Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Improve your Intuition -- & Donate to Charity by Doing It!

Quick -- What does pondokkie mean? (Answer is at bottom.)

My latest obsession is It's actually a vocabulary builder, with a charitable twist. If you correctly define a word, someone donates 20 grains of rice through the UN world food program to end hunger.

There are 60 different vocabulary levels. You start at level 36, and when you answer a few questions correctly, you move up to the next higher level. Answer a few wrong, and you move down. Pretty simple. And surprisingly addicting!

I read a lot, so I have a pretty good vocabulary, and so far, my highest level is 52. At that level, I have neither seen nor heard many of these words. In fact, I suspect that a lot of them are not English words, because I know a few of them are French. And here's where the intuition comes in.

When you've never heard of a word before, sometimes you can figure it out by context, but here, there is no context. Sometimes, you can make an educated guess, because you've heard of a cognate, or at least one of its root syllables before. But when none of that works, as sometimes in life, all that is left is your intuition. So guess! The good news here is that there is very little downside, which makes it an ideal situation for practicing your intuition.

What I love about this is that it is like real life. You are asked to make a snap decision on a real world matter, for which you can sometimes use your intellect -- & sometimes not.

Notice how you guess: Does a little voice say something to you, like it does to me? Do you feel something when you look at the correct answer? Is the correct answer somehow brighter on the screen when you look at it? Then notice which guesses are right, and correlate the correct answer with how you got the answer.

How often is your intuition right? Are you going with your intuition? Or ignoring it? And if you're ignoring it, what stops you from going with it?

Answer: A pondokkie is a makeshift shelter.

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