Are Paper Qualifications Important?

When we were young, many of our parents exhorted us to study hard and find a good job. For most common people, the goal of life is to obtain a respectable income, work hard and then retire. For this plan to work – if it even works, that is – one has to obtain certification of the highest calibre possible. Failure to do so would mean a lower income and consequently a less comfortable life. However, industries are no longer looking for individuals with extraordinary academic qualifications. In fact, unemployment numbers are going up and it is common to be retrenched at middle age – commonly known as mid-life crisis. Clearly, relying solely on a high-paying job is not sustainable in the long run. This brings us back to the question: Is certification that important? Is it a crucial part of success? My answer to this is a resounding NO. In this article, I will the discuss the reasons for this viewpoint and attempt to convince my readers that a person’s learning attitude is of higher importance. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

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#1: A Person’s Learning Attitude Matters More

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Knowledge without wisdom is inherently useless. Without the desire to learn, to improve and to explore, your mind will be the prison in which you will rot. The world is advancing rapidly even as we speak. Those who do not embrace change will be swept and blindsided by it. In life, we will inevitably face many crises that threaten to turn our lives upside down, the most recent being the COVID-19 pandemic that threatened job security around the world. It is of paramount importance that we learn to adapt to our surroundings and learn a little of everything. Learning a little of everything refers to exploring all sorts of skills and industries with an open heart, regardless of your current biases. Thus, you will be better prepared to move from industry to industry. Those who master this skill will often fare better than those who have loads and loads of qualifications for a certain skill but know nothing about everything else. Those who are overspecialised face higher risks of becoming obsolete. For instance, a world-class pianist who loses control of his hands due to paralysis will not be able to earn as much as he used to. Furthermore, he has no skills that are valuable in other industries. In other words, placing all your eggs in one basket is not a wise decision.

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#2: Certification Is Nothing If You Lack Financial Intelligence

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Why is it that there are highly educated individuals who face money problems or bankruptcy? How is it that individuals such as Warren Buffett and Donald Trump, who may seem less educated and qualified, are able to build their wealth while others struggle? The difference between the upper and middle classes is financial intelligence. In other words, those who do not know how to control their finances will eventually find themselves controlled by money. How is this so? See, the difference is that the rich let money work for them, while the poor work all their lives for money. The poor work incessantly – our parents once told us to “work hard and get a secure, high paying job” – in hopes of a pay raise. Even after these individuals obtain their beloved pay raises, they still have no idea how to use their hard-earned cash. Often, they lose their hard-earned cash due to taxes and high expenses, which threaten to devour them alive. And when they find themselves without a job, they realise they have nothing left – assets – to rely on. Those who believe that the government care for them will also find themselves disappointed – there has been cases, not only in the US, where governments are unable to provide the money for citizens’ retirement. The rich on the other hand, spend their lives buying assets – stocks, bonds and real estate. Moreover, the rich lead frugal lifestyles so as to reduce their expenses and set aside more towards assets. Initially, time and effort is required in managing and growing these assets. However, after a period of time, the assets no longer need the care of their owners – these assets have become so extensive and self-sustaining that they are paying for themselves over and over. This is much like growing a tree – at first, extensive and regular watering is needed. However, after a while, the tree’s roots become so deep and extensive that they no longer need the support of their owners. In other words, the rich no longer have to work for money, as money works for them now. In conclusion, certification will not help you, in any way, to effectively survive the conditions of this world. You need to have the attitude to learn and diligently build up your financial intelligence.

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#3: Social Intelligence Plays A Bigger Part In Success Than Certification

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Every human brain consists of the left hemisphere, which is responsible for technical knowledge such as mathematics, and the right hemisphere, which is responsible for more abstract subjects like emotions and visualisation. Often, we focus on cultivating our left brains so much that we forget about the right. A scientist can make amazing discoveries, but without the skill to present it to others, his work inevitably ends up lost in time. No one is an island. Each and every one of us has to work with others one way or another. As the saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Without the help of others, we will struggle on the path to success – some of us may even die trying. On the other hand, with the support of our friends, associates and loved ones, attaining success becomes easier. That being said, developing one’s social intelligence is easier said than done. Cultivating it requires self-reflection and empathy. Furthermore, the building of trust between 2 or more parties requires time. While it is difficult, mastering the art of social intelligence will pay dividends down the road and make life easier.

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Conclusion

Moral of the story: Certification is not a one-way ticket to success. To achieve success, one must cultivate one’s financial and social intelligence, and possess the passion to learn continuously. The world is changing rapidly. We should embrace change rather than go against it. I hope that you found some enlightenment from my article. If you did find this article helpful, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Thanks for reading!

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Further Reading

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Why Is Chinese So Hard To Learn?

Chinese is notoriously hard to learn, and with good reason. It is the bane of many Asian students, who spend day and night studying it. Likewise, many westerners and foreigners alike struggle to comprehend the language, even after months and months of constant learning. But why is it so? Why is Chinese so hard to learn? In this article, we shall discuss the possible reasons behind this phenomenon. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s begin.

#1: High Stroke Count Per Character

Source: https://www.thatsmags.com/china/post/13288/most-complicated-chinese-characters

One aspect of Chinese that drives many crazy is the number of strokes required to write a single character. Each Chinese character has an average of 12 strokes, making it more complicated than its English counterparts. because of the complicated nature of each character, many struggle to write its characters when first starting out. Furthermore, the Chinese language has 8105 unique characters! Compared to the English’s language mere 26 alphabets, Chinese is a monster. It is exactly because of this that learning new words in Chinese is difficult and require a higher form of memory. Not convinced? The above image contains one of the most complicated characters in the Chinese language. Try writing that.

#2: Words Can Have Vague And Numerous Meanings

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A single character in Chinese may have different meanings, many of which might be vague and hard to apply. Unlike that of English, many Chinese words do not have a direct meaning and may only be used in certain conditions. This makes it very difficult for a learner or beginner to differentiate when to use a word and when not to do so. Thus, phrasing and conjugating words become challenging and require much skill to accomplish. For example, the phrase “反弹” means rebound. Yes, you might think that rebound only probably refers to the rebound of a credit card or basketball. However, “反弹” also can mean backlash or repercussions! As can be seen, Chinese words often have abstract meanings that can be hard to grasp.

#3: Words That Sound The Same Can Have Different Meanings

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This adds to the confusion of the Chinese language. Different characters with different strokes can sound the same! Yes, you read it correctly, many characters sound the same. As such, many phrases may sound identical and may be difficult to differentiate. Again, this makes conversation very difficult to conduct, as a listener might have to infer the phrase’s meaning by considering and analysing the immediate context of the conversation and the relevant sentence structures in which it is used in. This intuition is not so easy to pick up and it may take years before it clicks in your mind.

Conclusion

In short, Chinese proves to be a infamously difficult language to learn, not just because of its complexity, but also because of its unintuitive nature and heavy emphasis on memory. Of course, learning Chinese is not 100% rocket science and can be achieved. It would just take more time and effort to master compared to other languages. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Thanks for reading!

Why I Love LEGO

I’m sure many of you have played with LEGO during your childhoods. Personally, I love to build and design with LEGOs, not only because of the endless possibilities that can come from building with LEGOs, but also because it brings up old memories. Now, we see the brand everywhere and it is present in almost every modern household. In fact, it has become an educational tool in many schools and is regarded as one of the most popular brands in the world. But why do you and I love LEGO so much? We’ll explore these reasons in this article. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s begin.

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#1: The Possibilities Are Endless

Source: https://nerdalertnews.net/lego-masterpieces-coming-to-denver-museum-of-nature-science/

There is no limit to what you can build with LEGO. The possibilities are endless. Different bricks and parts can be attached together to form different structures, models and figurines. It’s an empty canvas and you have the total freedom to build and design what you like. Love cars? You can build it with LEGO! Love dinosaurs? You can also design a unique one for yourself using LEGO! It’s up to you as to how you will make your ideas come true, as there is no set instruction for how you can utilise LEGO. This is exactly why it is used by architects, artists and even engineers to express and test their ideas.

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#2: Playing With LEGO Gives A Great Sense of Joy

Source: https://www.kiddiwinks.co.za/news/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/kidslego840.jpg

As mentioned before, there is no fixed instruction as to how you should use or play with LEGO. In fact, LEGO sets are sold in bags of parts with an instructional manual included. Contrary to other toys, LEGO models do not come pre-made and are required to be built by hand. I loved LEGO mostly because of this reason. I would remember being very excited as I went about, instructional manual in hand, building my LEGO models. As I neared completion of the model, I would feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, while at the same time full of anticipation. And when it was finally done, I felt like I had just finished the greatest artwork of the century. I have no idea how to express this feeling in words. You have to try it for yourself, then you’ll get what I am talking about.

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#3: It Tests Your Thinking Skills

Source: https://nypost.com/2017/09/13/why-kids-should-never-let-go-of-legos/

The infinite nature of LEGO promotes free thinking and creativity, especially in children. LEGO is not limited to mere model vehicles, trains, architecture or art. In fact, LEGO has become an integral part of robotics and programming! Some have also utilised LEGO for Physics experiments as well! As long as your child is able to imagine it, he/she can build it! This lays down the foundation for future career paths, such as that of engineering and entrepreneurship. Of course, not all is lost for us adults. Sometimes, as we become too accustomed to following returns as we go about our hectic lifestyles, we start to lose the ability to think for ourselves. LEGO forces us to think outside the box and explore how different parts can be interconnected to function as a whole.

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Conclusion

The word “play” constantly eludes us, especially when we grow older. We lose the curiosity to learn and innovate, and naturally we become machines, programmed to do mere tasks. LEGO helps to merge both play and thinking into one, thus promoting cognitive development and also improving your imaginative and creative-thinking capabilities. I hope that this post was helpful to you, and if it was, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading!

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Here’s How You Can Ace Your Exams

Many of us fear exams and the risk of going “blank”. With so much to do in school, how do we deal with and prepare for exams? Is there any secret to acing your exams? Well, there isn’t a fixed formula, but this article will provide some tips which you can use for your exam preparation. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

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#1: Start Revision Early

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Time is of the essence and procrastination is not an option. Starting revision early is one of the best ways to do well for your exam. The reason for this is that your mind requires time to process the knowledge which it has absorbed. Furthermore, many exams such as that of Biology and Geography have enormous amounts of content, which are impossible to memorise in short periods of time. By spreading your revision time out over a longer period of time (I’m talking months), you will feel less stressed and have more time for other activities. This also gives more room for potential procrastination lapses and allows for more flexible planning. Take my advise and don’t cram. Cramming never works as your mind is not able to take large amounts of information in a single sitting. Information will just end up overwriting other information and you will not be able to remember anything. In fact, the forgetting curve, founded by Hermann Ebbinghaus, estimates that 70% of learned information is forgotten the next day. You might be able to remember everything the day before the exam, but you won’t be able to recall anything the next day.

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#2: Don’t Memorise Blindly

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Of course, memory is important. However, memorising blindly can do more harm to your test scores than good. It’s like having the material to build a house, but not having the blueprints to do so. Likewise, before memorising any content, do ensure that you have a clear understanding of the concepts behind it. For example, you could first read your textbook one or two times and check if you are able to understand its concepts. In the event that you do not understand any part of the textbook or material, do seek help from your teacher or instructor as soon as possible. Only after you are able to understand the concepts should you start memorising the content. This helps to facilitate better memory and recall. As Warren Buffet once said, “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” Memory and understanding go hand in hand. You cannot memorise without understanding what you are memorising

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#3: Use Flashcards

Source: https://www.chegg.com/play/life-hacks/productivity/flashcards-yay-nay/

Flashcards are a great tool for assessing how much you know and how much you don’t know. This helps you to identify your weaknesses and work on them. Using this strategy increases your efficiency manifold, as you spend less time working on what you already know and have memorised, and spend more time on what you don’t know and have forgotten. This is the exact reason why highlighting your notes and rereading your textbook is useless. This method, which uses passive recall, does none of the things flashcards can do. The danger of merely rereading your textbook lies in the illusion of understanding, where you might end up confusing fluency of the text with understanding. You simply have no idea of what you know and don’t know. Flashcards, on the other hand, use the concept of active recall, which prepares your mind for potential question-and-answer scenarios and strengthens retrieval pathways.

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Conclusion

This post is a short one, but I hope that the tips were of help to your exam preparation. The key to acing your exams is not intelligence, but rather your study strategy. To learn is not enough. We need to learn how to learn.

If you did enjoy this post, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for more articles!

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Mathematics Is More Important Than You Think

Most of us have ended up hating Mathematics in high school. It’s probably because Trigonometry and Calculus got on our nerves, or because some equations were just plain annoying. In the end, we might have told ourselves that Mathematics is nothing more than a torture device. But what if I told you that Mathematics has a greater purpose? In this article, we shall discuss the importance of Mathematics and why it is of paramount importance to the world. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter (enter your email in the newsletter registration section of my homepage). Without further ado, let’s begin the discussion.

#1: Mathematics Is The Foundation Of The Sciences

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There is a reason as to why you learn Mathematics before you learn Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Mathematics serves as the foundation for the sciences and helps to build up basic problem thinking skills, before you start tackling harder problems. For example, without a good understanding of ratio, you would not be able to understand the basic workings of stoichiometry in Chemistry. Furthermore, without the ability to solve equations and understand graphs, you would not be able to apply Newton’s Laws of Motion and the principles of kinematics.

#2: Mathematics Helps Us To Better Understand The World

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The universe is ours to explore, but without the right tools, it is simply impossible. Mathematics helps to make sense of the world around and create new inventions. As mentioned earlier, it is the backbone of Engineering, Physics, Biology, Astronomy and many other sciences. With an understanding of Mathematics, we will be able to build complex machinery, spacecraft and satellites which will help us to explore the universe. Even the computer you are using right now is a creation of Mathematics. Let us take Isaac Newton for an example. To express his discoveries, he had to make use of equations and even invent a whole new branch of Mathematics, Calculus. Mathematics is the common language for all people on Earth, thereby uniting the human race in the common effort for further discoveries and the exploration of our universe.

Conclusion

So this wraps up my 4th article for the week. I decided to touch on the topic of Mathematics in this article, as I frequently notice that many of my friends dislike Mathematics for its complexity and tediousness. Mathematics, of course, can be complex and tedious at times. However, it has so many uses and its benefits for the human race are simply astronomical. I hope that this article, albeit quite short, convinces you of the importance and usefulness of Mathematics, and I hope that this will spur you to enjoy it. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like. Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so. Stay tuned for my next article!

Why Exams Are Useless

Exam” is a four-letter dirty word no student wants to hear. Ever since its inception, it has been associated with stress and competition. Many students dread the daily trip to school all because of it. It’s also frightening to see the school curiculum revolving around exam preparation and nothing more. In my opinion, examinations themselves are not the problem as they also serve as a method for students to gauge their learning ability. What renders exams useless is the way society views exams. To most people, grades are all there is to an exam and failure is not an option. As a result, many take an exam for the sake of taking it or just to attain a grade to show off to everyone. As result, exams become “do-or-die” as students feel stressed due to the fear of failure and humiliation. This completely defeats the purpose of examinations. In this article, I will discuss how and why exams have become useless in the modern world. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to the newsletter!

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Reason #1: Unnecessary Stress

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Because of the way society views examinations, students are pressured to excel and succeed. It’s now all about the ‘A+’ on the report card and nothing more. In the mind of a student, his/her success is wholly dependent on his/her educational qualifications. As a result, many students go to extreme measures just to obtain a desired grade. This includes forgoing sleep, long study hours and endless tuition classes. Instead of allowing students to enhance their learning, examinations now do more damage to their mental and physical wellbeing. Only if society learns not to treat failure as the end can learning be possible. Schools should also not focus solely on exam preparation and cut down on the content tested at one time.

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Reason #2: The Joy of Learning is Taken Away

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Students are now given piles and piles of homework, forced to study many subjects and take exams they clearly dread. Learning now becomes confined to mere memory, answering techniques and essay writing skills. Instead of cultivating students who are attuned to the world and are enthusiastic to learn, schools produce students who have been trained to become answering machines in every respect – “If A, then B; if question asks X, I give Y.” For the joy of learning to be present in the classroom and beyond, society needs to place less emphasis on the importance of academic qualifications and a person’s learning abilities. Now, students memorize heaps of knowledge just to regurgitate it on the exam paper. In fact, most students forget all the knowledge they have learnt right after an exam and do not follow up on it, unless a future exam requires it. Evidently, most students of the modern world do not possess curiosity or the desire for learning. If you would like to learn more about the importance of curiosity and how it is relevant in the modern world, check out my article at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/12/07/the-importance-of-curiosity/.

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Reason #3: Exams Become a Race to the Top

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Instead of learning for themselves, students now, in a sense, learn for others. Due to the fact that society places so much emphasis on academic success, exams become a platform to show off their intellectual prowess. Students work themselves to the bone just to beat each other and become the best among their peers. Learning now becomes all about winning. Because of this, those at the top start to become arrogant while those who are struggling at the bottom are looked down on. The truth is, life is not all about winning or losing. It is better to be at the bottom and be contented than be at the top and be unhappy. All men strive for happiness, do they not? There is no point in learning if it brings no happiness. Rather than focusing on having their students achieve academic excellence, schools should focus on cultivating the joy of learning in students. It is better to have average but enthusiastic and happy students rather than disgruntled and insecure students who have ‘A+’s everywhere.

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