You can find information and knowledge on just about any subject in the world. Just Google it. Have a math problem? There are online calculators at the click of a mouse. Need a chemical formula? No problem. Design a room for best sound quality? It’s a few clicks of the mouse away.
With a bit of time and persistence, the knowledge of the world is at our fingertips.
What the immense resources of our connected world bring to the party is only going to become more easily accessed over time. What’s not available online, however, is the ability to think.
Critical thinking skills seem to be rather scarce these days. And, that’s a shame because even with all the resources on the planet if one doesn’t know how to use reason and logic to solve a problem, we’ll never get to where we want to go.
Take for example the skill required to source and set up a high end audio system. Because each environment is so different it becomes necessary to not only have the knowledge needed to cobble the right separates and interconnects together, but the ability to think about how to best optimize the system within the room.
Understanding the why of how things work is the first step to thinking through a problem.
Or, take as another example an engineer. When we hire engineers and programmers we evaluate them more on their ability to think as opposed to the knowledge in their heads. Knowledge can be added or easily Googled. Thinking is a learned skill that some have invested in while most have not.
I won’t get into a rant about the state of our school systems with respect to the teaching (or lack thereof) of critical thinking skills. I get that the education machine struggles with just teaching the basics of maths, language, and history.
If you have a choice, go for the assets that have developed thinking rather than simply spewing information.
Information is easy. Solving problems is where the fun is.