Most job postings nowadays require skill sets related to problem-solving, making it a sought-after ability that job candidates love to put in their resumes. Finding solutions is where the big money is.
Yet we design our lives in a way that is counterintuitive to problem solving.
We are always in production mode, always working, available and doing something. Our mental resources are depleted most of the time, making us ineffective in solving problems.
In the late 1700s, Europeans thought tomatoes were poisonous. Aristocrats got sick and died after eating them. It was later discovered that the pewter plates used by wealthy Europeans were high in lead content. The high acidity of tomatoes would leach lead from the plate, resulting in death from lead poisoning.
In 1597, the tomato was classified as deadly nightshade where the whole plant was toxic. This view prevailed in Britain and the British North American colonies for over 200 years.
Math is often seen as something you get or you don't. Most of us sit in class feeling like we don't. The fault is not with the subject itself but rather with the way we teach it. Mathematician Paul Lockhart wrote a 25-page essay titled "A Mathematician's Lament", wherein he states that students who feel that their mathematics classes are boring are right.
The true nature of math is art. Unfortunately, we wrongly teach it in a way that would just as easily ruin any other art.
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