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By Gerry Murray. 14-08-2022
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"Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it." ~ Henry Ford

You may occasionally find yourself in situations with others where you’re coming to the conclusion that they haven’t properly thought things through. You may even find yourself responding to them with a question such as: “What were you thinking?”  Or, making a statement such as “You don’t appear to have thought this through!”  

Well, it turns out that thinking is actually hard work and takes effort and not everyone is willing to exert the effort required. 

In Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman’s signature work “Thinking Fast and Slow” he postulated that humans have two thinking systems - a fast one (System 1) and a slow one (System 2)

An easy way to think about the distinction is that fast thinking is our unconscious, spontaneous, intuitive processing that guides our ongoing behaviour. In contrast, slow thinking is considered conscious, logical, analytical processing. 

It’s long been known that our ability to engage in System 2 thinking has constraints - it’s hard work and it appears to deplete our energy. We feel tired. 

Therefore, one learning is that we should aim to structure our day so that we limit the amount of slow thinking we need to do and that we ensure our energy is sufficient in the periods in which we do need to do it. 

The working hypothesis has been that slow thinking depletes glucose in the brain and this causes the energy drain and subsequent fatigue. However, new research is emerging that suggests that the fatigue is probably created by increased levels of glutamate that alters the chemical composition of our brains.

This is significant because scientists are exploring the possibility of creating a potion that might be able to curtail this glutamate production so we don’t experience so much fatigue. 

In the meantime, the recommended cure for cognitive or mental exhaustion is still - sleep

Gerry
 

Listen to the Podcast


Humour

I'm taking a course with a focus on muscle fatigue.
I don't want to talk about it. ...It's a sore subject.

If I had a dollar everytime I thought about you
I would start thinking about you

I'm thinking of a career where I estimate crowd sizes at different outdoor events.
I wonder how many people are in that field.

Should we create an English word for the 'day after tomorrow’?
Or would that be too forward thinking?
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