Thinking you’re thinking, or really thinking?
by B. Barker
Often when you think your thinking hard, your really thinking so hard about thinking thats there’s no time for real thought. There is another type of pseudo-thinking too, which is relaxing your brain and waiting until you recognise something.
Let’s use University Challenge questions as examples as they are quite a nice judge of intelligence. It takes the two aspects that I see as key for intelligence, problem solving and breath of knowledge. If you just rely on breath of knowledge then you’ll answer a certain amount of questions, but if you can problem solve then your chances increase dramatically. Heres an example question handled the two ways.
Which 19th century french painter, famed for his involvement in the impressionist movement painted Wheatstacks?
A lazy thought process only hears, who painted Wheatstacks? Then makes that the core of the question and you either know who painted it or you don’t.
A harder working thought process sees the name of the painting as only a fraction of the question. It uses each element of the question as a filter (french, 1800s, impressionist), by the time you arrive at the name of the painting, you would have filtered it down to two or three options. Of course knowledge is important, but hard work is even more important.
Most of my life has been spent surrounded by much cleverer people, with me waddling around mushy-brained and damp-eyed, unable to communicate beyond rudimentary grunts. What I’ve been able to divine from that vantage point is that intelligence is about lots of little moments of hard work, to connect a couple of disparate elements or see an un-obvious explanation. So don’t think you aren’t clever, just stop thinking you’re thinking and start using your brain.