How to Use Your Mind eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 133 pages of information about How to Use Your Mind.

How to Use Your Mind eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 133 pages of information about How to Use Your Mind.
and we cannot say that we really know until we can express our knowledge.  Expression is thus the great clarification agency and the test of knowledge.  Before leaving this discussion, it might be well to remark upon one phase of expression that is sometimes a source of difficulty.  This is the embarrassment incident to some forms of expression, notably oral.  Many people are deterred from utilizing this form of expression because of shyness and embarrassment in the presence of others.  If you have this difficulty in such excess that it hinders you from free expression, resolve at once to overcome it.  Begin at the very outset of your academic career to form habits of disregarding your impulses to act in frightened manner.  Take a course in public speaking.  The practice thus secured will be a great aid in developing habits of fearless and free oral expression.

This discussion has shown that expression is a powerful aid in learning, and is a most important feature of mental life.  Cultivate your powers of expression, for your college education should consist not only in the development of habits of impression, but also in the development of habits of expression.  Grasp eagerly every opportunity for the development of skill in clear and forceful expression.  Devote assiduous attention to themes and all written work, and make serious efforts to speak well.  Remember you are forming habits that will persist throughout your life.  Emphasize, therefore, at every step, methods of expression, for it is this phase of learning in which you will find greatest growth.


Exercise I. Give an example from your own experience, showing how expression (a) stimulates ideas, (b) clarifies ideas.



“I can’t get interested in Mediaeval History.”  This illustrates a kind of complaint frequently made by college students.  It is our purpose in this chapter to show the fallacy of this; to prove that interest may be developed in an “uninteresting” subject; and to show how.

In order to lay a firm foundation for our psychologizing, let us examine into the nature of interest and see what it really is.  It has been defined as:  “the recognition of a thing which has been vitally connected with experience before—­a thing recognized as old”; “impulse to attend”; “interest naturally arouses tendencies to act”; “the root idea of the term seems to be that of being engaged, engrossed, or entirely taken up with some activity because of its recognized worth”; “interest marks the annihilation of the distance between the person and the materials and results of his action; it is the sign of their organic union.”

In addition to the characteristics just mentioned should be noted the pleasurableness that usually attends any activity in which we are “interested.”  A growing feeling of pleasure is the sign which notifies us that we are growing interested in a subject.  And it is such an aid in the performance of work that we should seek earnestly to acquire it in connection with any work we have to do.

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How to Use Your Mind from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.