Pretend to be smart

    The best way to learn something is to teach another.

    January has come, students begin to take exams. And often the most difficult exam is mathematics. My good friend asked me: “What is the Lagrange theorem, how to prove and understand it?”

    I know the definition and proof of this theorem, but I could understand it only after explaining it to a friend.

    And I remembered that this happens all the time. Best of all, I play chess when I say aloud what is happening on the board (I play on the Internet), I write code best when I explain to myself out loud what I want and how to get it. And I understand the material from the lectures when I explain it to others.

    We always give good advice, but like Alice in Wonderland, we follow them infrequently. This happens because we are in a hurry, we have created patterns of behavior for ourselves, and we don’t think about what we are doing.

    Sometimes I come up with puzzles, and try to solve them. For example, one of them:
    You are given a text file in which several thousand characters are written after the decimal point pi. One sign in a random place is wrong, how to find the position of this sign with the least expenditure of effort, time or money?

    Think about how to solve this problem? How would a smart person solve this problem?

    How would this task be an intelligent person? I reason like this:
    I know programming, and I can write a program that will compare character by character with the “correct line” that can be taken on the Internet. But how would a person solve this problem without programming knowledge?

    • You can compare the signs manually, but a large proportion of the error, and too much work.
    • You can try to find and modify the script on the Internet to solve this problem. But there is a risk of error, and there is no certainty that this will work out quickly.
    • You can hire a freelance person to write this program. I do not think that it will cost more than 500 rubles.
    • You can ask a friend programmer to write this program, and if there are none, find senior students of technical universities, and ask them.
    • You can write on the forum of programmers a request to help with this task and, most likely, they will give you a solution, or maybe an answer.
    • You can also manually check the first 50-100 characters so as not to be a fool. The probability is small, but not so much energy will be spent on this and there is a chance to immediately get rid of the problem.

    With these chains of reasoning, I try to come up with the best option in the general case. But I did not apply this algorithm to life tasks! Tasks from life are better than fictional tasks: they are real, and you can test your solution in practice.

    The problem is that I do not argue “as an intelligent person”, I do not explain to anyone how I am going to solve this problem, and this makes me autonomous, template. Most often, I don’t even think about how I will solve this problem, but just start to do something. And this is not always good.

    Theodore Roosevelt had a portrait of Lincoln on the wall. And when a difficult task arose, Roosevelt looked at the portrait and asked himself: “What would Lincoln do in this situation? How would he solve this problem? ”(From a book by Dale Carnegie)

    And this is a really good way to find a solution to a problem: imagine how an intelligent person would solve this problem.

    According to statistics, more than half of people consider themselves smarter than the average person, but hardly anyone considers themselves the smartest person. Everyone can imagine that his problems can be solved in the best way, as a more intelligent person would solve them in your own circumstances.

    I do not want to leave this article as another argument, a simple set of thoughts, so I will write several ways that can help you solve problems, find motivation and overcome laziness.


    • Start thinking out loud, it’s more useful than it might seem at first glance. Comment on what you need to do and how to do it best. Perhaps your first monologue will resemble mine:

    So, you need to prepare for exams. I do not have several lectures on which there will be questions. I need to ask a classmate to photograph these lectures, then I can prepare on these topics. Open the browser, bookmarks, oh, new release. What if? great! Likely the new xkcd has also come out, you have to look ...

    But because of scoring out loud, you will quickly notice that you are doing the wrong thing. In silence, you can spend hours on the Internet, but if you say “I open another entertainment site”, you feel uneasy.

    • Find a listener. When I come to a friend to help him with programming, I can’t check my mail, start reading an interesting, but unnecessary article for me now, and generally be distracted in any way. He just looks with a raised eyebrow: “What are you doing?”

    Surely you can find a friend, meet him in an Internet cafe and agree to explain to each other what you are doing, how to do it better, and not let each other get distracted. Of course, the problem remains that you can be distracted by each other.

    There was an article on the hub: how a man hired a girl to hit him in the face every time he logs on to social networks. The option with a friend is better in that you help each other, you do not need to pay him, and his hand may be heavier :)

    • This method is difficult to decide, because it is strange. But I consider it the most effective. Set yourself an exact goal for the next half hour ( tomato method ), turn on the video on your smartphone (or video camera) and start working, explaining at the same time what you are doing. Then send this record to your friend, whose opinion you value, and do not want to spoil yourself in his eyes. It should not be the friend who laughs and approves when you throw up your hands in the video with the words "To hell!"

    Thus, you can do something without a person near you, you can choose a convenient time for you. And a friend can easily view your recording at x4 speed. This is enough to understand whether you worked or not.

    • Write a lesson on your topic, if possible. The best way to deal with theorems in mathematics is to write a short lesson about what the theorem is, why it is needed, where it came from and how to prove it. The lesson does not have to be published, but it will not get worse .

    This method is not suitable for all tasks. You can hardly write a lesson on the topic “how to finally remove all the trash from the balcony”, but this method really organizes the knowledge in your head. You cannot teach that which you do not understand.

    • Ask people how you can solve your problem. Do not be afraid to ask questions, even if you are very smart, people always have a different life experience and mindset, a different opinion, and it is always useful to look at your task with more than one point of view. Even with a good one like yours.


    Our brain does not like to think. He creates patterns of behavior, stereotypes, verbal cliches and tries to reduce everything to proven algorithms. And almost always this is good. We do not need to think about how to rearrange our legs, how to brush our teeth or drive a car.

    But many problems can be solved in another way, the optimal one, which you can think of, but you don’t even start to think. And then it’s worth asking the question: “How would an intelligent person solve this problem?”, Pretend to be an intelligent person and solve it.

    The scope of this method is much wider than solving problems for work. Sometimes it’s worth stopping and thinking out loud: how would a smart person find a way to go to bed on time? What would a smart person do in order not to quarrel with a loved one?

    A few puzzles in the end

    How would an intelligent person solve these problems in the least costly ways?
    1. How to split a selected window? You can temporarily forget about problems with the law, with residents, and more. The owners of the apartment do not want to let you in.

    2. How to shake hands with the President of the United States of America Barack Obama? (Barack Obama and the hand to shake in the photo)
    Thank you all for your comments, is it so certain?

    3. How specifically do you become a happier, contented life?

    I especially advise you to think about the last question. What will an intelligent person advise you on what to start or stop?

    It will be interesting to read in the comments possible solutions to these problems and the comments of the Habra users to them. I am sure that for my task with finding the wrong number in the number pi, there is also a simpler solution.

    Please write about any errors in the text in private messages.

    UPDATE :
    I didn’t think that people were such “bores” on the hub Of course, Barack Obama means the president of the United States. Otherwise, one could say “let's call the number 1.11111 ... the number pi, then it’s quite easy to find a different sign ...”

    These are fictitious tasks, they are given to give interesting solutions, and not to recline them.

    Also popular now: