What Happened to Effort?

Mirinda Osmen

I define myself as a problem solver. Identify the issue. Find a solution. Solve. Thinking occasionally required. If I don’t know what to do, I identify what I know, find out what I can do, try a few things and figure out a solution. This is problem solving, thinking on one’s feet.

I’ve noticed that we, as a whole, are getting lazy in using our minds for solving problems.

It all starts with patience. Nowadays, we get everything so quickly. News? On your Twitter and news apps, in your hand. Information? Google it. Instant access for an instant answer. Writing a research paper? Research from your lap(top), trips to the library optional. Drama? Share the gossip with a Snap, text, Tweet, Direct Message, Instant Message…

Imagine you are trying to submit an assignment on Blackboard. What do you do when the page doesn’t load? What about when signing into insideUNH, and typing your password ‘correctly,’ but getting an error message? Computer not logging in fast enough? The monitor better prepare for my “you’ve got to be kidding me” stare.

I have little patience for technology. I get frustrated easily. Usually it’s my fault. I think most people are this same way.

My point is that we don’t have much patience anymore. From watching the news to sending a text, we want whatever it is sent, gone, done and behind us. Which presents the issue of thinking.

Perhaps it’s in the form of an exam. Who wants short answers? Multiple-choice is where it’s at: if you don’t understand the question, the answers, the content, you just guess! 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 are reasonable odds.

Multiple-guess requires no real brainpower. You can literally just pick one. You should, if necessary, use your mind to break apart the words and eliminate choices that don’t fit to increase your odds. But who has the patience for that?

I fully understand not being in the mood to do something. I’m very guilty of this. Not being in the mood, however, does not explain the lack of critical thinking and problem solving.

We’re college kids. University students. Adults. We should constantly be thinking, solving problems, considering new perspectives. But we’re not. We’re just waiting for life to give us multiple choice, to provide the answers right now, to do the hard work for us.

Thinking takes effort. Solving a problem takes effort. Put forth some effort. Think on your feet. Don’t ask for help until you know you can’t figure it out, or have at least tried to figure it out. Not everything has a good solution. Take some steps towards a possible solution. Try. Work. Think. Step back. Try again.