Adonis Diaries

It’s Attitude, not ability: Doing math, physics, chemistry, experimentation…

Posted on: September 10, 2012

It is Attitude, not ability: Doing math, physics, chemistry…

The proper attitude is to persist in solving a problem.

It doesn’t matter how difficult or complex is a problem: The more you try solving and figuring out various perspectives to tackling the difficulty, angles, and methods…the closer you are in resolving the problem.

With focus and perseverance, acquired in childhood, you reach this critical instant of eureka “Yah! I get it”

I recall that I never had the patience to sit down and solve math or physics exercises and problems. The easy exercises bored me and the difficult problems didn’t receive much focus and attention and energy to try harder: I would jump to the solution section if available…

Sure I understood the concepts and how to proceed, but what counted is exam time were the limited time, the patience to go on …

If your attitude was lousy during the entire semester, it isn’t going to change and make any difference at exam sessions: You are frantic, out of patience, and your mind wants to fly away and give up quickly on challenging problems…

I recall taking relativity and quantum mechanics courses. There were not books available for solutions of problems.  What I could find were books on the history and philosophy of the materials.  I would thoroughly read all these voluminous books, but the main question remained: “Can you solve the problems in the allotted time at exam sessions?

Maybe if I located solving manuals for exercises and problems I might have barely passed these courses from the first time. With this attitude of mine, I would have never been a mathematician or an efficient physicist…

Now, if you give me a 100-item questionnaire to fill, you can bet that no less than 20 questions would be left blank. And if I am required to fill every single question, the blank spaces would shine with utter cynicism and blunt falsehood

In cultures that pragmatically place the highest emphasis on effort and hard work, people are best in solving math problems...

Pragmatic cultures means to actually do and finish any task handed to you, whether you like the task or not…

And the reward? To be recognized by the community as a hard-working members you can be counted on to pursue difficult tasks and responsibilities…

No one who can rise before dawn, 360 days a year, can fail to make his family rich…” This is an idiom in south China around the Pearl River Delta of rice paddies…

These Far Asian cultures are renown for answering every question in lengthy questionnaire. Kind of if you want to know the details of an individual, all you have to do is to provide him with a questionnaire…

Math proficiency in Far Asian culture is high, in spite of lower IQ scores and other aptitude tests. But again, IQ tests are biased by western culture and idiosyncratic mentality

I recall a few of my cousins who were bright in math and in any course they have taken, even history, geography, literature…They would sit down for hours, strong with a pen, a notebook and a ruler…and solve every exercise and problem at the end of every chapter…and every manual with exercises and problems…

I know they could solve the hardest of math or physics problems, but they built this attitude of resolving every minor and simple exercises, as meticulously and clearly as any other harder problem…

You built-in the attitude and let ability and talent follow you throughout your life, and gathering and reaping success and awards on the way…

The Knowledge Is Power program (KIPP Academy) in the south Bronx believes that sustained learning, even in summer time, is the best responses to increasing students’ proficiency in any topic as the new scholar year starts.

School starts at 7.55 am and ends at 5 pm and extends till 7 pm for students engaged in theater, orchestra…

Every day, students have to attend a 90-minutes math course, 90 minutes of English, 25 minutes in reflective thinking (taking all the time necessary to solving a problem, and not just math…). The motto is smile, sit up, listen, ask questions, nod and track with your eyes…(SSLANT)

Note: Topic was inspired by a chapter in one of Malcolm Gladwell books

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September 2012

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