SHENMO MOTTO: Virtue & Wisdom

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Mental abacus—the first gas station on my journey of success

2014-09-18 丨

The writer is from the Ministry of culture development

I have never thought about what enlightenment and surprises abacus, a term that has long been part of my life’s experience and spiritual wealth, would bring to me. It was during a conversation with my university friends when I almost instinctively uttered the answer to a multiplication of two three-digit numbers. For me, it was just an instant thinking, but it impressed everyone at present. In their inquiries, I told them my entire abacus learning process. This may be the first time that I have made a comprehensive and detailed summary of my study on mental abacus.
 
Times of fiddling with the beads of the abacus
 
I can hardly remember my first strike on an abacus, but I feel that it has been a close childhood friend and part of my life. My father recalled that in 1993 when I was six years old, I began learning abacus. My father being an abacus teacher, I came to know abacus early, and this has made a difference in my childhood.
 
Of course I have come to realize this only by now. At the time I was just a curious child who’d shown a strong interest in the abacus, a magic calculation tool that contains the essence of Chinese civilization. Its music and movement made me fascinated. It brought a lot of fun and a sense of accomplishment to my childhood. I still remember how proud I was when I performed abacus skill to my father’s adult students and how confident I was as I was achieving progress day by day. Now I know that is a way of teaching through lively activities. Now I think maybe this is the so-called edutainment bar.
 
From abacus calculation to mental abacus calculation
 
Mental abacus came at the right timing. Building on my solid abacus skills, I achieved progress by leaps and bounds in mental abacus. Before long, my ability to calculate was by far unrivalled. Even my mother, who is an accountant, acknowledged my higher skills. As a result, like many other abacus learners, I was often called as "child prodigy" and "genius" and the like. But I was well aware that my learning on the mental abacus had made up for my ordinary IQ and made me increasingly confident. I often blurted out answers in the math classes, which surprised my teachers and classmates a lot, and my math performance was by far ahead. Since I had a quick mind and wide thinking, I used to explain the exercises in the class. Noting that the teacher nodded at me over and again, I was incredibly proud of myself.
 
Inspired by the abacus, I became quick in thinking. Whether writing or painting, I used to have a lot of ideas. I was even good at the calligraphy, and won several first prizes at National Youth Calligraphy Competitions. English has become easier to learn. I could memorize the words and texts almost by a glance. What could take a month to learn, I only needed one week. I didn’t know the reason, but now I know that all these extraordinary performances were attributable to the mental abacus learning which is able to develop one’s visual thinking and memory. This has been particularly evident in geometry learning during junior high and senior high. I could clearly replay in my mind questions or diagrams that I’d done when necessary, and learn by analogy. This also activated my learning on almost all disciplines, and I became enthusiastic about and good at learning. Therefore, honors and accomplishments followed. In the nine years from primary to junior high school, I gained nine school-level roll student certificates and two municipal ones. I have always been on the top throughout the nine years, and have excelled in several municipal competitions and Mathematics Olympiad. In the 2003 Senior High School Entrance Examination, I won the second place in the city, and went to the municipality key high school free of charge. Abacus learning has finally transformed into tangible results. During the three years in senior high school, I have never taken time out to practice mental abacus, but my calculation skill has not declined.
 
Of course, what abacus has given me is much more than awards and honors; it is an irreplaceable life fortune.
 
Long-distance running does more to strengthen a person’s willpower than just physical exercise. So does the abacus learning. Learning abacus is a test of perseverance and endurance, as well as a spur of confidence. Quick calculation and outstanding mathematical ability equipped me with even more internal strength and confidence to confront other aspects of school work and life, and achieve all-round development. To me, abacus’ role of positive mental implication is no less than that of mental development. In addition, the abacus has also subtly affected my state of mind and mindset. The abacus learning should be in a competitive environment. Peer competition among students is almost everywhere. This helped me to adapt as soon as possible to the competitive environment at school. Since I have had more opportunities than my peers to participate in competitions and performances during the abacus learning process, I naturally gained psychological strength and ability to face stress.
 
Abacus is about a life attitude, which is seeking truth and perfection. This enables me to be more rigorous in my learning and work style, which many young people don’t have. No doubt attention to detail and excellence has made my steps toward knowledge more solid. Abacus learner would share my experience that when practicing basic skills of the abacus, I could judge which strike was right or wrong just by listening to the sounds of the beads. The pleasing music gave me a strong sense of rhythm, which immersed me in a musical atmosphere during my entire training. I could always find inner tranquility and relaxation. The relaxation training of mental abacus has the similar effect. When I was doing the calculation, my brain was fast-forwarding without stop. In this way, the dynamic and static combination is perfect in the abacus learning. Over time, I have achieved a balance between loose and tight, which enables me to face all challenges calmly.
 
What mental abacus has given me is much more than this. I have reaped substantial benefits, and fallen in love with it. It is a skill to help me succeed; it is an art that gives me pleasure; it is a belief that fills me with strength. Mental abacus will remain one of my good teachers and friends during the rest of my life. I will continue to spend my life’s journey with it, and sincerely hope that more children can achieve success through mental abacus learning.

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Abacus math spirit of Shenmo culture ... On Jun 12, 2014 >

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