Daily Nugget of Gold 663
Learning to Think
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
What Martin Luther King, Jr. said there is spot-on. Many of us think that the purpose of education is to memorize a bunch of supposedly significant things. The word “education” comes from the Latin word, “educo” which means “to draw from within.” King understood this and demonstrated it in what he said. Yes, it’s important to know about our world, our history, our culture, math, and science. What’s more important is that we have and use the mental apparatus we need to make sense of it all, wouldn’t you agree? Fortunately for us, this is not something we don’t have, but as with anything- if we fail to use it, we lose it.
When we’re talking about thinking, we don’t mean the function of our mind to take us through the day, that’s sort of like being on auto-pilot and reacting to what comes along. We’re talking about a quiet, meditative-like state where we dwell on something and think about it. In this state we can examine a difficulty or problem, explore possible solutions, think about creating something which doesn’t exist in our material world, find ways to improve ourselves or our performance and much more. Most of us are lazy, however and never spend much time doing this. Sure, we’ll mull it over for a few seconds and either jump to some conclusion or go entertain ourselves in some way. Comedian Steven Wright nailed it in this way, “A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.”
“Thinking is hard work which is the real reason so few people do it.” – Henry Ford
In IBM’s heyday, they had signs all over their workplace that simply said, “Think”. The atmosphere now in a workplace is that if you are sitting there appearing to do nothing, you must be goofing off. This is probably true for many people, but for some- this is thinking time and is exactly what an organization needs, even if they condemn the practice as appearing to be slothful.
It’s important to be productive in our thoughts. Be solution oriented. Yes, it’s okay to see a problem and define it, but we want to focus the bulk of attention on solutions rather centering our thoughts on the negative thing. Let’s make it a goal to use our creative abilities more and more each day. With practice we’ll get better at this. What are we but for our thoughts, after all?
Question of the Day to Ask Ourselves
“When can I make time to think daily and stick to it?”
Copyright 2012 Kevin Littleton, all rights reserved.