It seems strange today, that the descendants of those who crossed a vast ocean in rickety wooden ships can’t find a street address without consulting their Garmin. Technology has made life easier because we don’t have to use our brains for all the small stuff, but it turns out that some of that small stuff is worth doing. Breaking away from technology makes things surprisingly easier sometimes.
What are some basic human skills we have lost to technology?
Here’s one; mental math. When was the last time you calculated something without a calculator? You can download a calculator for your phone that specializes in just about anything—from calculating a tip to splitting a check. Basically, you never have to use your brain to calculate anything if you don’t want to.
Mental math is by no means required to survive in the world, but being able to do a few basic calculations in your head makes life a lot easier.
Spelling is also a skill we’ve given up to technology. Spellcheck and auto-correct have turned many people into a spelling idiot. When I’m writing by hand or typing on something that doesn’t have Spellcheck I sometimes stop mid-sentence looking at a really pedestrian word thinking, “that looks weird. Is that really how you spell that?”
To get these skills back, the best thing you can do is handcuff yourself a little.
The next time you’re trying to figure out a tip, leave the calculator in your pocket. Personally, I also spend a little time practicing mental math in weird ways. While I’m driving, I’ll mentally calculate when I’ll arrive somewhere by calculating my speed and the distance to my destination. When I fill up the tank I’ll calculate my miles per gallon. When I’m cooking, I’ll skip Google and figure out ratios on my own.
The more you do it, the quicker you’ll become.
Paraphrased from Jonathan Chambers for The ShieldWall Network.