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.

We have shown in this chapter the fallacy of the assumption that a student cannot become genuinely interested in a subject which at first seems uninteresting.

We have shown that he may develop interest in any subject if he but employs the proper psychological methods.  That he must obey the two-fold law—­secure information about the subject (stating the new in terms of the old) and exert activity toward it.  That when he has thus lighted the flame of interest, he will find his entire intellectual life illuminated, glowing with purpose, resplendent with success.

In concluding this discussion we should note the wide difference between the quality of study which is done with interest and that done without it.  Under the latter condition the student is a slave, a drudge; under the former, a god, a creator.  Touched by the galvanic spark he sees new significance in every page, in every line.  As his vision enlarges, he perceives new relations between his study and his future aims, indeed, between his study and the progress of the universe.  And he goes to his educational tasks not as a prisoner weighted down by ball and chain, but as an eager prospector infatuated by the lust for gold.  Encouraged by the continual stores of new things he uncovers, intoxicated by the ozone of mental activity, he delves continually deeper until finally he emerges rich with knowledge and full of power—­the intellectual power that signifies mastery over a subject.


Readings:  James (8) Chapters X and XI.  Dewey (3)

Exercise I. Show how your interest in some subject, for example, the game of foot-ball, has grown in proportion to the number of facts you have discovered about it and the activity you have exerted toward it.

Exercise 2.  Choose some subject in which you are not at present interested.  Make the statement:—­“I am determined to develop an interest in—.  I will take the following specific steps toward this end.”



In our investigation of the psychology of study we have so far directed our attention chiefly toward the subjective side of the question, seeking to discover the contents of mind during study.  We shall now take an objective view of study, examining not the contents of mind nor methods of study, but the objective results of study.  In doing this, we choose certain units of measurement, the number of minutes required for learning a given amount or the amount learned in a stated period of time.  We may do this for the learning of any material, whether it be Greek verbs or typewriting.  All that is necessary is to decide upon some method by which progress can be noted and expressed in numerical units.  This, you will observe, constitutes a statistical approach to the processes of study, such as is employed in science; and just as the statistical method has been useful in science, so it may be of value in education, and by means of statistical investigations of learning we may hope to discover some of the factors operative in good learning.

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