must be in a constant process of transformation within ourselves. We must seek out experiences that are new and sometimes uncomfortable so that we can create new neural pathways in our brain. And we will see new connections within our life and art as well. There’s very few good reasons to work so hard and endure many difficulties in life just to emulate someone else. We are in the process of creating a first-rate version of ourselves rather than a derivative of anyone (or anything) else. The depth of our art will depend on how deep we can go within ourselves. If we are not comfortable sitting down in silence and going deep, our work will resonate a fearful and superficial tone. We must constantly practice this skill of exploring the parts within ourselves that others fear to dive within themselves.

Most importantly, let’s make sure we are the best versions of ourselves. One of the many rewards of self-actualization will be that our art will be just as vibrant and resonant as our soul. To create unique art, we must be willing to undergo unique experiences within ourselves. You become your art.


This article was originally posted on Medium.


Jay-Ram is a former Industrial Chemist turned writer who aims to help others use deductive reason and the scientific process to gain deeper insight into people, and create deeper, meaningful relationships between his fellow humans.