INTELLIGENCE AND THINKING
The belief that intelligence and thinking are the same has led to two unfortunate conclusions in education:
1. That nothing needs to be done for students with a high intelligence because they will automatically be good thinkers.
2. That nothing can be done for students without a high intelligence because they cannot ever be good thinkers.
The relationship between intelligence and thinking is like that between a car and the driver of that car. A powerful car may be driven badly. A less powerful car may be driven well. The power of the car is the potential of the car just as intelligence is the potential of the mind. The skill of the car driver determines how the power of the car is used. The skill of the thinker determines how intelligence is used.
I have often defined thinking as: 'the operating skill with which intelligence acts upon experience'.
Many highly intelligent people often take up a view on a subject and then use their intelligence to defend that view. Since they can defend the view very well they never see any need to explore the subject or listen to alternative views. This is poor thinking and is part of the intelligence trap'.
(Source: Edward de Bono Teach your Child How to Think)
Dealing with Stressful People
1. Keep your cool.
2. Never threaten. The other side will believe you are much more powerful that you really are.
3. Give them a graceful out. Even though you may prevail, let them believe you didn’t get everything you wanted.
(From The Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler)
Steps to happiness
Developing relationships with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours will enrich your life and bring you support
Sports, hobbies such as gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make you feel good and maintain mobility and fitness
Noting the beauty of everyday moments as well as the unusual and reflecting on them helps you to appreciate what matters to you
Fixing a bike, learning an instrument, cooking – the challenge and satisfaction brings fun and confidence
Helping friends and strangers links your happiness to a wider community and is very rewarding
(Source: Foresight, the government think-tank, its Mental Capital and Wellbeing report Oct. 2008)
INTELLIGENCE AND THINKING (Cont)
… one thinker sees the situation and instantly judges it. Another thinker sees the situation, then proceeds to explore the situation and only then proceeds to judge it. The highly intelligent person may carry out the 'seeing' and 'judging' very well indeed, but if the 'exploring' is absent that is bad thinking.
Highly intelligent people are usually good at solving puzzles or problems where all the pieces are given. They are less good at situations which require them to find the pieces and to assess the value of the pieces.
Finally there can be an ego problem. Highly intelligent people do like to be right. This may mean that they spend their time attacking and criticizing others — since it is so easy to prove the others wrong. It also may mean that highly intelligent people are unwilling to take speculative risks because they cannot then be sure they are right.
There is, of course, nothing to prevent highly intelligent people also being excellent thinkers. But this does not follow automatically There is need to develop the skill of thinking.
(Source: Edward de Bono Teach your Child How to Think)
Checking General Well-being
(From a Times article)
- Do I gossip or talk negatively about others, and I do I take personally what others say about me?
- Do I have a circle of friends/family who love and appreciate me for who I am, not just for what I do?
- Is there is no one I would dread meeting or feel uncomfortable encountering at a party, an airport terminal or on the street?
- Do I have a best friend or soulmate with whom I can share confidences and intimate thoughts, and do I regularly tell my parents, siblings, children and spouse/significant other that I love them?
- Do I almost always put people first and results second?
- Am I a person of my word so others can count on me to mean what I say?
- Rather than complaining, do I make requests of others so they know how they can help me?
- Do I get along well with my coworkers, clients and staff?
- Do I return telephone calls and e-mails within 24 hours?
- Do I inappropriately express anger or rage towards others?
The implication that many of us are genetically predestined for failure and that entire racial groups are inherently superior to others sounds poisonous. What has kept such views going is science. Major studies seemed to support them.
“I wish I could exempt myself,” said Richard Nisbett, author of the new book Intelligence and How to Get It, “but unfortunately for many years I bought the claims of the hereditarians that family environments don’t matter much.
“Such thinking is extremely unfortunate, because it implies that hard work can produce little in the way of improvement. Fortunately, it is now becoming clear that that this view is quite wrong.”
Nisbett’s is a message of hope. He believes that, far from having their IQs determined at the moment of conception, people’s potential intelligence is almost infinitely flexible.
For parents this means no child is doomed to repeat their failures. For schools it means no child should be written off – the right environment will not just teach them facts but also make them brighter.
And for society it means the low achievements of some social groups are most likely cultural in origin, not genetic – so we can change them.
(Source: John-Paul Flintoff and Jonathan Leake The Sunday Times May 17, 2009)
When I was three years old my father passed away, leaving my mother alone to teach four boys how to grow and live and love. It wasn't easy for her at all; she worked twelve hour shifts as a teacher who taught night school. But somehow she managed to pull it off. She would come home late, fix us dinner, listen to our stories, and put us all to bed before she had any time to herself. We never thought much of it at the time, but it's obvious now that we were her life. I remember asking her about it, why she made so many sacrifices for us, and her answer was amazing. "Your success will be my greatest achievement."
From that day on my attitude and actions changed. I had the strength and the courage to deal with problems instead of turning away. I wanted to push myself to new heights and racing towards this challenge was the answer. She came to every competition and was always the first person at the finish line and the last person to leave. I can still hear those words that changed my life. Her goal was to give us a leg up and the opportunity to do great things, my ambition is to take that opportunity and run with it.
How to be an Intellectual
The first rule of intellectualism is: 'If you do not have much to say, make it as complex as possible.' A true intellectual has as deep a fear of simplicity as a farmer has of droughts. If there is no complexity, what is there to work with or write about?
I have on occasion talked to audiences of educators who have more or less said: 'Please make your talk complicated enough for us to be impressed — but then it could be too complicated to be practical.'
There is no end to the complexity of descriptions. You could divide a simple pencil into ten parts if you wished and then proceed to describe all ten parts and the relationship of the parts. Once you have a handful of concepts you can choreograph the most complex of dances. There is no limit to the word games that can be played with words.
You comment on the complexity of others and also on the comments of commentators. And so the process feeds upon itself. Quite soon comment becomes more important than creativity and we esteem this as 'scholarship'.
Some people find this process unattractive and unnecessary. This is particularly true of those who are interested in practical outcomes. They come to equate 'intellectualism' with 'thinking' and get turned off thinking as a result. That is a pity.
You can be a thinker without being an intellectual. Indeed many intellectuals are not particularly good thinkers.
(Edward de Bono Teach your Child How to Think)
The Decline in Intelligence
The reasons for the decline in intelligence are many but they can be summarised under one head: lack of use of large parts of the brain. It has been a continuing process for well over a century but is now rapidly accelerating. The biggest area of disuse and so of decline is memory. This has been particularly noticeable in my own lifetime. My mother knew by heart tens of thousands of lines of poetry and stories, as well as immense stores of exact information, to recover which I would now have to consult works of reference. I myself know huge chunks of poetry by heart. My children know only a few lines, my grandchildren will know none. When I was at Oxford it was still possible to find people with phenomenal memories. The most gifted of my contemporaries, David Carritt, had a visual memory of European old master paintings which was staggering in its range and exactitude, to which he added all the time, and which later enabled him to establish an unrivalled reputation for identifying lost masterpieces.
(Source: Paul Johnson in the Spectator July 1st 2000)