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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

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Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Today's Big Idea: Discipline & Practice

The Big Idea for Friday, March 23, 2012

The popular culture of post-sixties America celebrates individualism, personal expression, and instant gratification. And as the popular culture goes, so go our values. Yet while a rebellious, entrepreneurial spirit has been key to America's historical resilience, so has a formidable work ethic: that deeply ingrained self-discipline without which no growth is possible. 

Amy Chua's parenting memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother ruffled the feathers of many American parents with its critiques of present-day western parenting, which tends to prize self-esteem above responsibility to others and obedience to authority. Stricter Chinese parenting, Chua claimed, teaches self-discipline, which is the essential basis of lifelong achievement.

As America sees itself somewhat diminished on the world stage, and China continues its rise to prominence, the question of whether and to what extent we've lost our cultural mooring with respect to self-discipline becomes ever-more relevant, macroeconomically speaking. And on the personal scale, we need to revisit the relationship between self-discipline and our cherished "pursuit of happiness."  

 

 

 

 

Perspectives

  1. 1 The Limits of 'Spirituality'
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  2. 2 You Don't Have to Join the Marines to Learn about Commitment.
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  3. 3 Teach Your Child Self-Discipline Without Tiger-Parenting Her To Death
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  4. 4 Preparing "Like an Athlete" to Play Violin
    Midori Goto
 

Today's Big Idea: Disciplin...

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