Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Are You a Thinker or Just Simply Memorizing?

“How do you know when you are thinking?” 

This is a question asked by one of my facilitator during a recent course I attended in Malacca. My answer to that question was simple, I said “ I think all the time” with pride and confidence. And to my surprise, the facilitator replied to me with a “Wrong and let me tell you why you are wrong”.

He then proposed to me to answer 3 simple mathematical questions as an example. First he asked “ What is 5 +5 and 40-20 respectively?” and I answered it correctly since it is a simple question. Then he asked “What about 34 x 4532?”. I was stunned for a moment and thought I needed some time to do the calculation in my head. Then he stopped me right there and said “ Now you are thinking, for 2 seconds!”.

I was dumbfounded and he explained the meaning of the scenario. The previous questions were regarded as simple due to many encounters we had with the same mathematical questions. As a result, it was stored in our memory which will allow us to give an instantaneous reply with a correct answer without the need to think critically. However, the latter question posed a challenge to us and needed our brain to compute the calculation in order to provide the correct answer.

It is true that sometimes we take the word “thinking” for granted and do not understand the real meaning and importance of practicing it.