20 Mar 2011

Thinking - A learnable skill

I know I am going to catch some flack from the Captain for this… (^_^)

Some years ago, I started a BSc (Hons) in ICT. After all, I had been in the IT field for nearly 12 years. I thought that I’d ‘formalise’ my knowledge and get some ‘higher’ paperwork to go along with my experience. Eventually I opted out. The reasons for this are twofold:

  1. As part of my degree I had to work in a group. I was the only mature student in my group. The others were on average about 20 to 21 years old and fresh out of high school. Their core education was sadly lacking. I will link you back to a previous post to show you the level of work that the group submitted. My contribution to this assignment was three pages long and was one fifth of the assignment. That was completely deleted by the person compiling the assignment. My response to this was literally tears when I saw this submission.  I resubmitted the entire assignment, all five parts - within 24 hours, and obtained 78% grade. The frustration I experienced prompted me to switch degrees. I approached my tutor and told him in no uncertain terms that "I was not carrying monkeys on my back" during the course of my degree, since I felt strongly that any work of a higher level submitted would be mine and that the others would be earning passing grades on my work. Additionally, any work of a lower standard than mine would drag my own grades down.

  2. The Captain had sent me a test designed by Harvard University which was supposed to measure what career is best suited for an individual - or something like that. I was a bit shocked that - despite being in engineering (electrical and electronic) and IT for approximately 23 years - I actually scored lowest in these fields, barely over 20%. I scored roughly around 50% in terms of being a journalist/writer/medicine. And a whopping 86% in law.

    Now the Captain has been after me to study law for approximately 3 years. As he put it, I am "more legally minded at my age than he was at the same age." It took him around two years to persuade me, which I know personally frustrates him to no end. He claims I have "a two-year turnaround time", which does have some basis in truth. I can personally attest to the fact that, when readers think the Capt is being unduly harsh on me on this blog, he is actually moulding my untrained mind. Hard as it is!

    For those who do not know me personally, I am now entered in my second year of a part-time law degree (with an 82% average on my assignments). Mainly thanks to the Captain, who is like an irritating leech on my arse. And despite the many arguments online, I am indeed grateful to the Captain. And yes, I have thanked him time and time again.

Darn it! After writing all the background, I forgot why I started writing this post!

I remember now… Since starting my law degree, my reading material has changed considerably. I find that I am hardly interested in pulp fiction, or my old reading materials (which was extremely wide ranging). I am a lot more interested in self-development and critical thinking materials. I freely admit that I am a novice.

The Captain has surely been here before, but I have only recently discovered Edward de Bono, cited as one of the foremost thinkers in the world. He is the originator of the term lateral thinking and promotes creative thinking. I am currently reading "Think!: Before it is too late".

I have yet to read the entire book but I did come across something that blew my mind. De Bono stated that perception may perhaps be more important than logic. He also said that humour is far more significant than reason. As yet, I am not entirely sure what he means. This will take some digesting but perhaps an illustration may help:

A 90-year-old man dies and goes to hell. Wandering around, he meets a friend of similar age, sitting with a very attractive young woman on his knee.

"Are you sure that this is hell?", he asked. "You seem to be having a very good time."

The friend replies, "It sure is. I am her punishment."

In this illustration, the change in perception and humour cause a change in thinking… And we're able to see the logic presented.

I shall continue to explore this.