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Is Anyone Thinking?

It has been medically documented that the average human used less than one percent of their total brain capacity at death. The brain is a powerful super computer able to process various levels of information, thoughts, and ideas - our basic communication categories. People are hired in the workplace to use their minds to contribute information, thoughts, and ideas to collaborative plans. Proper planning allows the company to thrive and grow.

The advent of smart devices has limited the brains capacity to function as it was designed. People no longer use arithmetic, nor do they need to know how to spell. Computers have these functions programmed. Cashiers and clerks do not need to count. Their registers tally the items and provide a total along with estimated taxes. Students do not need to know how to use a library to do research. Internet search engines provide data and historical content by entering key words for asking questions.

The reduced need to think poses another problem in the workplace - mental laziness. Employees are not used to thinking through problems, concepts, or strategies. They have become complacent because information technology tells them what to do and how to do it. The advancements in AI (artificial intelligence) will further limit the need for humans to think. Robots and machines are doing jobs once done by humans. As the world relies more on technology, we will not need to think unless we force ourselves to read, write, and do arithmetic. Before my mother passed away at age 94, she would do her monthly finances with a ledger pad and pencil. She would not use a calculator and when I offered to buy her a laptop, she refused. She said her brain was smart enough and that is how she kept her mind sharp.

Employees in the workplace today struggle with professionalism and using their minds to complete their assignments. They wait for instruction rather than move proactively, trusting their knowledge and abilities. They cannot prioritize their tasks and waste time on their smartphones and devices. In a recent study, 86% of employees waste 36% of their work day. As a result, 55% of these employees are not efficient in their assignments meaning work tasks are redone after supervisor review. Critical thinking courses are one of the most requested by corporations offering professional training to their employees.

The ability to think and reason remains a key component to excelling in the workplace. The brain must be exercised daily through reading, writing, and challenge through simulated work problems. In the beginning of my professional career at General Motors, I was instructed to read the professional and business segments of the newspaper one hour each day before I began my tasks. I continue this practice daily. As a young man I would travel and ask my father what he would like me to bring him from my destinations. He told me to bring him a newspaper. He would read it cover to cover to learn what was going on in the world. Here is a line from the song "Think" by Aretha Franklin.

People walking around everyday

Playing games, taking scores

Trying to make other people lose their minds

Ah, be careful you don't lose yours, oh

Exercise your brain's potential. Let's start thinking higher, deeper, and farther


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