Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Stroke of Insight Part 1

This first article in this blog series is about the brilliant Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor and her stroke of insight. Dr. Taylor is a Harvard trained brain scientist that was named Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2008. At the young age of 37 years old Dr. Taylor experienced a massive stroke that she claims is the best thing that ever happened to her.

As a neuroanatomist by profession, Dr. Taylor was actually able to observe her own mind like a scientist as it completely deteriorated to the point where she could no longer walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her prestigious life. Although, the right side of her brain was left in tack, the left side of her brain, the rationale side, was devastated and left to ruin by the hemorrhaging that she suffered.

Over the next eight years of recovery, Dr. Taylor amazingly was able to continue to observe her brain functions like a scientist watching over an experiment. During this time that the left hemisphere of her brain was incapacitated, an amazing thing happened. Her peaceful right brain hemisphere, which was so often overshadowed by her more aggressive analytical left side was finally given an opportunity to move to the forefront and dominate her life. Dr. Taylor felt a peacefulness that she had never felt before now that all that chatter from her story-telling left side of her brain had been silenced.

She knew that her recovery was based on the fact that she would have to someday restore the left side of her brain’s capacity again, which included her logical computations, sequencing, and rationale. However, she hesitated while thinking about what this would mean. Did she really want to bring back the story-telling part of her left hemisphere that had frequently told her crazy stories about how she wasn’t good enough, or that someone else was bad? Basically, she didn’t want thoughts anymore that included judgment, jealousy, or any other negative thought pattern that had previously dominated her brain back during her so-called normal days when her left hemisphere dominated her daily internal dialogues. “Why couldn’t life stay as peaceful as it was at this right hemisphere dominated moment,” she thought.

So, my question to you in this first part of this blog series becomes… Can you control the chatty left side of your brain and allow the peaceful, connected right side of your brain to freely flow just a little more often so you can actually enjoy the success that you are achieving?

Daniel Blanchard is the award-winning author, speaker, and educator of the Granddaddy’s Secrets teen leadership book series. You can find out more about Dan at:


  1. Thanks for sharing this. Taylor's work on understanding the brain is powerful. I also like Betty Edwards work (most notably "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain").

  2. Though provoking exercise, Dan. I'm looking forward to Part 2!