The problem with problem solving? It isn’t ridiculous enough.

Ask very silly questions to spur very serious innovation.

  • To get really innovative solutions to complex problems, you need to abandon logic, says Dan Seewald.
  • Asking provocative and ridiculous 'what if?' questions pushes us down lateral paths of thinking versus the vertical or logical path. The latter approach is practical but it doesn't break new ground.
  • Breaking with tradition through lateral thinking allows us to solve really serious problems, from climate change to political turmoil. Or, as Dan Seewald explains, it could just help you solve all your laundry headaches.
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Stand up against religious discrimination – even if it’s not your religion

As religious diversity increases in the United States, we must learn to channel religious identity into interfaith cooperation.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Religious diversity is the norm in American life, and that diversity is only increasing, says Eboo Patel.
  • Using the most painful moment of his life as a lesson, Eboo Patel explains why it's crucial to be positive and proactive about engaging religious identity towards interfaith cooperation.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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The risk of developing autism is 80% genetic, researchers now say

The study — which involved more than 2 million children — is the largest of its kind.

  • The study involved more than 2 million children born in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Israel, and Western Australia.
  • The results indicated that inherited genes accounted for about 80 percent of the risk of developing autism spectrum disorder.
  • Still, it remains unclear which genes are at play in contributing to autism, and also how environmental risk factors contribute to the disorder.
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Schizophrenia here is different than schizophrenia there — why?

Most diseases don't differ depending on where you're from. Schizophrenia, however, is heavily dependent on your culture.

  • Since schizophrenia is a disease of the mind, the cultural context it occurs in can have a serious impact on how it manifests.
  • Cultures in which the family is more important will have delusions centered around their family, cultures in which religion is important often have religious delusions, and so on.
  • This growing understanding of the cultural sensitivity of schizophrenia highlights how much our identities are dependent on the cultures we grow up in.
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Harness the Power of Calm

Tap into the "Rest and Digest" System to Achieve Your Goals

Big Think Edge
  • In the fast-paced workplaces and productivity-focused societies many of us inhabit today, it is easy to burnout.
  • Emma Seppälä, a Stanford researcher on human happiness, recommends tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system instead—"rest and digest"rather than "fight or flight."
  • Aiming for energy management rather than time management will give you the resilience you need to excel at the things that really matter in your life and career, rather than living "mostly off" by attempting to seem "always on."

Become an intellectual explorer: Master the art of conversation

Want to be smarter than you were yesterday? Learn to have better conversations using these 3 design principles.

Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • What is a great conversation? They are the ones that leave us feeling smarter or more curious, with a sense that we have discovered something, understood something about another person, or have been challenged.
  • There are 3 design principles that lead to great conversations: humility, critical thinking, and sympathetic listening.
  • Critical thinking is the celebrated cornerstone of liberalism, but next time you're in a challenging and rewarding conversation, try to engage sympathetic listening too. Understanding why another intelligent person holds ideas that are at odds with your own is often more enlightening than merely hunting for logic errors.
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Learn to design the life you love

Part 1: Deconstruction

Photo by Vadim Sherbakov
Big Think Edge
  • Deconstruction is exactly what it sounds like—a method for breaking your life down into its simplest component parts.
  • Ayse Birsel argues that deconstruction is like taking a camera apart: you can't possibly put it back together in the same way.
  • Be sure to check out Design the Life You Love, Part 2: Reconstruction to learn how to put the pieces of your life back together in a realistic way. Sign up for Big Think Edge to see exclusive more content!