Puzzle Shows Our Need to Slow Down and Pay Attention
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In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, the Nobel Prize winning economist Daniel Kahneman uses a simple puzzle to show the importance of slowing down and paying attention. Kahneman writes, "Do not try to solve [this puzzle] but listen to your intuition:
A bat and a ball cost $1.10.
The bat costs one dollar more than the ball.
How much does the ball cost?"
Kahneman writes that most people come up with a quick answer—10 cents.
The distinctive mark of this easy puzzle is that it evokes an answer that is intuitive, appealing, and wrong. Do the math, and you'll see. If the ball costs 10 cents, then the total cost will be $1.20 (10 cents for the ball and $1.10 for the bat), not $1.10. The correct answer is 5 cents.
If you got the puzzle wrong, don't be discouraged. According to Kahneman's research, more than 50 percent of students at Harvard, MIT, and Princeton gave the wrong answer. At less selective universities, over 80 percent of students failed the puzzle.
Kahneman notes that solving this puzzle doesn't depend on intelligence as much as it depends on our willingness to slow down, focus intently, and pay attention.
Throughout the Bible and the history of the church, many writers have also emphasized how important it is to slow down, focus intently, and pay attention in our walk with Christ. But as Kahneman's research proves, paying attention often doesn't come naturally to us. We have to work at paying attention.