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The September 2013 edition of reader’s digest magazine (Canada) has an interesting article on how to educate the mind. The article which is a reprint from the first U.S issue of reader’s digest is inspired by an answer that Alexander Graham Bell gave when he was asked how he had managed to keep his thinking fresh.

In the article Graham talks of a rule of three. It is a simple rule; Observe, Remember, Compare.

First make observations of events and things. Remember your observations. Compare your observations. Note the likeness and differences of your observations. Make your conclusions. The conclusions are real knowledge and this is knowledge created by you.

A good example of the rule of three is the stereotypes we have of people. These  stereotypes are science. They are conclusions made after several observations and comparisons. I know we shouldn’t stereotype, because not everybody fits into the stereotypes, but trust me the stereotypes don’t emerge from thin air. They come after several observations. Think of any stereotype that you hold. Is it just something that people say, or is it something that you can attest to be true?

To put this into perspective let me tell you the story of Opicho my uncle. When uncle Opicho first arrived in Nairobi in 1987, he was never a skeptical man. He was all trusting. But after seeing his friends fall for tricks of conmen and after himself being a victim too, he is no longer the all trusting Joe. He has become wiser. He has educated himself on the ways of the urban people.

In conclusion, if we are keen to make observations, if we remember to compare our observations and make correct inferences , then we develop first hand  knowledge  that is essential for life.