The 7 Wonders of Wonder
~How Wonder Improves your Life~
Written By: 戴梦 Martina
“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”-Rumi
“Clever, clever girl,” he said walking away, unimpressed. He never liked my cleverness. It won me zero points on the attractive scale, despite my firm conviction that being smart outweighed beauty. However, being clever differs from being a genius, having book intelligence, or having street smarts. Those qualities are actually useful. Clever, for me anyways, means letting the coffee percolate WHILE getting dressed, thinking I’m James Bond. Clever means quick quips, supporting theories with real scientific studies, usually on hair length or the benefits of gum. Clever means knowing whether Kate Middleton is really pregnant and always being right about movie endings, accurately predicting their outcomes. Before they end. After the first scene. Or looking up the best iPhone Apps to use, then downloading those exact Apps and using them. Or knowing words like ubiquitous. Yay! I know that word. And it has never helped me ever.
Notorious Doctor and diagnostician , Dr. Faith Fitzgerald runs a seminar called “Stump the Professor.” Hailed the Sherlock Holmes of Medicine, Dr. Fitzgerald has been called the flesh-in-blood version of TV’s Dr. House. In her seminar, doctors bring challenging cases to her and watch her solve them. On the spot. And in her book Every Patient Has a Story, Lisa Sanders recounts the seminar and how in one case, the infamous Dr. Faith failed to make the proper diagnosis. Embarrassed for her, Sanders asks another attendee, “Aren’t you disappointed that she got it wrong?” The lady replied, “No way. This is about the process—hearing the story and putting it all together.” Even Fitzgerald admitted herself, “Oh I’m wrong a lot…we revel in the process of figuring it all out.”
Shocking. Perhaps being right all the time and being so clever shouldn’t be put on a pedestal. Maybe Rumi was right, maybe we should trade it all in for something else…
The 7 Wonders of Wonder
~Why being bewildered trumps being Right~
1. Experts are actually researchers. People who know the most about a topic border on the brink of knowledge in their field. Once there, they realize how little they actually know. These experts who know they know so little are called researchers. Under researchers reside the professionals, those who can become better and eventually the best, most knowledgeable and most competent at their job. And once you become the top in your field guess what? You still have to educate yourself. And add to your portfolio. Because any vast amount of knowledge is…..vast. And also constantly changing, malleable with every new mind, new study, new discovery; basically unmasterable. Mathematicians go to conferences. Doctors go to mandatory seminars. Teachers go to staff meetings. Wizards go to Magic festivals. Knights go to war. Research, research, research.
2. Imaginations is more important than knowledge. This is the opinion of some people. Namely EINSTEIN. Game over everyone.
3. Questions teach more than teachers. Questions arise from engagement and stem from curiosity, which studies have shown to improve your health, intelligence, social relationships, happiness and meaning in life.
4. The method of solving problems is more important than knowing the right answer. David Suzuki, basically the Science and Recycling god of Canada writes;
Many parents believe they must appear infallible in the eyes of their children. A U.K. survey found that some moms and dads fear questions such as “Why is the sky blue?” and “Why is the moon out during the day?” Math and science queries were the biggest stumpers.
Researchers questioned more than 2,000 parents before The Big Bang U.K. Young Scientists and Engineers Fair. Many respondents admitted to “furtive researching to save face before answering their child.”
There’s no need for that. My area of training as a scientist is genetics. It’s a huge subject and I don’t always know everything going on outside my field. I try to keep up by reading journals like Scientific American. People shouldn’t feel that saying “I don’t know” is admitting weakness. The important thing is to look for answers.
He goes on to explain how not knowing is a perfect opportunity to teach critical thinking skills, how to analyze information and how to gain understanding. I, personally, will not be taking his advise and never ever admit to my kids that I don’t know something. But everyone else, please do as he suggests.
5. And new methods of solving problems are even better than the ‘right’ ones. Wonder makes people creative in their problem solving. Facebook. Airplanes. Cyclone Vacuums. Teddy bears. The Internet. Roller Coasters. Copy and Paste. Perfect examples of people less concerned with the right way to do things, more concerned with wonder. Maybe not the Copy and Paste. That was lazy people, also good at inventing.
6. Wonder has an evolutionary advantage, once encouraging our ancestors to explore and travel. A sense of awe throughout evolution has created a sense of greatness in us that we psychologically want to fulfill. Watch this mind blowing video on Wonder. Literally a lot of minds blow up;
7. Wonders open the mind. Like illegal drugs basically. When you’re in awe, you see things a whole new way. Your mind’s been expanded and it can’t go back. Like Alice who’ll never be the same after visiting Wonderland. According to Forthcoming in Psychological Science “Awe Expands People’s Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being.” Read the full article here.
It’ll always hurt to be wrong. It’ll always be annoying to not know everything. It’ll always be devastating to lose, whether in love or World of Warcraft. Both meriting rivers of spilt tears. Not knowing and being a perpetual debutante at everything is frustrating and disappointing. After all, Alice spends her time trying to escape Wonderland, a place where nothing makes sense to her. Only when she finds the courage to stand up against the Queen can she finally escape and face reality. But I think the wonders she saw along the way challenged and inspired her to embrace courage and to embrace what’s foreign…
See bore, live in Boredom; a Kingdom with bore.
Till next time, clean cup, clean cup! Move down. And live happily ever after.