The right questions are at the heart of discovery. And one of the very first questions you should be asking yourself is “What assumptions can I challenge?”
The mere act of trying to discover what assumptions you and others are making can give you a new perspective on the challenge you're facing.
Go beyond the basic features being asked for and get to the heart of the problem.
Ask questions like: Who cares about this problem? Why is it important to them?
If there are no good answers to these questions, is the problem even worth working on?
After you come up with a solution to your problem, take a close look at it.
Which pieces could be split into separate modules or components? Can any of those components provide value independently? If not, can any be tweaked so that they do provide independent value?
After spending time researching your problem, you’ll probably find yourself also thinking about it in your spare time.
This is when all the different pieces you’ve been studying for so long can suddenly click together in a new way, giving you fresh insight.
Think about what would make a good MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for your problem.
Get creative in what you consider an MVP. Maybe showing random strangers at Starbucks a napkin drawing of your app’s layout would be good enough for example.
Shoshin is the Japanese Zen term for a "beginner's mind' and refers to a paradox: The more knowledge you have on a subject, the more likely you are to close your mind to further learning.
Intellectually humble people know more because they are open to new information and more willing to be receptive to other people's perspectives.
Approaching issues with a beginner's mind or intellectual humility can help you become more knowledgeable, less overconfident, and more willing to engage with others.
Most of us overestimate our understanding of various subjects, known as the 'illusions of explanatory depth.' When you make an effort to explain a relevant issue or topic to yourself or someone else in detail, it will reveal the gaps in your knowledge and expose the illusion of expertise.
This exercise can be simplified by spending a few seconds reflecting on your ability to explain a given issue to a real expert in a step-by-step manner.
Confirmation bias is a major hurdle to being open-minded: We seek information supporting our current views and beliefs.
We can overcome this bias by being aware of it. We can take steps to work against it by actively pursuing information and perspectives that contradict our current position.
If we see intelligence and aptitudes as pliable rather than fixed, we can learn better.
A series of studies showed that intellectually humble people also tended to have a growth mindset. If you see intelligence as something you can develop, then finding holes in your knowledge opens up new opportunities for education.
Deliberately invoking the emotion of awe quietens the ego. It also creates a greater willingness to look at things differently while recognizing the gaps in one's knowledge.
Invoking the emotions of awe and wonder, such as looking at the aurora borealis, also reduces the need to be satisfied by closed arguments.
In the 1970s, social scientists coined the term "credentialism". It is an ideology that puts formal education credentials above other ways of understanding human potential and ability.
Credentialism is again entering the higher education debate as academics and the wider public try to make sense of the current university system.
While these issues are important to debate, they ignore the fundamental value of credentials in the workplace.
The concept of credentialism can be a type of class prejudice.
We need to ensure that university is more than a rite of passage coming together in a piece of paper. It is the role of the academic profession and higher education institutions to shape worthwhile learning. However, higher education is vulnerable to abuse without regulation, such as buying fake nursing degrees that can lead to tragic outcomes. A formal qualification should be a representation of something more important.
Worry is defined as a negative thinking pattern about unresolved and fearsome issues that could have serious consequences.
In life, we all have problems. But sometimes, when we are trying to use our energy to focus on solving these problems, we direct our energy to worry.
Research shows that when asked why people worry, many say it's because they are trying to solve problems. Another study found that people believe worry is necessary to find the best solutions.
Recognising the difference and moving away from worry can help to solve your problems efficiently.
Just thinking about our problem can make us feel anxious.
It causes us to worry about the issue instead of focusing on the problem objectively. Worry also feels productive. But mulling over possible outcomes (mostly the bad ones) won't get us anywhere.
While anxiety is normal when you first identify a threat, it's not helpful when you're trying to solve a problem.
If you answered yes to these questions, you might be worrying.
There is no such thing as "good worry". Instead of worrying, try to do the following:
During studies, how we revise what we have learned is a personal preference, which we incorporate after trial and error and what feels intuitive or effective to us.
According to research, the popular revising methods like rereading, highlighting and summarizing don’t seem to work as effectively as previously thought.
Active recall and self-questioning (Quiz Mode), which trains the brain to fetch information, are the best way to retain the study material and form connections.
Learning and memory benefit from active involvement. When you add speaking to it, the content becomes more defined in long-term memory and more memorable.
Most of us can type very fast, but research shows writing your notes by hand will allow you to learn more.
Taking notes by hand enhances both comprehension and retention.
Studying over a period of time is more effective than waiting until the last minute.
Distributed practice works because each time you try to remember something, the memory becomes harder to forget.
Regularly testing yourself will speed up learning. When you test yourself and answer incorrectly, you are more likely to recall the right answer after you look it up. You will also remember that you didn't remember.
Repeating anything over and over might not be the best way to master that task. If you practice a slightly different version, you will learn more and faster. For example, if you want to master a new presentation:
According to research, regular exercise can improve memory recall.
Exercise also increases a protein (BDNF - brain-derived neurotrophic factor) that supports the function, growth, and survival of brain cells.
When you sleep, most of the consolidation process occurs.
In contrast, sleep deprivation can affect your ability to commit new data to memory and consolidate any short-term memories.
Interleaving - studying related concepts or skills in parallel - improves your brain's ability to differentiate between concepts or skills. It helps you to really learn and gain an understanding at a deeper level.
Instead of focusing on one subject during a learning session, learn several subjects or skills in succession.
Research shows that those who teach, speed up their learning and remember more.
Even just preparing to teach means that you will seek out key points and organize information into a coherent structure.
When you have to learn something new, try to associate it with something you are already familiar with. Then you only have to learn where it differs. You'll also be able to apply greater context, which will help with memory storage and retrieval.
Regardless of which reading method you use, the evidence points towards the fact that speed comes at the sacrifice of understanding.
Depending on what you’re reading, this might not necessarily be a bad thing: If you’re trying to get through a dry piece to capture a few key points or you are going through a short piece that’s easy to understand, speed reading strategies might make sense.
Combining paper and digital tools for personal organization and productivity. You need:
We often think that we need to have talent and confidence before we can accomplish something.
In reality, talent is often overrated. It is small accomplishments that lead to confidence.
People with a fixed mindset think intelligence, character, and creative potential are unchangeable attributes that come from birth. They also assume that success is the result of this inherent talent. They tend to avoid failure to avoid looking fallible.
People with a growth mindset do not look at failure as a reflection of their ability, but rather as a starting point for testing ideas.
Research shows that praising a child for their intelligence can be detrimental as they face obstacles differently. Instead, praise your child for their effort.
When you believe in innate ability, then you feel you have to prove yourself over and over. Any sort of difficulty creates a desire to give up to keep your "smart" persona intact.
Talent truly matters in two ways:
The key to developing a growth mindset is to "fake it until you make it." It results in small wins, which will lead to real confidence.
Start with focusing on small wins by changing your habits. Make daily "micro quotas" such as 10 minutes of working out a day. Once your habit is established, scale it. Over time, this creates a growth mindset - a passion for learning instead of a need for approval.
Good and effective things are helpful at one level but when taken too far, can be destructive.
In 1946, Sir Alexander Fleming, a renowned microbiologist, stated that antibiotics (like penicillin) were so effective that it will be abused by the masses, resulting in bacteria mutating and becoming drug-resistant. His prophecy came true, and this new, mutated bacteria is a reality.
One has to take a firm stand on their views to make concrete decisions.