In creating wealth, we must not only learn to till the ground but more importantly, learn to till the mind till we are able to exploit its rich resources in the form of creative ideas. The primary human inert ability and capacity to read and reason is the principal reason why men have risen themselves to the top.
The skills of living successfully today are acquired through knowledge, and man’s foremost quality is his faculty of thinking. Man is a living soul living in a body. Knowledge, thinking and rational action are good human qualities and since the choice to exercise this faculty rests with each of us, societal survivor requires that those who think, be free to do so without interference from those who don’t.
Thinking is the core of our being. It is what differentiates us from all other creatures. If some individuals choose not to think, they can only survive by imitating and repeating a routine line of work devised by more creative and resourceful men. Every man or woman is free to rise as far as he or she is able or willing to, but it’s only the degree to which a person thinks that will determine the degree to which he or she will rise. The deeper thinker you are, the more rigorous your thinking is. And the more you exercise and challenge your mind, the deeper your understanding can be. You can only impact your life to the extent that you have the capacity for deep thoughts. According to the Bible, deep calleth onto the deep.
Claire Luce, wife of Henry Robinson Luce, the renowned co-founder of what is known globally today as Time and Fortune Magazines, one of the most successful publishing empires in history, really had something unique about her that signifies power. Reporters observed that Claire always drew a full house whenever she spoke. She was the phrasemaker and quick with rejoinders. A representative from Minnesota in the United States on the floor of the House once said that she had a “masculine mind” hoping to complement her. Claire’s response was swift: “I thank the gentleman from Minnesota. But I must refuse a compliment which he has so graciously paid me. Thought has no sex. One either thinks, or one does not think.” Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Corporation once remarked that “thinking is the hardest job in the world which is why so few people engage in it.”
Your intellect as an individual is based on original deep thinking. Yes, there is an element of originality in deep thinking! When you think deeply, you travel intellectual territory that no one else will travel in quite the same way and you acquire unique intellect to offer those around you. You are a distinctive individual because your intellect influences your individuality. To the person who understands the incredible innate human potential, this is an inspiring fact to imagine.
What therefore is thinking? Thinking is the engine that drives the human faculty of engineering, of sciences, business communication, arts, et cetera. The word faculty simply implies the powers of the mind and its capacity to think and form opinions. Man’s faculty is his foremost facility or asset to facilitate his upward mobility in life. Scientific studies have revealed now and again that human beings only utilise about 10% or less of the brain resources even when they think they are thinking fully. The other 90% or more is left as a reserve. We all yearn to be smarter because we know deep within us how important it is to our success and growth. As a man thinketh in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23: 7)
A person should learn how to think because there is money to be made in it. Thinking makes us who we are. It is our capacity to read, reason and to dream that adds meaning to life which makes it more than a mere collection of days. Also, it is an unwritten social obligation we should all master otherwise we won’t exist. You have a brain; shouldn’t you use it? Like any other human skill, our thinking can be taught and improved upon. The ability to analyse is basic to this, revolving around the question; why? Note: Asking questions is not in any way sign of ignorance but of intelligence. Like Anthony Robbins would often say, “Questions are the answers.”
Analysis requires a high degree of mental organisation, which can be improved upon with practice. Mental ability matters greatly in today’s world, especially in business and our professional proficiency. Undergo training through a process that impacts positively and vividly on the performance of practical tasks and responsibilities.
However, racism is the race against rationality. This is the subconscious belief that some races of people are superior to others rationally or intellectually. The fight for racial equality in today’s globalised knowledge economy will only become possible with equal or better rationality. Take the case of Dr Philip Emeagwali, U.S.-based Nigerian born supercomputer scientist and father of the dot.com (internet age) and referred to as the Bill Gates of Africa by the former US President Bill Clinton in his 1999 visit to Nigeria. He was voted the smartest mind alive by a consortium of some British organisations and also acknowledged as the world’s best in the United States.
But like a brick wall, racism impeded his way but not his strong desire, determination and persistence to make somebody important out of himself. Starting off in May 1975, Emegwali commenced a 15-year study and research project (at Oregon State University in the United States), that led to the prestigious Gordon Bell Prize Award in 1989, the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in the computing industry. Working silently and most times alone, Emegwali invented processes that helped to make computers work faster and carry out much more difficult and complex tasks. He came into limelight when he developed a formula that used 65,000 separate computer processors to perform 3.1 billion calculations per seconds.
Eye on the Future
While in school, he had an eye on the future. He knew US research organisations preferred to employ a white scientist but the only way he could get a job opportunity at all, was to be several times better than the otherwise best applicant. But he was to be disappointed, and spent months without a job offer. At the time, he even slept in the streets of Washington DC.
“I originally applied to work for the Cray Super Computer (a U.S.-based research organisation) which would cost about $30 million each. The Cray account was issued to me by email but was later revoked when I went to get the password myself since the white individuals who applied for the account were automatically given the account while I was denied it after several attempts. It appeared to me I was being discriminated against because the white manager was prejudiced and believed that the black man lacked the intellectual capacity to program supercomputers.”
Among many problems he had been able to resolve scientifically is developing an unusual method for programming computers with thousands of microprocessors that will enable oil companies to recover more crude oil from the oil fields.
“At the time, the argument was we shouldn’t build computers that way because who can programme them? I answered by successfully programming them,” Emegwali said, during an interview with CNN.
Your degree of ignorance will determine your placement in society. Though each of us is born ignorant and must live for a certain time in ignorance, those who choose to live and remain in ignorance will have themselves to blame.
The person who is truly able to learn is the absolute master of his or her own life. Leaders in every field of human endeavour from skilled organise label to today’s business leaders and scientists, all have this ability in common: they are able to think with greater speed, accuracy and simple sense than those around them. In the final analysis, it is mental ability that pays off on most jobs.
Jude Ndu is a human capital development expert