Proof of Brain? The Lost Art of Working Shit Out on Your Own!

4 Min Read
814 words

I find it interesting how many people seem utterly unable *(or unwilling?) to deal with even the simplest things — the smallest of difficulties — without resorting to a cry for help.

Whatever happened to self-reliance?

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Have we just gotten so lazy that we determine that it is easier to ask someone else to do our chores, as opposed to doing them, ourselves? Or are we no longer thinking for ourselves?

Just Figure it Out!

I guess I was just brought up with the "figure it out on your own" school of thought, and my parents had pretty much zero time — or tolerance — for me running to them with questions I could easily work out the answer to.

As a result I learned to think for myself, pretty much out of necessity... there would be no answers unless I worked them out by myself, or at least was able to bring my parents "proof of reasonable attempt" to work things out first, alone.

On one hand, I am grateful to my parents for forcing me to think. That's definitely an upside!

The downside is that I never really learned how to ask for help... when I actually NEEDED it. Which resulted in a pattern of "just not doing" a whole slew of things if I felt unable to work out how to do them by myself.

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A Positive Influence

I was helped a good bit by my elderly aunt Ulla whom I've mentioned a few times over the years... she helped raise me. She'd also lived alone pretty much her entire life after age 50, so she was a true "master" of "how to do a 3-person job when there is only yourself."

To this day, I use many of her ideas when I undertake large and overwhelming tasks. Although most of those tasks were more about physically demanding jobs, she was also a keen thinker who was particularly adept at coming up with ways to do things that weren't exactly "conventional thinking," but they still worked.

She actively paid attention to keeping her mind keen and sharp; on a daily basis doing the most difficult crossword puzzle carried by any of the major Danish newspapers of the time.

I remember watching her do her personal and investment accounting for her taxes and wondering why she wasn't using a calculator, but instead chose to do the calculations on the numbers "long hand." She told me that she "didn't want her mind to go dull" as a result of relying excessively on a machine to do the work for her.

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The Internet Effect?

I wonder, sometimes, whether the Internet has made us smarter or dumber.

These days, "doing research" as often as not means "Googling it," but is that really? research? Or is it simply regurgitating someone else's brief notes from research done in the past, neatly summarized into 3-sentence nuggets?

I remember "research" when I was in college, poring over card catalogs and microfiches. You couldn't just Google "How do do research," you had to learn it as you went along. And there were lots of blind alleys and U-turns.

Don't get me wrong... I'm very grateful for search engines and the wealth of information available online. But you still have to know how to think, in order to be able to drill down to the specifics you're actually looking for!

Thanks for reading, and happy Memorial Day/Remembrance Day!

How about YOU? Are you pretty good at working things out on your own? Or do you prefer to go directly to an online search of "how to?" Do you think the Internet has made us smarter... or dumber? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!

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Created at 20210530 23:45 PDT

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