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Effort alone doesn’t guarantee excellent results. It’s important to recognize that the traditional notion of simply working hard every day isn’t sufficient to achieve successful outcomes in today’s world.

While hard work may allow someone to outperform others to some extent, the ability to think deeply is what truly sets individuals apart. In fact, deep thinking can lead to results that are ten or even a hundred times better than those achieved through hard work alone. Therefore, developing the capacity to think deeply is paramount for our children’s future success.

However, it’s crucial to understand that deep thinking isn’t merely a brief moment of contemplation. Deep thinking is a profound state of focus where individuals can engage in uninterrupted concentration for extended periods to devise creative and innovative solutions. This process not only enables individuals to realize their full potential but also equips them with the ability to tackle complex challenges effectively.

Regrettably, the current education system remains fixated on the acquisition of knowledge. Students often memorize or learn content from textbooks or notes to excel in school exams. Yet, upon entering the workforce, they discover that the knowledge acquired in school seldom translates directly to solving the multifaceted, unpredictable problems encountered in real-world scenarios.

Consequently, knowledge without critical thinking skills and the ability to apply that knowledge practically, quickly loses its relevance. With vast amounts of information readily accessible on the internet, the value of simple knowledge diminishes rapidly.

Moreover, the prevalent environment exacerbates the situation for our children. Research indicates that the average person’s attention span decreased significantly from 12 seconds in 2000 to just 8.25 seconds in 2015 due to constant distractions from social media and technology. With individuals checking their phones over 200 times a day, children struggle to engage in deep thinking essential for cultivating critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills crucial for future success.

While it would be ideal for schools to incorporate these skills into their curriculum, parents can take proactive steps to nurture these vital abilities at home.

So, how can we foster deep thinking skills in our children?

There are various approaches to cultivating these skills, but in this article, we’ll explore a method inspired by László Rátz, a legendary high school mathematics teacher who mentored Hungarian super geniuses like Eugene Paul Wigner, John von Neumann, Leo Szilard, and Edward Teller.

Rátz employed a unique educational approach, often assigning special tasks and intellectual challenges to students through monthly publications of difficult math problems in the school’s magazine. These problems required students to immerse themselves in solving them over the course of a month, fostering continuous and proficient thinking. This experience not only instilled in them the habit of contemplating complex problems persistently but also honed their ability to think deeply and critically.

This highlights how presenting children with challenging problems and encouraging prolonged contemplation can significantly enhance their creativity and critical thinking skills.

Now, let’s explore how we can implement this method in everyday settings with our children.


For children under the age of 7

When your child starts being able to count with their fingers, you can encourage your child to try counting without using their fingers. The difficulty level of the problem increases sharply, requiring your child to engage in his or her brain instead of the body.

If your child can perform single-digit addition and subtraction mentally without using his fingers, gradually ramp up the difficulty by introducing larger numbers or even multiplication and division. This shift forces your child to engage their brainpower, strengthening their cognitive abilities in the process.

Keep the momentum going by empowering your child with praise and adjusting the difficulty level to match his progress. When he solves tougher problems by himself, your child’s confidence soars, and will ask for more challenging problems because he will enjoy solving them and feeling achievement at an early age.

This approach mirrors the principles of gifted education, empowering your child to excel right from the comfort of home.


For children above the age of 7

As your child reach the age of 7 and beyond, it’s an opportune time to introduce him to a broader array of mathematical concepts and skills.

One effective strategy to significantly enhance deep thinking skills is to tackle problems from upcoming chapters without prior study. This approach raises the difficulty level substantially, pushing your child to stretch his limit.

If your child is totally unfamiliar with the terms in the chapter, he can do a quick overview of the definitions and try a few simple multiple-choice questions to get sufficient context. From there, he can dive straight into the more challenging problems within the chapter.

By engaging with material ahead of formal instruction, children can emulate the problem-solving approaches of seasoned mathematicians and scientists. This method not only sparks interest and motivation but also fosters heightened concentration levels, paving the way for deep thinking.

It’s crucial for parents to recognize that children may initially feel overwhelmed or stressed when faced with challenging problems.

However, maintaining a relaxed attitude throughout the problem-solving process is essential. Rushing or becoming overly stressed about the difficulty of a problem can inhibit deep thinking and impede problem-solving efforts.

To support their children in cultivating deep thinking skills, parents can adopt several key strategies:

1. Understanding their child’s current level of ability and selecting problem-solving exercises of appropriate difficulty.

2. Minimizing external distractions, such as phones or computers, during dedicated problem-solving sessions.

3. Creating a quiet and uninterrupted environment conducive to deep thinking.

4. Participating in regular exercise activities with your child to promote focus and mental clarity.


By implementing these steps consistently and encouraging regular practice, parents can effectively nurture their children’s capacity for deep thinking, providing them with a valuable skill set for future success.

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