The essence of the independent mind lies not it what it thinks, but how it thinks. - Christopher Hitchens
Don’t listen too much to your parents. Don’t listen too much to your teachers. Don;t listen too much to your friends. Listen to yourself. - Shimon Peres
School is back in full swing, both at home and at work, and it’s my favorite time of year. I always loved school and gladly would be enrolled now in one program or another (Art History? Physics? Forestry?) but for a million excuses. The first time around, I decided pretty early I wasn’t “good” at math or science. I now know what I meant was math and science were more challenging for me and I preferred the attention I received from reading and writing in ways my teachers found pleasing. This worked out for me, mostly. Really, training my mind how to think was something I came to much later (and something I’m still working on) despite decent schools and some exceptional teachers. The recipe, for me, requires an interesting problem, play, feedback, fine tuning, failure, repetition, application, periods of quiet reflection, walking, talking, writing and re-writing. This is a difficult environment for schools to create. In my next life, I’ll be an education reformer and I’ll use Christopher Hitchens’ quote above as my North Star.
How do you learn best? What does it even mean to “learn how to think”? Use a few moments this weekend to challenge an old personal assumption. Test it. Maybe you will change your mind. I’m not so bad at math and science as it turns out.