Dr. Sarah's Mat 1010 Creative Inquiry Lessons for Life
Adapted from Burger and Starbird

Can this course help you to think more effectively, more inventively, to solve life problems more creatively, and to analyze issues more logically? The short answer is Yes.

During our segments, certain techniques of thought began to emerge as powerful forces for combating the unknown - techniques applicable to any situation we may face in life.

Life is one decision after another. When our own future is at stake, most of us want to use every effective approach we can find. The mathematical mode of thought is not the only way to approach decisions, but the reasoned strategies that mathematics illustrates are powerful tools that give us surprising strength for analyzing and conquering life's issues.

With all the decisions we will face in life - public and private, large and small - improving our chances of making good decisions is crucial. The strategies of insight that work over and over in mathematics are equally potent when applied to our lives. These strategies include:
  • Don't be paralyzed by fear of the unknown. Take risks, try new things and live with a "just do it" attitude.

  • Make mistakes and fail but never give up. Instead, learn from your mistakes and use them to grow.

  • Life is a journey - not a destination. Someone could give you all THEIR answers, but it is your experiences and what you've learned during the process that really matters.

  • To really learn something new, you must experience it yourself via hands-on hard work and practice. We don't learn deeply by watching someone else. You could watch many movies about baseball, but in order to really learn how to play well, you must actually pick up a bat yourself.

  • Seek the essential.

  • Take what is vague or confusing and seek clarity, focus and comprehension.

  • Break difficult problems up into easier ones.

  • Use what has already been done and adapt it for your own use.

  • Look for patterns and similarities.

  • Understand issues deeply, especially those ideas which seem simple.

  • Communicate your ideas effectively.

  • Keep an open mind.

  • Try to examine situations from diverse viewpoints.

  • Treat people and their ideas with respect.

  • Explore the consequences of new ideas.

  • The only stupid question is the unasked question.